There is so much more to landscape painting than simply painting a landscape. There are many different things to think about before you even get started. As an artist, you'll have your own approach to painting and you'll want to get this across in your painting. Here are a few things you should bear in mind before starting your landscape painting:
Finding your landscape
How do you know what landscape to paint? Well, you should really paint a landscape that you remember and you found beautiful. If a landscape has made a lasting impression on you, it's worth painting and will probably leave a lasting impression on others. If you're a beginner, go for a landscape that isn't going to prove difficult to paint. Generally speaking, the landscapes that are the easiest to paint have fewer and simpler features. An example of this is a field with the sky in the background. If you think you can handle a more challenging landscape, find one that's got lots of different features, such as a stream with rocks in, a tree with loads of branches, bushes and flowers, to name just a few.
Decide what you want to include
There's no unspoken rule that you have to depict every minute detail of the landscape in your painting. It's your painting and it's your interpretation of the landscape, so it's up to you what you include. You have the right to be selective. If there's a particular scene you want to paint but there are things that you don't want to include in your painting, just don't include them. Focus on the parts of the landscape that you think will add the most to your painting.
Landscapes can look completely different at different times of day. You'll notice changes if you paint en plein air and stay in the same place for several hours at a time. The weather and the seasons can also completely transform a landscape. Each landscape has an infinite number of different appearances. Instead of just capturing one appearance, capture lots of different ones by doing a series of paintings. Each one could focus on a different season, or time of day, for example. Alternately, you could stick to a single painting but incorporate changes you've noticed throughout the day.
Let your imagination run wild
Again, your painting is your interpretation, so feel free to add imaginative touches here and there. You could paint the landscape exactly as you see it, but it's much more fun and creative to put your own spin on it. Think of ways to make your painting your own before you get started or add creative touches as you paint. Paintings that are not exact snapshots of real life can be more captivating and intriguing. They allow you to develop and showcase your own style.
Joanne Perkins is a Berkshire-based artist with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and specialises in painting Berkshire landscapes. She is happy to accept all queries and questions. For more information about Joanne, her work and her current projects visit: http://joannesberkshirescenes.com/default.aspx