Painting the ground |

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Painting the ground

In his final instalment in this series, Graham Webber advises what you need to consider, and how to make it all come together, when painting land in a landscape


Autumn Trees, oil on board, 23×35in (58.5×89cm).

Shadows and tracks can provide useful compositional lines to draw you into the painting. Palette: titanium white, ultramarine blue, manganese blue, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, Naples yellow and burnt sienna

Depicting land in a landscape painting involves considering all that surrounds it. The sky, for example, will affect the colour, contrast and mood of the landscape. By thinking about the different effects created by varying light it is possible to paint land in a convincing way. Creating a sense of atmosphere will take the painting further and that is where careful use of tone, colour, mass and saturation, along with hard and soft edges, must all come together.


It is usual to depict space and distance in a landscape, and also the influence of the sky in light and colour. One of the most important considerations when painting the ground is aerial perspective – this is where the progression from high contrast passages with greater saturation to distant cooler, low contrast areas helps to give the impression of distance. As objects further away from us are seen through a greater density of atmosphere, definition usually decreases and we can make the most of this by exaggerating the effects to create dynamic paintings. Although cooler colours recede and warmer colours jump forward, this is only a starting point, so always allow observation and instinct to govern your painting. For example, I have often used a warm purple to depict the horizon on really sunny days. Saturation is also affected with stronger colour in the foreground and weaker in the background. Also think about scale: generally, less detail is required as objects get smaller and turn into more basic shapes

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About The Artist

Welcome to our January issue which looks forward to the new year ahead with our special 6-page guide to open competitions and exhibitions in 2018 and beyond, with all the entry details and all-important deadlines. We also include full details about our own The Artist open competition with fantastic prizes and the opportunity to see your work exhibited and published in the magazine and on our website, promoting your artwork to our massive international audience. Our inspirational, practical articles from this month's team of top-level professional artists and tutors include how to exploit extreme shadows in watercolour for enhanced light effects, watercolour techniques for capturing atmospheric weather conditions and how to improve your watercolour still life paintings. Equestrian artist Ruth Buchanan offers 10 top tips on how to draw the horse, NEAC President Richard Pikesley offers ideas on painting 'table-top' landscapes indoors when it's impossible to get outside to paint and Barry Freeman explains how painting from the heart is the key to loosening up in your work. With much more too, you will find plenty of ideas in this issue to keep you painting over the festive period. The team at The Artist wishes all our readers a happy, creative time and enjoyable new year.