A LANDSCAPE is a piece of art where the artist's intention or the focal point is landscape.

Composition is important.
basically it is BACKground, MIDDLE ground and FORE ground.
a painter must also contend with the HORIZON LINE

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the PICTURE PLANE is the flat surface (paper or canvas) the artist works upon.


Composition is the way we arrange what the picture is about. in this case it's land and the things that make up the land we see, mountains, trees, buildings. The picture above is giving us ideas on how to ARRANGE the stuff in our landscapes.
Most artists though work from the gut, intuition, without thinking to much about these rules. this is also the reason sketches and thumbnails are used. if we work and arrange by what we see then the sketch puts what we see in black and white.
Proportions are important. should it be a horizontal or vertical picture?
The Horizon line here plays an important roll as to how much sky, how much water and finally, how much boat?

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what and how do i want to see this. The Artist thinks about color, and space and balance and line. then they think about how the viewer will read the painting, looking up, straight on, from above, across a great expanse like a river or lake. There are a lot of considerations going here
El Greco - View of Toledo - Spanish VERTICAL or HORIZONTAL? Does it have a FOCAL POINT?
Can you define the GROUNDS?
Chinese Landscape - Hasegawa, Pine Trees
Chinese Landscape Notice the since of space, how the background lightens and seems to fade into fog. Composition tends to change here. Grounds may not play much importance in Asian painting.A-Rising-Path.jpg
Corot, A Rising Pathvolterra-church-and-bell-tower-1834.jpg
Corot, Volterra, Church and Bell Tower first-leaves-near-nantes.jpg
In the foreground we see intense clear color. we can see details.
as the landscape recedes, goes back into space we lose our ability to see detail and color lightens. look at the Monet below. The tree is parker and bigger than anything else in the picture. we can see some detail, but the mountains in the background are lavender, a very whited out violet, tinted.
Claude MonetScreen_shot_2010-10-01_at_3.01.35_PM.png
Monet, in this picture color was the most important consideration for Monet. Color and Light were the same thing to the Impressionists and Monet was the leader.

Pissarro - Impressionism - Great use of the road to lead your eye into the horizon, the middle ground and then the trees frame the area in the middle of the picture plane. Now your eyes can roam and they are always guided back into the picture , gently almost like a Sunday walk , peaceful.

Van goths sketches had detail in large amounts. Even in the background you can see lines in the mountains. They are not really details though. If you look at the painting, below you can see those lines were meant as coloration. This was a way for Van Gogh to depict space in his drawings.


Van Gogh Post Impressionist - The sky echos the field and the picture feels whole, balanced even peaceful and with all the brush strokes and wind and blowing grass and trees. It is the color in this painting that dominates the expression of continuity and wholeness.
Van Gogh - This painting is full of texture and even though the bottom right corner should fall off, cut by the road it does not because of the strong diagonal pattern created to the left. they pull your attention back into the paintingand the trees lead your eyes to the sky with their vertical brush strokes. the sky then is created with horizontal strokes and you are lead back into the painting.

above, a sunset snow

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a snow scene painted in watercolor, night, notice the shadows and trees in the middle ground and the background, very little detail and neutral colors, Wentworth Snow

photo to show the color of shadow in the fore ground and background. they are very nearly the same tone

Monet, atmosphere effects the way we see and how much we see. in this case a pink lavender and orange sky that reflects into the snow. like water, snow reflects the sky. notice how Monet handled the buildings in the distance, the tone of the color and lack of or just enough detail to let us know that there are houses there and they have fires going on inside. Monet must have been freezing?!

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Tully Baccart, Large Vista, the use of complements makes this painting singB/o and in the background P/Y. the shadow of the trees on the hill hold the middle ground in place while leading our eyes to the lavender hills and yellow orange sky.
I love this painting.

April Gornic is a contemporary american painter of incredible breath and strength of image. She is one of my favorites because of her vision and portrayal of landscape. As well she paints night or evening pictures and this to me is a time that most painters and people ignore.
reddesert.jpg Gornic

Wayne Thiebaud


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Louisa McElwain - a New Mexican Painter. She paints Outside mostly but will finish up in her studio. The [paintings happen quickly. She paints her reactions to the magnificent landscape of New Mexico capturing it's beauty both rough and gentile. She has made her own painting tools out of need. I think she is one of America's greatest painters.

McElwain in her studio
Rachstraw Downes - Another painter that works outside. His methodology is slow and steady returning to the same spot time and again. the painting above I believe took six weeks to complete.

Rachstraw Downes , Porter, Long Island

below abstract landscapes

Abstract based upon landscape
Abstract based on Landscape
Abstract based upon landscape

below pieces of the same landscape different times of day, weather and media
Forest_DAP_Landscape2-300x240.jpg ?Winter_Deep_Forest-300x225.jpg ?
Different ways of looking at the same location by different painters.
Below are Wolf Kahn's paintings.
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Wolf Kahn
Wolf Kahn

kahn.jpg Wolf KahnWOLF_KAHN_YELLOW_SYMPHONY.jpg Wolf Kahn

Hayballs_Landscape.jpg ?
so where are the grounds?
how can you tell?
what is the focal point?
what is the composition, thirds or odds?
where is the horizon line?