I don't recall seeing a easy to understand list of landscape painting guidelines here, how about we make a thread listing & discussing them?

We can even post examples or sketches.

These are some that I try to remember & use ...

Avoid centered horizon line - divides painting in half visually

Avoid centering major or strong objects

Avoid cloned or repeated shapes & spacing

You need to have darks to show the light.

Straight black tends to suck the life out of a painting - use a very clean dark mix of purple/blue/burnt sienna to make a near black and avoid a dead black.

Or tint your black with one of those colors to warm or cool it.

Color harmony - color wheel -

many to choose from-



reds compliment greens 

blues compliments oranges

yellows compliments purples

If a main color is too bright or too strong - -  adding some of the compliment color will dull it down

Generally -

To show distance -  less detail,  softer muted tones , blues, grays purples

Foreground -  stronger colors, more detail, more contrast

feel free to add more

Views: 626

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

painting perspective in landscapes

(posting  a list of search results)


Hi Joy. Thank you for posting the website for painting + perspective. And the above info. It will be very helpful. There are I'm sure lots of beginner painters that would grateful for any information or websites to look up.

Create a smooth visual path leading into and through the painting.

Avoid hard lines or strong objects leading out of the painting.

I recently bought a book recommended by Stu called Light and Color by James Gurney. Excellent value

Hi Joy, Wow what a great help you info has been. Just not enough hours in a day to do all the things I want to do, including painting. Cheers Maria

First establish composition and design (using mini pencil sketches, followed by notan and then limited value studies)

Second, establish focal points. Edges are sharpest where the eye focuses, every other edge loses sharpness (to avoid photo-like look in paintings copied from photographs)


Wider value range and where the darkest values are,

more contrast,

more details,

more color,

more texture (in light areas, darks should have little or none),



As space recedes, values get lighter and the range narrows.

Contrast/detail/color/texture is lost and come closer to one unified color (that of the sky).

Avoid repetition in shapes/lines of land masses.

Avoid lines leading to corners (draws the viewer out of painting)

Just what I can remember off the top of my head. :)

Here are 14 words to remember when you are composing a painting: 

The Elements of Composition:  Unity, Contrast, Dominance, Repetition, Harmony, Balance, Gradation.

The Marks we put on canvas:  Line, Shape, Value, Color, Texture, Size, Direction.

The above Elements of Composition organize and relate the MARKS  we put on paper or canvas.

More on this later ....

Thanks all, for all these tips!

Reply to Discussion



The Complete Artist is a friendly social network for all artists wanting to improve their painting.

Get my FREE Painting Lessons here!



  • Add Photos
  • View All


© 2020   Created by Richard Robinson.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service