It may seem straightforward to the untrained artist, but painting a landscape takes more consideration than you may think. Here are some top tips that have been put together by professional painters that will help you to produce Constable level landscapes every time.
You may look at a beautiful landscape and quite simply think – I must get this whole scene in. You have fallen into the trap of believing that everything in the panorama of your view is important for capturing the spirit of a landscape scene. This is not necessarily the case, but you need to use your eyes and intuition to really get a feel for what the most important aspects of the scene are. Before you begin, decide which features on the landscape speak to you the most, decide how the positions of certain elements in the landscape make it flow and give it character and dimensions. Remember, you are not taking a photograph, this is a painting – so get creative and use your imagination.
Which brings me to my second point – using your imagination can be a significant requirement for ensuring your composition is perfect. You don’t need to put everything in the order that it appears in the scene. You have heard of artistic licence right? Well, this is your right as an artist, so use it as freely as you wish. Make the house in the background appear larger in the foreground, or vice versa; paint in a moody dark cloud, rather than the fluffy white one you can see in the scene – obviously being sure to reflect this in the colouration in the rest of the landscape.
Know How to Use Your Paints
Mixing the right colours for your landscape is imperative. If you are not sure how to create the exact right colour, then more practice is required in this department before you put your picture together. This is because you could completely fail to capture the scene that you want to depict in your painting if the colours are all wrong. Practice at home before you go out and be sure to understand what colours mix together to create other colours. For example, understand how adding a little blue to your green can change the shade, or a little yellow to the green can produce a more olive colour. There is nothing to say that you can’t buy a wide range of paint colours though. This is not cheating and may be of significant help if you want to ensure you have the best chance of getting the colours right.
Be Prepared to Paint More than One Scene
You may not get the scene right the first time. It is therefore useful to be prepared to do more than one painting of the same scene. Take the equipment with you that you will need and be mentally prepared to let go of a painting if it is not going in the direction you want it to go in and start again. What this will do for you is give you the practice that you need to get the landscape right. You will be more willing to get stuck in there, rather than be afraid to add elements and colours in case you spoil the painting.
Take note of all of these steps and you are sure to produce your first Monet in no time at all.
Stay tuned for the next AxelAntas art class.