Putting It All Together — Almost

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.

Watercolor 160615 Solitude
“Solitude” by Judith Kraus – Watercolor 9 x 12

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!






  1. Compred to the size of the nearest montains….I think the figure might be too large. But it depends on whether the nearest most mountains ARE mountains…or hills. If those, closer, darker mountains weren’t there, I think the size of the figure would be spot on. I am by no means any expert on perspective…and there are so many elements of this piece that works. The figure isn’t hugely out of proportion. Having given my critique – I really, really like it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your strategy of breaking down your learning into parts and then incorporating them, very smart! I feel that the figure is just a tad too big and I think because the feeling of the hills and ocean gives more of a larger expanse and the figure doesn’t marry up to it. No worries though because in order to learn and hone your skills, you have to keep moving that brush and paint….keep painting and it all will come together. The figure looks fluid and even though it isn’t defined, it feels like he is stepping hard through the sand. You are doing great Judith! you should be pleased πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margaret. Yes, it was really difficult to judge the size for the figure, and afterward I felt it was a little too big. Next time I’ll have a better idea of the right size. I’ve been practicing a figure with a dog so that will probably show up in a landscape soon πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice composition! I also like how you gave depth to the painting by making the nearer mountains darker. It would’ve been waaaay cooler if it were a mountain of skulls, but that’s just me. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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