It’s said that to experience the present, view yourself as an outsider would, as if you were an actor in a movie scene. This is a fun way to look at life, and to force yourself to notice your surroundings when otherwise you might not; what do you hear, see, feel? Sometimes we don’t need to play this little mental game though–we find ourselves in a moment and wish to remember it forever. Writing about it or taking photos helps, but many artists choose to interpret the scene in a painting; perhaps a rushing waterfall that’s discovered on a mountainside, or a quiet trail alongside a minnow-filled creek.
Regardless of the scene, there are few things as frustrating as knowing what you want to paint but not knowing how to portray it. Landscape artist Johannes Vloothuis is passionate about painting landscape scenes in watercolor, acrylic, and oil, and offers a DVD for each medium. He introduces the paint itself by explaining how to best use it (since each has its own qualities and quirks), and offers several demonstrations on how to paint specific elements of scenes such as rocks, trees, and sand, so that you can follow along with him and mimic his strokes. After studying any of these resources, you’ll then be able to use the techniques to create that landscape painting that’s been in the back of your mind, waiting to be unleashed onto the canvas.
One key point to remember is that every step you take to learn how to paint gets you closer; every stroke, every article that you read and workshop you attend in person or view on your computer. The trick is to just get started. Then, you won’t have an excuse not to paint the glowing sunset over a river, or perhaps an oceanfront scene from your favorite beach (either of which I could imagine myself in any day of the week!). Take a moment now to watch a free preview of these new “Landscape Painting Essentials” DVDs from Johannes, on Oil, Acrylic, and Watercolor.
I’d like to thank Richard McKinley; while writing today’s newsletter, I couldn’t help but think about his recent Pastel Pointers blog post about being present when you paint.