|Landscape Painting Tips For Oil
by: Ralph Serpe
There is something quite magical about painting
outdoors. I feel comfortably secluded with nature having an almost
spiritual connection when I paint a landscape. Landscape painting is a
passion of mine. I would like to share some tips and techniques that I
have become accustomed to using over the years.
My first bit of advice - try not to get
overwhelmed by the scene in front of you. I recall when I first began
painting landscapes I tried to copy everything exactly as I saw it. I
tried to squeeze in every detail, paint every leaf, branch, and blade of
grass. You will go crazy approaching a landscape this way. Try and paint
your own impression of what you see and not a copy of it. Squint your
eyes and see the landscape as a series of shapes, lights and darks, as
opposed to seeing every detail. You can accomplish some amazing things
that you never thought were inside, if you just relax, and let the
painter inside come to the surface.
Painting on location is certainly a beautiful
experience, but remember that you have to paint quite fast as the
lighting will change quickly. I usually begin my paintings using a
larger brush. This prevents me from focusing on the details and enables
me to establish the major components of the painting. I also take a few
shots of the scene with a digital camera. In the event that I am unable
to capture the scene in one sitting, I now have a reference photo to
complete the painting in my studio. Try toning your canvas with acrylic
paint first before applying your oil paint. I find starting a landscape
with toned ground makes it easier to judge values. You can also let some
of that underpainting show through in some areas of your painting for an
Creating the illusion of depth or distance in your
paintings can be accomplished using different techniques. You can adjust
your colors by making them cooler and less intense for the distant
objects, warmer and more intense for closer objects. Reduce the size of
objects as they recede. You can also take away details and sharp edges
to make objects appear more distant.
You should have a focal point, otherwise known as
"center of interest" in your painting. All other objects in your
painting should not compete with your focal point and should serve to
draw the viewer to your center of interest.
Instead of jumping right for the paint, use a
pencil and paper instead. Drawing is great practice. When I am drawing,
I am more relaxed and intimate with the scene. I am training myself to
see the various lights and darks of the scene without the use of color.
Bring only those items that you know you will need
and use. When you focus too much of your time on lugging around unwanted
materials, it takes away from the enjoyment of what you came there to
Painting clouds appears to be one of the bigger
challenges for beginners; I know it was for me. What I mentioned in the
beginning about trying not to paint every detail applies to clouds as
well. Clouds are three-dimensional objects made up of water and ice
particles that reflect light so the color of your clouds will vary
depending on the weather and lighting conditions. Remember general
perspective rules when painting clouds. Clouds closer to you will
generally be more detailed. As they recede into the distance they begin
to lose detail and get smaller in size. Pay special attention to the
edges of the clouds as sharp edges advance while smooth edges recede.
Make your composition as interesting as possible
by balancing positive and negative space in your painting. The negative
space surrounds the positive space and is equally important. Do not
neglect the negative space, but at the same time, do not let it dominate
I hope this article on landscape painting tips was
helpful. Just relax, let go and most importantly enjoy yourself!
About the Author
Ralph Serpe is webmaster and founder of
Creative Spotlite, a free arts and crafts community.
Learn to Oil Paint now with free step by step oil painting demonstrations,
tips and other resources for beginners.