Tuesday, August 25

My 6 Opinions on Painting Landscapes

A Day in the Hill Country
Acrylic on Canvas Panel
20 x 16 in/50.8 x 40.6 cm
Copyright Byrne Smith 2015
Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion about what makes a painting "good." I am no different.

I like to paint landscapes of all kinds, and I have my own opinions about what makes a "good" landscape painting.

If you aren't interested in my opinions or what I have to say about anything, really, please stop reading and avoid the aggravation.

However, if you would like to compare your ideas with mine, here are 6 opinions for what makes a landscape painting "good:"

- If a horizon line is visible, then place it either higher or lower but not dead center.

- Know where the focal point is or is going to be and emphasize it and de-emphasize other elements; that is, if a tree is the focal point, don't make the clouds/sky so busy they compete (and vice versa)

- Use some natural element to draw in the viewer and lead them around the painting--a stream, a path, a tree branch, a cloud deck, a rock formation, etc.

- Put in a contrast of light and dark values in the fore- or mid-ground; even on overcast days there can be shadows; even if you don't see a lot of contrast either in person or a photo, then contrive it.

- Make the background recede by pushing it back visually using light blue washes or tints (even if it's your focal point); also by not having any sharp edges in this area.

- Stick to a limited palette, but depending on the type of landscape, mix colors that are natural for the scene; for example, if my painting in today's image had been a desert scene, I would have used more yellow and ochre rather than greens.

Happy painting!

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