Tips for creating better landscape compositions - video tutorial

Painting in circles is something we all do but can be eliminated with quality designs

If you find yourself struggling with a painting and no matter what you do it just doesn't work then the problem is usually poor design. This free video lesson will help you solve some of the common issues when working with landscape subjects.

What you will learn in the landscape tutorial

The rule of thirds - there are a few alternatives with this design tool. In the tutorial I will share the more common method which is dividing the image, or frame, equally so that there are nine segments.

Adding a center of interest/focal point - developing a focal point will enhance the design and engage the viewer. In this case study I will add some figures walking on one of the intersections.

Artistic license by adding tree, cars and enhancing foreground shadow area - using some imagination will add a personal touch to the design. I've never experienced using an image without tweaking it.

How can this help you create better landscape art

I would imaging you have plenty of images from your hometown, vacations and so on. If they are anything like mine then they're average at best. But these average images can be transformed into fantastic paintings.

Always take time to see what you're going to create. Spending quality time on composing will save you a lot of heartache and money. Plus the finished result will be much better.

Knowing, or envisioning, where your art is going before the paint hits the canvas gives you a huge advantage. It's much better than the alternative which is ignore design and hope for the best. Relying on luck isn't very smart!

If you don't 'see' it when you start, there will be nothing there when you finish. - Joseph Zbukvic

Here's an exercise that will challenge your composition skills

  • Find an image that you like
  • Tweak it by adding, or subtracting certain elements
  • Can you apply rule of thirds, add elements, and or insert better focal point?
  • Now create a small composition sketch
  • Try a small painting to see how it works

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Inspiration image with rule of thirds
Main shapes with enhancements
Tips for creating better landscape compositions video tutorial - Finished painting