Pick up a Paintbrush
You don’t have to be Van Gogh or Rembrandt to pick up a paintbrush. Drawing and painting can be an absorbing hobby for anyone and landscape painting is an enjoyable and relaxing way of spending time outdoors.
Do not be discouraged if you haven’t put paint to paper since you left school – you may be pleasantly surprised by your finished artwork. No expensive equipment is necessary to start off with. To do a basic sketch all you will need is a cartridge paper sket chbook and some soft pencils (2B or 3B) which can be purchased in any good stationery shop. You will also need a small piece of board to press on, perhaps a folding chair and an eraser and pencil sharpener. If you want to paint, invest in a basic set of watercolours (you can mix the extra colours that you require) and three paintbrushes in various sizes. If you are lucky enough to have a local art shop they will be pleased to advise you. If not, you could look at the examples in the links below to purchase online.
Find a good scene to draw in a location where you will not be in anyone’s way and will not be interrupted too many times. Remember to respect the countryside, do not trespass, shut gates behind you, take your litter home and do not obstruct rights of way. Keep your first sketches simple, don’t attempt to include too much detail and leave out any objects which you feel are too difficult for you to attempt at this stage. Think about the content of your drawing and visualise the finished sketch on your paper. Choose a tree or building to be the main focal point of your picture. Make sure the horizon is horizontal and your buildings are perpendicular to it! An interesting detail in the foreground will give your picture depth.
Practice and Observation
Observation is the key to successful drawing. Spend 90% of your time looking at your subject and only 10% looking at your drawing. Drawing skills improve with practice so get into the habit of carrying a sketchbook and pencil around with you at all times and sketch whatever interests you. Don’t try to produce a masterpiece every time you open your sketchbook!
Whatever the Weather
If the weather is not very nice or you find it easier, you can improve a sketch or turn it into a painting in the comfort of your own home. Makes notes of colours and areas of light and shade when you are outside to act as a reminder when you get home or take some photos.
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There are many subjects to paint or sketch – rivers, the seaside, mountains, cliffs, fields, towns and churches all provide inspiration for the amateur landscape artist. When you become more proficient, you can experiment with oil paints, gouache, acrylics or pastels and diversify into still-life, portraits or even abstract art. Join your local art society for ideas and encouragement or take some evening classes at your local adult education centre. Visit some art galleries and compare your efforts with Constable’s!
Give it a try – painting is not as difficult as you may think!