Artwork used with permission
by artist Ian Sheldon
Nature supplies the artist with a variety of forms, texture, color, and mood. The artist never has to take only what they see from nature. They may want to use pieces of what they see, and combine this with other images to capture a unique mood or style. In other words, the 'artist license' enables one to take bits from here and there, and create their own picture. One scene they look at may inspire a complete piece of work that looks nothing like what they are actually looking at. A combination of imagination, other images, placement of objects all aid in the success of a landscape painting.
Nature creates a mood for both the artist and the viewer. Vast space in a prairie can create silence, calm, and peacefulness. Rippling brooks with beads of sunlight filtering through trees can create warmth, relaxation, and happiness. In contrast, feeling of anger, fear, depression, and despair can be felt in other pictures through the eyes of the artist, the emotions they feel when painting, the colors they choose, and the setting they are in. Landscape paintings can be anything the artist wants them to be. The artist can create any feeling they want to create through emotional associations.
Before painting a landscape picture, you may want to consider the following. What kind of mood do you want to create? What is your main focus going to be in the picture? How are you going to compose and place objects within the picture to keep in interesting, but not overpowering? In working from a photograph you have taken, what elements should be included in your painting, and what elements would be considered irrelevant? What is your light source?
No scene you look at can be considered totally uninteresting. Each scene will contain at least one key element that can form the base of a good picture. Sometimes the artist may have to exaggerate the form, the lines, the pattern, or the texture. Other times the artist must simplify them. Instead of simply introducing new objects, the existing forms may work just fine with the approach the artist takes. Through design, and good organization, maybe through texture, and patterns, the artist can take a dull setting, and create an entirely different atmosphere by good planning, and a great imagination!