Learning to paint Landscapes
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to study plein air painting with Robert Johnson. Robert is mainly known for his beautiful floral's but I have always loved his landscapes and was very excited for this opportunity.
The workshop was held in Estes Park, Colorado. It's a beautiful, majestic place where mountains soar and elk roam. I do believe that as artists we see the world in more vibrant colors, and an appreciation of God's beauty that others dismiss.
As the workshop started I realized that even though I am very comfortable with a paint brush painting my flowers, I was not as comfortable outdoors painting mountains, trees, and rocks.
Another workshop participant who herself was an accomplished still life painter mentioned how hard this was. I couldn't have agreed more. Even though we both knew the principals of art it seemed to elude us when we put brush to easel to paint the scene before us.
In still life painting..I start out by looking for the simple masses of light and shadow. I simplify as much as possible. I know this...why was it so hard to translate that same knowledge when painting mountains, lakes, or trees? The answer finally came to me and since I come from a very musical family, the answer came in the form of music. I play the piano. I've played the piano since I was about 9 years old. My grandmother was my first teacher and then came more serious study. I'm comfortable with the piano. I can sit down and place my hands on the keys and know that music will flow but give me a violin and I am lost. How hard to I put the bow to the strings? Where do I put my bow to find middle C?
So I now understand that even though I can paint still life with ease, landscapes will take more practice and more studying. I am determined however to become comfortable with landscapes as I am with Still Life. I can't live in this beautiful part of the country and not paint landscapes.