I like practicing art in little bits and pieces. Sometimes looking at a landscape is almost overwhelming. There are so many things to see! There are skies and clouds, rivers and lakes, trees, rocks, and oh, so much more!
Breaking my painting practice down into smaller chunks has helped me develop a variety of different skills and techniques. I’ve focused on single elements and have tried to build up my skill in each area.
I did skies and clouds first. Lots of skies and clouds. I painted clear skies, cloudy skies, stormy skies…and then did it all over again. I learned to use different colors in my skies and gradually devised my own sky “palette”.
Then came the mountains. Distant ones. Ones not so far away. Rocky mountains. Lights and shadows. Mountains overlooking lakes, rivers, and fields. Again and again. As with the skies before, I soon learned a few little tips and tricks to use when painting mountains.
Rocks were fairly easy. I like rocks. They’re a bit like little mountains.
I moved on to painting water. I practiced lakes, and rivers, tried different hues, and learned to create a few ripples. I did waves and ocean sprays. I even learned to add rocks to rivers and lakes and oceans.
Of course, I’ve painted lots of trees. I’m still practicing on trees. I haven’t yet reached the proficiency I’d like, but I am getting better.
Along with all these natural landscape elements, I’ve been practicing painting figures, as well. Not up-close and personal people in my paintings, but distant figures who add a little life and interest to a scene.
Recently I painted a complete landscape — almost. It has a sky, it has mountains. It’s got the tide rolling in on the beach, and it’s got a rocky shoal. It’s even got a solitary figure walking along the edge of the water.
But, no trees. Trees didn’t quite fit into this scene. Other than that, this painting gave me a chance to put together a lot of the different landscape elements I’ve been developing.
Putting the different pieces together was fun, although I was stumped on one aspect. I wasn’t sure how large the solitary figure should be. Are there any guidelines on placing figures in a landscape? I know, of course, that the nearer the figure is to the foreground, the larger it would be, but getting the size right for the position in this painting was pure guesswork. Tell me honestly if you think the figure is too big or too small. That’s something more I’ll have to work on.
I want to work more, too, on adding light and shadow to my painting. But, all in good time. I think I’ve made a good start, if I do say so myself!