Create Dynamic Landscape Paintings
Painting landscapes can be done in several different ways. You can go out to a specific location and paint plein air, or you can capture the scene with a camera. Each has it's own advantages and disadvantages.
Plein air painting enables you to:
The negative side of plein air painting is that:
Using the camera to capture a scene also has several advantage.
The negative side of using a photo is that:
Adding Depth to Your Landscape
One thing you will notice when painting plein air is that you see the atmospheric effect of distance.
When looking at a photo reference, these effects are not so prevalent.
Cameras tend to keep sharper detail throughout, except in shadows. The shadows tend to be darker than they naturally are, reducing the detail that you would normally see in shadows
As an artist, you want to use the atmospheric effect to your advantage to draw the viewer into the painting and sense the distance that the landscape covers.yosemite valley paintings
Here is a fun way to practice developing atmospheric effect.
I did this as a monochromic painting just so I could focus more on value changes. I did struggle with using only one color since I have never done it before, but it was a great learning experience.
Right click on the painting to see a larger version.
It is rare to have puddles in the desert for reflections so I took advantage of this moment.
As I looked at the photographs I took, I felt that I really didn't want the cars and houses in the painting. I wanted a desert landscape
I made some corrections in how the camera perceives light.
There is always a problem when there is excessive light in one area resulting in darkening of the areas immediately against the brightness. The camera records the brightness of the sky, but totally darkens the mountains eliminating any visible details.
I added lightness into the mountains as if they were receiving reflected light from the sunrise. In doing so, it would help me establish depth in the painting.
First I applied some under painting to establish placement of components on the canvas.
This is what I always call the "ugly" stage. I almost hate to have people even see this stage because it is hard to believe that something decent will come out of it.
Doing the under painting like this gives you the opportunity to play around with abstract shapes for the different areas to make the finished painting more interesting. It also helps you establish tonal values.
In this first one, I have lightened the distant mountains so they can by glazed with sunlight colors. I have also started adding more layers of color in the sky and water.
I added darker clouds in the higher, closer sky to make the horizon recede into the distance.
I continued to add more color to the water and started introducing some shapes in the foliage areas.
You will also notice in this image, that I added rocks in the foreground shorelines before going back into Corel.
Here is the finished painting. I added in the cactus, changed the shoreline in the right center, and made some adjustments to foliage.
Does it resemble the original photograph?
Not at all, but it looks like what I had in my mind's eye, A southwestern landscape after the rain.