How to Paint a Landscape Step-by-Step

Themistokles_von_Eckenbrecher_Raftsund_1906

A really good guide from my online class at AAU:

  1. Choose your image from a photographic reference.
  2. Do thumbnail sketches for your composition. Add value.
  3. Choose the format that suits your subject (vertical, horizontal).
  4. Sketch in the general shapes on a toned canvas.
  5. Analyze basic values. Squint!
  6. Begin painting from the background; the sky, hills, mountains — any distant elements; lightest and coolest areas.
  7. Work from the background towards the middleground, then the foreground; from top to bottom of the canvas.
  8. Squint and block in mid-darks (not darkest-darks) with a large brush. Keep it loose in fashion.
  9. Block in mid-lights (not lightest-lights) using more intense colors for middleground and foreground.
  10. Check the shape characteristics and differences in clouds, distant mountain, trees, buildings, etc
  11. Check the edges; softer edges and less contrast in the background; more contrast and texture towards the middleground to foreground (see Module 4: Session 6).
  12. Add more subtlety within darks and lights.
  13. Refine detail where necessary. Be mindful of the focal point.
  14. Add darkest darks and lightest light accents. Squint again!
  15. Clean Up!
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