Landscape Art: 4 Lessons on Creating Luminous Landscape Paintings

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“Knowing there is so much more to learn keeps me thirsty for knowledge” said landscape artist Sterling Edwards (tweet this quote!) in Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes.

Indeed, even seasoned artists can find that there’s some new or different way to practice a technique when it comes to painting landscapes. Edwards began as an oil painter, meticulously creating realistic paintings until he one day discovered the loose nature of watercolor. The rest is history: he now teaches workshops throughout the United States and Canada, is a published author, and reaches an international audience through his instructional DVDs.

For the first time, you can sample his teaching method of the four-step process for painting landscapes in this excerpt from Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes. Not a watercolor artist yourself? Don’t stop reading–the techniques in these lessons are also applicable to oils and acrylics. Paint the landscape art that’s waiting to meet your canvas after you practice these lessons from Edwards, who shares his knowledge and passion.

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Free Tips for Painting Landscapes

Learn how to paint landscapes such as snow scenes, lakes, foggy rivers, and sunsets. Read the descriptions below–each is excerpted from Creating Luminous Watercolor Landscapes by Sterling Edwards, and corresponds to a four-step lesson that you can practice on your own. “With practice comes confidence and with confidence comes competence,” says Edwards in the conclusion to his book. “Each painting is a new adventure. Some will work and some won’t. I strongly encourage you to try the exercises in this book, attend classes and workshops, keep an open mind to new ideas, and share ideas with other artists. But most of all, enjoy the journey.”

Free eBook for Painting Landscapes

The Right Resources to Learn How to Paint Landscapes: Snow Scene

You can give your snow depth and dimension by suggesting shadows that conform to the terrain on which the snow is lying. These soft shadows create the illusion of movement on the surface of the snow. The colors of the shadows are important. Typically snow acts as a reflector in a subtle way and can change in appearance as the sky above it changes. On bright and sunny days, snow has bluer shadows that reflect the blue sky, whereas on overcast or gray days, the shadows are usually gray. Taking the time to study your subject and noting the subtleties will be time well spent.

A Salt Lake Momentby Sterling Edwards. Private collection

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Inspiration for your Landscape Artwork: Fog

The atmospheric conditions that are present in a foggy landscape suggest a wet and sometimes cold location depending on the colors that you use. Fog can sometimes be presented as a warm, damp atmosphere if you incorporate a little bit of warm color in the initial washes. Let the mood you’re trying to suggest and the reference material guide your decision as to the warm or cold conditions.

Meandering by Sterling Edwards. Private Collection

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Achieve Gorgeous Paintings of Landscapes and Rivers

Lakes with reflections are beautiful and serene but can often require some special techniques to capture the glassy surface of the water with its shimmer of a reflection. Still water reflects not only the colors above the water but also the shapes. It’s an excellent opportunity to use a wet-onto-wet technique to give the reflected shapes softer, blurred edges.

High Vintas Lakeby Sterling Edwards. Private Collection

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Painting Light in Your Landscape Art: Sunsets

The vibrant sunset colors from the reference photo for this painting have a tendency to get muddy; explore using buffer colors to keep color vibrant and avoid mud.

Last Light by Sterling Edwards. Private Collection

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