Updated: Jan 26, 2021
Painting landscapes is a great way to explore the arts and is often pursued by professionals and amateurs alike. In addition, it is a wonderful activity for relieving stress and promoting mental wellness. We can get started painting landscapes with minimum supplies and no previous training or experience whatsoever. Today we will be covering some of the basics, so let's get started!
When we paint a landscape, it is not about defining everything we see, but rather creating an optical sensation in which we are shown an environment that contains perspective, which is why it is not necessary to define each tree, each plant, and each flower; with simple touches one can produce incredible images. The goal is to create depth; to captivate the viewer.
Some tools you will need to paint landscapes are:
-An image/idea with a landscape that you want to capture
-Paper plate where you can mix
-Water and or flow medium
As beginners it will be best to follow a series of steps that could help us understand the complete picture of how a landscape painting is made. Acrylic paint remember will be one of our main materials.
-Begin with your preferred canvas; be certain to properly prepare the surface using gesso. Many pre-made canvases will come already primed.
-For black canvases... simply add black acrylic paint to your gesso. Alternatively, you can paint a base coat in black over your primed canvas, this provides a much deeper base, great for seascapes and vivid night scenes.
-After finishing, let dry for at least four hours.
-The next step is to make the sketch and thus define where everything will go. Formally known as composition.
-The plane to be painted first is the farthest from us, and mostly corresponds to the horizon. The sky tends to be much darker at the top and lighter towards the horizon line where the sky and earth meet. It is an imaginary line. It is clearer because it has what is called the atmosphere effect. In addition, gradually darkening towards the bottom and edges of the painting can help to add depth.
-Decide on the location of your light source. Keeping in mind the importance of the horizon line and composition, it's now time to choose where to place your light source. Avoid starting at the center of your canvas. By placing your light source and in turn the focal point off slightly to either side, you'll create a more eye pleasing scene.
-After having started with your light source, it's time to begin adding your subject matter. As mentioned before, you will want to paint starting at the farthest point from you, working from the horizon back. The further away… the smaller and lighter your subject would display.
-Underpainting subjects in black or darker blends of colors will act as a base for your colors throughout the painting. Then the colors will be given vertically, giving small touches for what the plants/trees would be and horizontally for everything that refers to the terrain or what is the same, the soil surface.
-Mix various shades of yellows and dark greens and intense greens to create shading. If you notice that your painting is getting too green, you can put little taps as if there were flowers in the grass, thus complementing the green with additional, more vibrant colors. In addition, tapping in a little more black works wonders. It is always important to consider contrast. "It takes light to show dark, and dark to show light." ~ (Bob Ross)
-Finally, integrate the entire painting with touches of white lighting for detail points, and final shading.
-Once fully dried, apply up to three coats of matte/gloss varnish.
Remember that you can choose between using acrylic or oil paints.
Please note that acrylic takes less time to dry. Also consider that acrylic is water based and does not require solvents for clean up.
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Much love everyone!