Placing the Human Touch Into Your Landscapes

Special Note: Today’s featured book is included in the North Light Shop CYBER MONDAY sale! Read the demo below, then visit the shop to get your copy of this, and many other special deals.

Placing the Human Touch Into Your Landscapes

Claudia Nice understands how to convey the feeling of being in a landscape in person, and how to translate that to a work of art. Today, I’m happy to share with you this brief excerpt from her book, Creating Textured Landscapes with Pen, Ink and Watercolor.

Spring meadow landscape by Claudia Nice

Placing the Human Touch Into Your Landscapes
by Claudia Nice

When mankind mingles with nature, there is usually some kind of imprint left, whether it be a permanent structure or just a worn pathway. New buildings, fences or concrete highways aren’t necessarily friendly to the beauty of a landscape, but when man-made structures have settled into their surroundings enough to take on the patina of time, they can add a touch of nostalgia to the scene.

Consider the watercolor painting above. The scene actually exists, looking much the way I depicted it. I was walking in spring green pastures, far from home, when I came across this ancient stone wall with its weathered gate and sturdy old stile. As you can see, the stile is a convenient stairway up and over the wall, which people can easily climb, but livestock cannot. As I studied the worn rungs of the stile, I realized that it revealed an intriguing tale about the past and the people who worked in these fields. Pondering who had gone before me, I couldn’t resist climbing up and over the stalwart old relic. Before I left, I documented the scene with several snapshots and a quick sketch in my journal. When it came time to organize my memories into a painting, I used contrast to add vitality to the landscape; wooden structures, gray with age, are set against the vitality of green growing fields. One intensifies the look of the other. The wood looks older, the grass brighter.

watercolor landscape demonstration

Demonstration: Distant Weathered Wood

The cracks, splits, and general roughness that wood takes on as it ages in the elements can’t be seen at a distance, at least not in detail. However, it can be suggested by muting the colors and using a drybrush technique to stroke in the boards.

1. Begin with a drawing. This barn is set on a hill. The horizon line is below it.

Distant+Weathered+Wood+drawing

2. Apply the palest color in each area as a base. Use mixtures of complementary colors to create muted (not muddy) grays and browns. I used watercolor paints for this little painting. This gray is a mix of cobalt blue and orange. I used several variants of this same mix in step three.

Distant+Weathered+Wood+gray

3. Add shadows and details. I suggested the weathered wooden siding with long vertical strokes with a round brush. The brush was dipped in one of several gray mixtures, blotted several times, then applied. The blotted brush skimmed over the texture of the paper, creating a roughened appearance.

Distant+Weathered+Wood+shadows

Creating Textured Landscapes with Pen, Ink and Watercolor by Claudia Nice is just one of hundreds of items on sale at North Light Shop during this huge 50% off sale–it’s only for a limited time, and includes almost everything that North Light and its partners have to offer. Scroll down to see a larger glimpse of what you have to choose from.

Happy painting,
Cherie

P.S.
Holiday Sweepstakes update! Today’s prize is a set of Royal Talens Cobra solvent-free oil colors, valued at $129.30. Enter today, and every day through December 17! Good luck!

Cherie Haas, online editor**Click here to subscribe to the Artists Network newsletter for inspiration, instruction, and more!

 

 

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