So, first things first: You need to find a landscape to paint. It can be a real landscape, or a photograph,
either will do fine. You can find photos on the net (there are some great reference journals online, put together
specifically for artists), in magazines and in books. Read this article on how to paint abstracts from a photo for more details.
Spend some time just looking at the landscape that you’ve chosen. If you’re there in person, pay attention to
senses other than sight, as well: What do you feel? Is it hot or cold? What do you smell? Is it dusty, or humid?
What do you hear? Is there wildlife?
When you feel ready to start painting, squint while looking at the landscape. What do you notice about the
general tone of the area? Take note of large areas of shadow and the most prominent colors that you see. If you’d
like to, now would be a good time to create a palette.
You can keep your palette simple and reflect the colors realistically in your painting, or you can add colors
that you feel interpret the emotions that you have, and the other senses that are affected by the landscape. Be
bold with your painting, and don’t let fear stop you from exaggerating colors and using wild colors that aren’t in
One way to begin your painting would be to paint a background color on your canvas that you feel says a lot
about the landscape on its own. (For example: If the landscape s taken over by the sea and sky, then use blue. If
painting a Saharan desert, then use dusty oranges and reds.)
If you want to blend and mix colors into the background, then feel free to paint wet-in-wet for a while, until
you’re happy with what you have. Don’t go too wild though, or you might end up muddying up your paints. Wait for
this layer to dry, and then look at your landscape some more. Are there areas that are significantly darker or
lighter than the rest?
When it comes to details in your painting, you can fill your canvas with too many details to take in at once, or
you can go for the minimalist approach, choosing one or three specific subjects to focus on in your painting (it’s
often better to have an odd number of elements in your painting, rather than an even number). When it comes to
painting these details, once again, you can choose whether to be realistic or to stylize the objects.
Of course, because this is an abstract painting, you don’t have to have any recognizable objects on your canvas.
You could observe the texture of something in the landscape, and repeat that texture as a pattern, covering your
canvas with it.
Or you could simply play with the colors that you see around you (or in your photo), using them as inspiration
and ignoring the shapes in the land. This is your painting, and what you do with it is up to you, so don’t think
too much about guidelines or instructions, and just paint.
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