Landscape painting is one of the best ways to learn how to paint.
Everything you know about the human anatomy does you no good here. You can't rely on muscle memory. You have to invent a language because the iconography that we have in our heads doesn't work the same way out in the field as it does when painting figures. It's just you, light, value, color, shapes and pushing paint. Trying to keep up with the ever-changing light can sometimes be maddening. The wind, the heat, the bugs! But leaving with something at the end of the day, anything at all, is exciting.
I was extremely lucky to have Jeff Jones get me out landscape painting. Watching him paint was a incredible opportunity and the lessons were myriad. Things that I thought I knew about how he painted were blown out of the water. Watching him simplify the landscape, using it as a springboard for his own direction was pure gold.
So, I don't try to copy what I see in nature, but rather go for the essence and let the paint tell me where to go. I go out there with no preconceptions. All of these are done in one sitting. 99% are done en plein air. Win or lose it's just nice to be out there.
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