Monday Motivator: Landscape Painting is Landscape Interpreting

Monday Motivator

“Our goal is not to reproduce what we see exactly as we see it. Rather, all we observe–every color, shape, and detail–is filtered through an interpretive lens. The painting we produce may resemble a landscape, but it is now a painting, a unique interpretation of the world in its own language.”

Mitchell Albala, “The Landscape Painter’s Workbook“, page 11

Key to interpreting a landscape is ceasing to see it as “Landscape” and to deconstruct the completed jigsaw into its pieces. To see it as shapes of colour, lines, angles, tones, textures. As Monet is oft-quoted: “Here is a little square of blue, here an oblong of pink, here a streak of yellow”.

Easier to say and understand than to do consistently.

Where do you start? Anywhere is the unhelpful answer, just pick something.

My personal preference is with line: the edges, outlines, cracks, shadows. Using Payne’s grey acrylic ink because it gives me a strong dark and counteracts my tendency to neglect tone for colour. Drawing with the ink bottle pipette gives an not-entirely controllable line, which stops me being too precious.

Next I will typically jump to a bright colour and put it down everywhere I see it or can imagine it being if I exaggerated reality. This time of year the intense yellow of the gorse generally grabs me, with some where there’s yellow on shore rocks or turquoise blue in the sea. Purple and dark blue for shadow shapes, and some into the sea for its darker colours. I may work wet-onto-dry or wet-into-wet, that is a matter of impulse or my mood.

Ink and water-soluble wax crayon on NOT watercolour paper

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