Thursday, 28 January 2010

Charlene Brown's Landscape Painting Timeline

Charlene Brown (1,150 words) very kindly sent me a copy of “The Google Guide to the History of Design” - her cross-cultural time-line of archaeology and the history of art, architecture, design and invention. It's amazing!

History of Design, Page 8 (of 10)
InDesign document
©2010 Charlene Brown

She's highlighted all the aspects which relate to landscape art in colour

This ten-page outline runs from the earliest rock art through to the present day. Landscape painting developments are hi-lighted in colour, get passing mention on pages 4, 5 and 6, but only feature prominently on pages 7, 8 (shown on the left) and 9.
You can download a copy by clicking on the link in the above paragraph - which is sourced from Charleen's blog post Landscape Painting Timeline

One of the major benefits of Charlene's timeline is that it is crosscultural and covers four areas:
  • Americas and Pacific
  • Europe
  • Near East and Africa
  • Asia
It shows all the significant developments in the history of art and design in every civilization worldwide back through five millennia and beyond!

This concise 10-page matrix lines them all up and Google will take you to the documentation and illustrations on the internet using the timeline search words.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Van Gogh's Perspective Frame

One of the most fascinating aspects of the The Real Van Gogh - the Artist and his Letters exhibition is the letter which illustrates the perspective tool which Van Gogh used - and a sketch of him using it!

Perpsective is an aspect of drawing which a number of artists struggle with. Van Gioh was no exception and he studied various handbooks and diligently did various exercises to improve his grasp of perspective and proportions. I was very impressed with some of the drawings which he'd tackled to develop his skills in drawing the perspective of both built and natural forms.

The first room in the exhibition provides some examples of drawings he did - plus the two letters which indicate how he also used technical aids - in the shape of a perspective frame.
I've quoted from these letters letters below.

A sketch by Vincent Van Gogh illustrating how he expected to use the perspective frame he had ordered
Letter 253 To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Saturday, 5 August 1882

I’ll start with small things — but before the summer ends I hope to practise bigger sketches in charcoal with an eye to painting in a rather larger format later.
This is why I’m having a new and, I hope, better perspective frame made, which will stand firmly on two legs in uneven ground like the dunes.

Like this, for example.
What we saw together at Scheveningen, sand — sea — sky — is something I certainly hope to express one day.
He described it in more detail in the next letter which also includes three sketches of the post, peg and perspective frame.
In my last letter you’ll have found a little scratch of that perspective frame. I’ve just come back from the blacksmith, who has put iron spikes on the legs and iron corners on the frame.
It consists of two long legs:
The frame is fixed to them by means of strong wooden pegs either horizontally or vertically
The result is that on the beach or in a meadow or a field you have a view as if through a window. The perpendicular and horizontal lines of the frame, together with the diagonals and the cross — or otherwise a grid of squares — provide a clear guide to some of the principal features, so that one can make a drawing with a firm hand, setting out the broad outlines and proportions. Assuming, that is, that one has a feeling for perspective and an understanding of why and how perspective appears to change the direction of lines and the size of masses and planes. Without that, the frame is little or no help, and makes your head spin when you look through it.
I expect you can imagine how delightful it is to train this view-finder on the sea, on the green fields — or in the winter on snow-covered land or in the autumn on the fantastic network of thin and thick trunks and branches, or on a stormy sky.
With CONSIDERABLE practice and with lengthy practice, it enables one to draw at lightning speed and, once the lines are fixed, to paint at lightning speed.
It’s in fact especially good for painting, because a brush must be used for sky, ground, sea. Or, rather, to render them through drawing alone, it’s necessary to know and feel how to work with the brush. I also firmly believe my drawing would be strongly influenced if I were to paint for a while. I tried it back in January but that came to a halt — the reason for stopping, apart from a few other things,was that I was still too hesitant when drawing. Now six months have passed, devoted entirely to drawing. So now I’m beginning anew with fresh heart. The frame really has become an excellent piece of equipment — it’s a pity you still haven’t seen it. It has cost me a pretty penny, too, but I had it made so solidly that I shan’t wear it out in a hurry.
Letter 254 To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Saturday, 5 or Sunday, 6 August 1882
How do you tackle drawing perspective when working plein air?

Note: Royal Academy of Arts: The Real Van Gogh Exhibition - The Artist and his Letters exhibition
  • Opens to the public: 23rd January 2010
  • Closes: Sunday 18th April 2010
  • Open 10am - 6pm daily; Fridays open until 10pm; Saturdays open until 9pm.
  • All days last admission 30 minutes before closing time

Monday, 25 January 2010

Which are the best books about Landscape Art?

Do you want to learn about landscape art? Do you want to find out which which are the best books about painting landscapes? Do you want to know more about famous landscape artists? Introduction to The Best Books about Landscape Art
One of the purposes of this project was to share our views about which are the most helpful art books for understanding landscape art and learning how to create it.

As part of this project I've started a new resource site called The Best Books about Landscape Art. The books are organised according to two main themes
  • landscapes - art instruction
  • landscapes - art history
At present, this is essentially a list of possible books. The list needs weeding and it needs good books added to it that I'm not aware of. Plus it also needs links to book reviews by anybody who would like to contribute one!

This is the current listing of its contents. This will change over time as the resource develops.

You can find out about...

...just click a link and go straight to that topic

How you can get involved

If you've already written a book review or would like to contribute one, take a look at the post over on Making A Mark Reviews about The Best Books about Landscape Art - A Review about how to contribute a book review.

You can also express your views here as to what you think are the best books about landscape art

So - what do you think are the best books about landscape art?

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Van Gogh's Palette 1882

Van Gogh's Palette (Sketch in Letter 253)
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

Last Tuesday I found myself looking at an original letter by Vincent Van Gogh in which he had described the colours he had bought and had drawn a sketch of his palette (see above).
Moreover, I now have all the essentials for proper painting. And a supply of paint — big tubes (which work out much cheaper than small ones), but you will understand that I’ve limited myself to simple colours in both watercolour and oil: ochre (red, yellow, brown), cobalt and Prussian blue, Naples yellow, terra sienna, black and white, supplemented with some carmine, sepia, vermilion, ultramarine, gamboge in smaller tubes.
But I refrained from buying colours one ought to mix oneself.
I believe this is a practical palette, with sound colours. Ultramarine, carmine or something else are added if absolutely necessary.
Letter 253 To Theo van Gogh. The Hague, Saturday, 5 August 1882.
You can see this letter and others in the exhibition The Real Van Gogh - the Artist and his Letters which opened to the public yesterday at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It marks the publication of a new edition of the Van Gogh letters following a major research project.

I posted an introduction to this on Making A Mark The Real Van Gogh at the Royal Academy. I'll be writing more about this exhibition on this blog and Making A Mark during the next week.

What's interesting is that the letter lists the colours in dutch, the website translates this into English but the sketch lists the colours in French. Whcih rather suggests he was either buying supplies of French paint or the Dutch colourmen used the names established by the French.

So far as I can make out from my photograph (with the aid of a colour chart of Sennelier oils in French) he lists the colours as follows (from left to right):
  • blanc d'argent
  • jaune de naples
  • ocre jaune
  • ocre rouge
  • ocre brûlée
  • terre de sienne
  • cobalt ou bleu de prusse
  • noir d'ivoire
  • vermillon
The surviving letters written and received by Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) are contained in a new edition of his letters which were published at the end of last year. It's the result of a project undertaken by the Van Gogh Museums which has lasted some 15 years.

The letters are published:
  • in book format by Thames and Hudson - The Real Van Gogh: The Artist and His Letters by Nienke Bakker, Leo Jansen, Hans Luijte. This contains the original letter, a translation, notes about matters referenced in the letters and a facsimile image of the actual letter and images of all the original sketches and works to which they relate.
  • on a dedicated website run the Van Gogh Museum - Vincent van Gogh - The Letters. This also contains images of the work
In traditional scholarly publishing terms, this web edition is a study edition. That is to say it is intended for Van Gogh specialists, art historians and literary scholars studying Van Gogh’s letters or work, and students of art history, the history of literature and allied disciplines.
They are a fascinating read and I recommend them to anybody wanting to know more about how Van Gogh worked - and approached the business of painting landscapes.

What do you think of his palette?

Note: The Real Van Gogh - the Artist and his Letters
  • Opens to the public: 23rd January 2010
  • Closes: Sunday 18th April 2010
  • Open 10am - 6pm daily; Fridays open until 10pm; Saturdays open until 9pm.
  • All days last admission 30 minutes before closing time

Saturday, 23 January 2010

The Landscape Genre within Modernist Photography

Over on Making A Mark I recently posted my Reflections on landscape painting after 1900 - which generated a fair old discussion.

One of my reflections from doing my research into the development of landscape art was as follows
I really don't understand how the painting of landscapes can be such an enduring form of art across cultures, continents and centuries - until we get to the 20th century. In the last 50+ years, landscape art just doesn't seem to be produced by the sort of contemporary artists who get into major galleries, have exhibitions in the important museums and sell for big sums in the auction houses.
I suggested a number of reasons why this might be the case - one of which was linked to our treatment of the environment and our capacity to travel and the ability to make our own pictures and videos using cameras (and now phones).

One of the nice things about this new blog is that people are writing to tell me about different aspects of landscape art - and also responding to points made.

This morning I got an email from Alan Mynett who is a retired college lecturer and keen photographer who doesn't have a blog but does have an interesting website. Do take a look at the various different types of photography he has used.

WaterLine (Venice 2009) - A handmade concertina book of pictures taken in Venice.
copyright Alan Mynett
I have lately become much more interested in drawing, painting and printmaking. As a photographer, landscape never interested me much, but I'm finding it much more amenable as a subject in these other media, so your new blog on landscape is extremely interesting to me.

It was the latest one on Kenneth Clark's Landscape into Art which triggered a memory. Clark's classification was taken up (expanded and explicitly acknowledged in their Introduction) by Estelle Jussim and Elizabeth Lindquist-Cock in their book 'Landscape as Photograph' (1985), Yale University Press:

the chapter headings are
  1. Landcsape as Artistic Genre
  2. Landscape as God
  3. Landscape as Fact
  4. Landscape as Symbol
  5. Landscape as Pure Form
  6. Landscape as Popular Culture
  7. Landscape as Concept
  8. Landscape as Politics and Propaganda
Sadly, this book has long been out of print, though I was fortunate to salvage a slightly tatty copy when my college library had a clear-out just before I retired from teaching.

I mention this simply because you raised the query of why there is relatively little landscape work in the work of those artists who make up the mainstream Modernist canon.

The rise of photography, and the development of such a strong landscape genre within Modernist photography (Adams, Weston, Minor White etc etc in the States) may be significant.

Equally, though, it may have more to do with the switch of emphasis from objectivity (start with the external to cast light on the internal) to subjectivity (start from the internal and find a suitable visual expression - not necessarily originating in the external or in traditional materials and methods) in the early 20th century. In this last respect, photographers have very limited options, photography being ultimately rooted in the external.
Does anybody have anything to add? What's your view?


Thursday, 21 January 2010

Landscape into Art by Kenneth Clark

Landscape into Art by Kenneth Clark The Contents Page
Landscape into Art by Kenneth Clark (later Lord Clark "of Civilisation" fame) is a classic book about the history and development of the landscape in art. I came across references to this book time and time again while doing my initial research about landscape art.
`We are surrounded with things which we have not made and which have a life and structure different from our own: trees, flowers, grasses, rivers, hills, clouds. For centuries they have inspired us with curiosity and awe. They have been objects of delight. We have recreated them in our imaginations to reflect our moods. And we have come to think of them as contributing to an idea which we have called nature. Landscape painting marks the stages in our conception of nature. Its rise and development since the Middle Ages is part of a cycle in which the human spirit attempted once more to create a harmony with its environment.'
Kenneth Clark
You can read the 1949 edition of this book online on The Internet Archive. It also appears to be available to download from the Internet Archive. You can also now preview this book on Google Books - if you find the right link! Above is a screendump of the contents page.

I have to get a 'proper' copy of this book not least because I love his categories of how landscape art works

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Johan Christian Dahl (1788-1857)

Lyshornet bei Bergen (1836)
by Johan Christian Dahl
41 × 50 cm

One of the nice things about this project is it offers the opportunity to explore how landscape painting has developed in different countries.

For example, take a look at Suzanne McDermott's post about Nordic Landscape painting (1st May 2008).

She highlights a number of her favourite painters, one of which is Johan Christian Dahl (Norwegian, 1788-1857) who is a Norwegian landscape painter, who was connected to the Romantic movement. He is often considered have been "the father of Norwegian landscape painting".

Johan Christian Dahl began his artistic career as a professor at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts in 1824. He was active mostly in this city but gathered his subject material from the landscape of his home country. Together with Caspar David Friedrich and Carl Gustav Carus, he would become one of the Dresden painters of the period who exerted a decisive influence on German Romantic painting.

J.C. Dahl occupies a central position in Norwegian artistic life of the first half of the 19th century. His Romantic yet naturalistic interpretations of Norwegian scenery aroused interest in Norway on the Continent, where Dahl himself was highly esteemed, particularly in Denmark and Germany.
However his paintings are not limited to Norway - as this spectacular painting indicates

Eruption of Vesuvius (1826)
by Johan Christian Dahl

collection Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt am Main (source: Wikipedia)

You can see more Johan Dahl's landscape paintings on Scholar's Resource.

  • Johan Christian Claussen Dahl (February 24, 1788 – October 14, 1857) - wikipedia article

NOTE: Contact me if you have posted on your blog
about an important aspect in the development of landscape art
which you would like referenced on this blog.

Monday, 18 January 2010

How to make landscape art

This post will provide an index of links to posts on this blog or elsewhere about the different practical aspects of how to translate landscape into art - in terms of drawings, paintings, prints or photography.

It will be updated with links to the relevant posts as they are posted and/or the index is revised.

  • why paint landscapes
  • concepts and landscapes
  • "first impression, then expression" - the emotional response to a landscape subject
  • the landscape format
  • different approaches to composition
  • placement of the horizon line
  • zones - foreground /middle ground/ background
  • simplifying the landscape
  • massing and shapes in the landscape
  • landscape and value patterns
  • aerial perspective
  • perspective in the landscape
  • landscape and scale
  • landscapes through the window
  • staffage - the figure in the landscape
  • landscape colour palettes
  • how colours vary according to different locations and latitudes
  • how colours vary according to different seasons
  • the colour of atmospheric effects
HOW TO......
  • how to draw/paint a tree
  • how to draw/paint water
  • how to draw/paint clouds
  • how to draw/paint buildings
  • how to draw/paint figures in the landscape
  • how to paint the landscape in the sky
  • how to develop a landscape series
  • landscapes and mark-making
  • landscape and line
  • landscape and dots
  • use photos to create landscape art (and what NOT to do)
  • how to abstract a landscape
  • plein air kits
  • the best plein air easel is...
  • choosing a location
  • pros and cons of the familiar
  • painting landscapes using oils
  • painting landscapes using acrylics
  • painting landscapes using mixed media
  • painting landscapes using pastels
  • drawing landscapes using coloured pencils
  • drawing landscapes using pen and ink
  • painting landscapes using mixed media
  • creating prints of landscapes
  • shooting the landscape
  • how to eliminate details
  • John Carlsson
  • Arthur Dow (notan)

Your input is welcomed in relation to:
  • suggestions as to what else needs to be considered for inclusion in the list
  • comments on the suggested topics
You can also identify a post on your blog which could usefully be referenced in the above index (although please note I'm aiming to keep the standard high in terms of the content that gets referenced)

This post will be updated and revised with links, as they are posted, to
Please use this thread to make requests for an update and supply the URL for your linkand I'll review it.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Visionary Landscapes in the Americas

Michelle Basic Hendry (Artscapes) in Canada reminded me that native artists have played an important but often overlooked part in the development of landscape art as a genre.

Painted Earth
© David Beaucage Johnson

This week she posted an article about Visionary Landscapes. It's a fascinating piece and is a recommended read.

She concludes...
This article does not even begin to scratch the surface of Visionary Landscape and Native art across Canada. Visionary landscape and First Nations art, in general, is so often overlooked in the mainstream art world. It was no surprise to me how difficult it was to gather information. In the case of the linked artists, except for Morrisseau, who was labeled by the French, the Picasso of the North, most of my knowledge of the other artists is through my own experience of the art and personal contact. I hope that this might offer a little more insight into an art form that should no longer be neglected by the history books.
I went looking for links to information and found quite a few on wikipedia which I'd never come across before. It struck me that the way the categories of information worked it was as if native art was being treated as an adjunct to western art rather than an important part of its development.
At present I can do little more than list these sources of further information but I hope to return to this topic in time and/or to reference more very helpful posts such as the one by Michelle.

Finally, this is a link to the website of David Beaucage Johnson, the native artist in Ontario, Canada who is highlighted in Michelle's post.

NOTE: Contact me if you have posted on your blog
about an important aspect in the development of landscape art
which you would like referenced on this blog.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Canada's Group of Seven at Algoma

I know nothing about Canada's Group of Seven or the Algoma Central Railway and the role it played in enabling them to access places they painted between 1918 and the 1960s but these two videos have made me want to find out more.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Google Street View and The Virtual Paintout

This post is about:
  • using Google Street View to provide artists with landscape painting opportunities and
  • Bill Guffey's pioneering use of it forThe Virtual Paintout project and blog.
I'm pretty much confined to home at present. I have real problems with balance caused by falls caused by a disabling condition in my feet. Walking on wet snow, slush and ice is a very high risk activity for me. In the past I've had falls on completely dry pavements which have almost always led to six weeks on crutches so any conditions which increase the likelihood of falls are avoided as part of my risk management strategy.

However at least I can get out and about and do walk a lot when the weather is better with a view to strengthening the spaghetti junctions in my ankles. (Believe me = breaking a bone is a complete breeze compared to tearing ligaments and tissue in your feet!)

However many people with disabilities greater than mine don't have the mobility I have. Many people can be confined to their homes for long periods and can have significant problems with travelling to see landscapes and paint. However Google Street View appears to offer some scope for artists to travel in a virtual world and paint in the real world that was never envisaged when this development of Google Maps was created.

Google Street View

Bill Guffey (Bill Guffey), a Kentucky artist, is the person who has been responsible for uncovering the potential of Google Street View.

First he started experimenting with Google Street View to complete a series of paintings, one from each state in the U.S. You can see his Street View State Series on his website. In doing this he contacted Google to find out what was and was not possible.

Using Google Street View as a source is legal - He secured the agreement of Google to the effect that it is permissable for artists to use Google Street View as a reference when working in traditional methods to create art.

All Google requires that if you choose to show the original Street View screen shot on which a painting is based on your blog or website, then the Google logo and copyright MUST be visible in the screenshot. There is no requirement for it to be acknowledged in any way in the actual painting.

Bill has also been complimented by by Google for his inspiring use of their technology.
Bill's use of Street View, to inspire his paintings and to create a virtual community of artists, is a remarkable example that we hadn't imagined but are really excited to see.
Stephen Chau, Google Street View product manager
Benefits for artists with disabilities - As Bill highlights on his blog...........
This opens up an entire world for artists that are disabled and confined to their homes or facilities, or with restricted mobility.
I think this aspect is really terrific for artists with disabilities. It's also the reason why I've chosen to highlight it today given that I'm sitting here and staring out the window at the snow coming down in London!

The Virtual Paintout

Bill subsequently started The Virtual Paintout as a blog project.
The Main Rule

The artist must use a view found through Google Street View as the reference for the painting or drawing. Artwork created from photographs not acquired through Google Street View will not be accepted. User Photos found as thumbnails in the upper right hand corner on some views are not acceptable. Thanks.
To date the Virtual Paintout has visited the following places. If you click on the links you can view the paintings produced by participants as a result.
Below you'll find an example of a painting produced for the London project. This painting by Gary Nemcosky is of Westminster Abbey from Totley Street in London - and below is the nearest I could get to the Google Street View. Gary is an artist and art educator living in the mountains of western North Carolina - a long way from Westminster! This is a link to his blog post about the painting - Virtual Paintout - London, England and this was his conclusion!
This was a lot of fun to do and I would recommend this kind of activity to anyone

Westminster Abbey
12x16" watercolor on Kilamanjaro 140 lb. block.
Gary Nemcosky

Westminster Abbey from the end of Totley Street
view from Google Street View

So - have you tried painting from Google Street View or participated in The Virtual Paintout?
  • How did you find it? What are the pros and cons?
  • Do you have any tips for others having a go?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

The development of landscape art

Here's #2 in my posts about plans for future content - this time it's about the development of landscape art

Stour Valley and Dedham Church c.1815 by John Constable
oil on canvas, 55.6 x 77.8 cm (21 7/8 x 30 5/8 in.)
Museum of Fine Arts Boston

My initial thoughts are set out in the list which follows. The idea is to be able to start by asking what a landscape is, work through different ways in which landscapes have been portrayed - and the reasons why - and finish up with an idea of how relevant landscape art is in today's contemporary culture. This will obviously link into yesterday's post - Landscape Art - A Timeline in Art History

The development of landscape art - topics:
  • What is a landscape?
  • The development of Landscape Art
    • the beginnings of landscape art
    • the contrast between east and west
    • the role of illuminated manuscripts
    • landscape as background
    • landscape through the window
    • landscape as panorama
    • landscapes for pleasure
    • landscapes as records of exploration
    • landscapes through the seasons
    • the sublime landscape
    • the picturesque landscape
    • landscapes as 'bling' - commissions for the landed gentry
    • landscapes for the Grand Tour and tourists
    • landscapes as records of battles and wars
    • The role of the figure in the landscape / staffage
  • Paint - the development of watercolour landscapes
  • Paint - from bladders to tubes: the impact on plein air painting
  • The development of plein air painting
    • Barbizon School
    • Impressionists
    • The Macchiaioli
  • Landscape art and artists' colonies
  • The development of regional art
  • Landscape Art - the status of the genre (past and present)
The Art of the Landscape Project - how you can participate

I very much welcome
  • input from readers as to whether there are other aspects which need to be considered.
  • Plus your comments on my suggested topics are also most welcome.
If you wish to collaborate - the way I'm hoping this project will work will be that some project participants will work up topics on their own blogs and then these will be referenced by this blog.

Like yesterday's post, this post will be a reference post and act as an index. It will then be updated with links to the relevant posts as they are posted and/or the index is revised.

In the next post I'm going to start considering topics which consider the landscape in terms of particular places where it thrived - and why that was.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Landscape Art - A Timeline in Art History

This post outlines the different art movements and schools of painting in the different countries which I hope to feature on this blog.

I'm not going to tackle the development of landscape art according to a timeline, however I do want to be very clear about what the timeline is and how one movement or school influences another - hence this post.

It will also serve a purpose as an index. This post will be updated with links to the relevant posts as they are posted. This blog is, in effect, going to become something akin to a database which is updated over time. (I'll date posts at the end if they as and when they are updated).

I've also separated the posts out into continents to highlight the georgraphical aspects of the development of landscape art


  • Landscape Art in China
    • Song Dynasty (960-1279) - DongYuan, Guo Xi and Ju Ran;
    • Southerhn Song Dynasty (1172-1279) - Ma Yuan and Xia Gui;
    • Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368) Huang Gongweng, Wu Zhen, Ni Zan and Wang Meng
    • Ming Dynasty (1368 to 1644) - Dai Yin, Shen Zou, Weng Zhengming, Yang Yin, Qui Ying, Dong Qichang,
    • Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) - Zha Du, the Four Wangs: Wang Shimin, Wang Hui, Wang Jian, Wang Yunagi, Wu Li, Shitao, Hongren, Kuncan, Gong Xian
  • Landscape Art in Japan
    • Muromachi Period (1333-1573) - Sesshu Toyo, Kano Eitoku, Hasagawa Tohaku
    • Edo Period (1615-1858) - Kano Tan'yu, Hokusai, Hiroshige
  • Landscape Art in India
    • Rajput painting (1800-1900) - country life


  • Landscape Art and Roman Painting - (c510BCE- 478CE)
  • Landscape Art and Early Italian Art - (13th & 14th centuries): Ambrogio Lorenzetti and the panorama; Giotto and the development of depth in the picture plane
  • Landscape Art and Gothic Art - (15th century) Limbourg Brothers and illuminated manuscripts
  • Landscape Art and the Italian Renaissance (c. 1400-1525)- Piero della Francesco; Massacio, Andrea Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci and Georgione; the development of perspective; landscape as background
  • Landscape Art and the Northern Renaissance
    • Flemish Renaissance (c. 1400-c.1540) Pieter Brughal the Elder - The Months, rural life; Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and the landscape through the window;
    • German Renaissance (c.1440-c.1540) Albrecht Altdorfer - landscapes with no story; Joachim Patinir and the panorama; Albrecht Durer
  • Landscape Art and Mannerism (c.1520-c.1610) - El Greco and the dramatic landscape
  • Claud Lorrain, Nicholas Poussin,
  • Landscape Art and the Baroque (c1600-1720) - Claud Lorrain and the ideal landscape, Salvator Rosa, Nicolas Poussin and setting the scene, Peter Paul Rubens and landscapes for pleasure; Jacon van Ruisdel and Dutch landscapes, Aelbbert Cuyp and the luminous landscape, William van der Velde and marine painting
  • Landscape Art and the Rococo (c1700-1780) - Watteau, Piranesi and the Grand Tour, Canaletto (Giovanni Antonion Canal) and topographical views
  • Landscape Art and Neoclassicism (1770s-1810s) -
  • Landscape Art and the German Romantics - Danube School, Caspar David Friedrich, Albert Bierstadt, Karl Blechen
  • Landscape Art and Realism - Camille Corot, Jean-François Millet, Courbet,
    • Introduction to the Barbizon School - Charles-François Daubigny, Pierre Étienne Théodore Rousseau, Jules Dupré
  • Landscape Art and French Impressionism - Claude Monet, Camille Pissaro, Alfred Sisley
  • Landscape Art and Spanish Impressionism - Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
  • Landscape Art and Neo Impressionism - Seurat
  • Landscape Art and Post Impressionism - Cezanne, Paul Gauguin, Vincent Van Gogh
Montagne Saint Victoire 1890 by Paul Cézanne
oil on canvas; Height 0.65m ; Width 0.92m

Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell
  • Landscape Art in the early 20th century - the abstraction of the landscape: Kandinsky. Mondrian,
    • Landscape Art and Fauvism - Andre Derain, Henri Matisse
    • Landscape Art in Scandinavia - Aksell Gallen-Kallela,
    • Landscape Art in Russia - Valentin Serov, Konstantin Alekseyevich Korovin, Ivan Shishkin, Isaac Levitan
    • Landscape Art in Austria - Gustav Klimt
    • Landscape Art and The School of Paris - Utrillo
    • Landscape Art and Surrealism - Magritte, Dali
  • Contemporary European Landscape Art


  • Landscape Art and the British Rococo - Richard Wilson and the idealised classical tradition; Thomas Gainsborough and the country house portrait
  • Landscape Art and British Neoclassicism - George Stubbs and the picturesque setting for animals
  • Landscape Art and the Influence of the Royal Academy - the influence of Joshua Reynolds
  • Landscape Art and the English Watercolourists - landscape art in watercolour in the 17th and 18th centuries - Turner, Cotman, Girtin, Cox, Cozens
  • Landscape Art and the Nazarenes - William Dyce
  • Landscape Art and the Bristish Romantics - Richard Parkes Bonington, JMW Turner, John Constable
  • Landscape Art and the Visionaries - Samuel Palmer, John Martin
  • Landscape Art and the Pre-Raphaelites - William Holman Hunt; Ford Madox Brown
  • Landscape Art and English Impressionists - Phillip Wilson Steer
  • Landscape Art and Naieve Painting (early 20th century) - Alfred Wallis
  • Landscape Art and the Avant Garde (early 20th century) - Graham Sutherland, Paul Nash
  • Landscape Art and British Regional Painters - LS Lowry, Atkinson Grimshaw, the Heaton Coopers, Eric Ravilious, John Piper
  • Landscape Art and the Scottish Colourists - Samuel Peploe
  • Contemporary British Landscape Art - David Prentice, Kurt Jackson, David Hockney,

North America

  • Landscape Art and Colonial America (17th and 18th centuries) - ?
  • Landscape Art and the Hudson River School (American Romantics) - Thomas Cole, Frederic Edwin Church, Asher Brown Durand, Sanford Robinson Gifford
  • American Landscape Art - Painting the West - Rocky Mountain School: Thomas Moran
  • Landscape Art and American Impressionism - Childe Hassam, William Merritt Chase, John Henry Twachtman, Theodore Robinson
  • American Landscape Art in the early twentieth century - Winslow Homer, James McNeil Whistler, John Singer Sargent
  • Landscape Art and American Modernism - Arthur Dove,
  • Landscape Art and American Naieve Painting (early 20th century) - Grandma Moses
  • American Landscape Art and Regionalist Painters - Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton,
  • American Landscape Art in the 20 century - John Carlson, Georgia O'Keeffe, Andrew Wyeth, Wolf Kahn, Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud, David Hockney
  • Canadian Landscape Art and the Group of Seven J.E.H. MacDonald, Franklin Carmichael, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, Lawren S. Harris, Frederick Varley and A.Y. Jackson.
  • Contemporary North American Landscape Art
I still need to check to see who I've missed out, add in contemporary painters for every continent - and find an image for this post!


I've used a mass of books to produce this list. However two I used to check out art movements and dates are:

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Self-critique: Marie Theron

I'm hoping one of the ways in which this blog can help us all learn more about the art of the landscape is through constructive criticism of artwork. In particular through developing our own capacity and skills to review our own work.

I'll be posting links to self-critiques on this blog as and when you alert me to them or I find them

Marie Theron (Artist Marie Theron chronicles the West Coast of South Africa) wrote to tell me about her critical analysis of one of her works. Her aim was to develop her technical skills and to try and undertsnad why one of her works was so much more popular than others she has posted.

It's interesting that the popularity partly relates to the way she painted the work and partly to how she 'marketed' it on her blog. This is her original post Waving Wheatfields

In her post See Into the New Year 2: The Wheatfield and Why it was Successful she reflects on her piece and highlights:

The Wheatfield
450mm x 60mm on canvas board
copyright Marie Theron
  • the power of yellow to draw in a viewer
  • conceptual connotations of a wheatfield - at various levels - seemed to connect in an emotive way with her blog readers
  • the role of horizontals in providing a restful soothing piece
  • created anticipation by writing about the work before she even started it!
My comments: To that I would add that:
  • the shades of blue and yellow she has used verge on complementary colours which always provide a very powerful combination.
  • There is also a flattened S shape within the middle ground of the ppicture which helps to lead the eye from front to back. S shapes get incorporated very successfully into a number of landscapes.
  • One of the people who commented highlighted how much she liked the little green patch near the centre - which demonstrates the power of the Greg Albert's nostrum 'mostly, some and a bit' (see his book The Simple Secret to Better Painting)
Does anybody have anything helpful to add? If you can see something which helps the impact of this image please identify it.

Would you like to review a picture? Would anybody else like to volunteer a link to a post where they have analysed one of their own works which they think has worked well?

If you are submitting a work, please email me with your blog post and make sure you provide details in a post on your own blog of:
  • dimensions
  • nature of the media and support
  • title
  • URL link to your own critical review
  • URL link to the original post (if different)
  • an image which is 72 dpi, is under 100KB and has a maximum length on one side of 500 pixels
I'm also wondering whether it would helpful to readers to submit works which haven't quite worked for comment?

Further Information

Below are some links to helpful books which can help develop skills in composition, design and colour. One of a book review and the other four are part of my 'resources for artists' series of information websites
Future posts on this blog will be looking at which books we have found most helpful in developing knowledge about how to design landscape paintings.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Free e-book of tips for painting a plein air landscape

Artist Daily - the social media website of the art magazine 'American Artist' - has a number of e-books which are free to download.

One of these is 24 Tips to Learn How To Paint a Plein Air Landscape. This forms part of their series on oil painting techniques.’ll find tips on how to get started working en plein air and how to improve your en plein air painting technique.Featured artist Donald Demers emphasizes the importance of learning from each landscape painting, whether it’s a successful one or a disappointment, and members of the Plein-Air Painters of America (PAPA) stress the need to maintain focus, especially when painting chaotic garden scenes.
I've just downloaded it and haven't read it as yet - but will be giving it a review over on Making A Mark reviews in due course. A quick scan of the article suggests that oil painters will find it more interesting but that it contains some tips which apply to plein air painting generally.

You have to register with the site before you can download any of the free art instruction e-books (PDF article downloads), receive the newsletter or participate in the online community.

If you've already downloaded it, feel free to leave your comments on it here

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Van Gogh's approach to drawing landscapes

This is a link to a post on my main blog about Van Gogh: Drawing Landscapes.

I wrote this as part of a month long project studying Van Gogh in 2007. It specifically deals with his drawings rather than paintings of landscapes

Wheat Field with Cypresses at the Haude Galline near Eygalieres
Vincent van Gogh - 1889
Drawing Height: 47 cm (18.5 in.), Width: 62 cm (24.41 in.)
Van Gogh Museum (Netherlands)

It summarises my conclusions from studying his drawings of landscapes in terms of:
  • Proportion (landscapes)
  • Townscapes and realism
  • Gardens and parks
  • Trees
  • Japanese influence (Ukiyo-e) on Van Gogh
  • the Montmajour series
The Park at Arles Vincent van Gogh - 1889
Drawing - chalk; Height: 49 cm (19.29 in.), Width: 61.5 cm (24.21 in.)
The Art Institute of Chicago (United States)

I also developed this list of links to the Van Gogh Letters which discussed aspects of landscape[Update: I should have remembered to also provide a link to my information site - Vincent Van Gogh - Resources for Art Lovers.
Find out about Vincent Van Gogh, his drawings and paintings and where you can see and read about them. This site shares information about:
  • the life of Vincent Van Gogh
  • Van Gogh's letters and where you can see and read them
  • the art of Vincent Van Gogh - his drawings, watercolours and oil paintings
  • museums, art galleries and exhibitions where you can see Van Gogh's paintings in person or images of them online,
  • books and articles about Van Gogh's life and artwork; and
  • other resources for artists wanting to improve their knowledge about how Van Gogh worked
References to famous artists and their approach to landscape art

Do you have a past post on your blog which discusses landscape art in the context of a specific artist in art history?

If you do why not contact me by e-mail with a note of the URL and a suitable summary for inclusion in this blog.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

A new book about landscape painting

Making A Mark Reviews...... is the blog I now use for my book reviews. Today's post - Book Review: Landscape Painting concerns a new Watson Guptill book Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice by Mitchell Albala which publishes in the UK tomorrow

Here's a couple of short extracts from the review
Nothing in this book is 'rocket science'. I think I knew virtually all the content - either from books, instruction or experience - but what distinguishes this publication is that he gets it all down in one book! I've known other books which have been excellent at some of the topics covered by this book but very few which have come anywhere near its breadth and depth.

It's also a book which pulls off the neat trick of providing a comprehensive manual for the newcomer to landscape art while providing a refresher for the more experienced artists who will find it provides a useful recap of key concepts as well as tips and techniques.
You can read the review at Making A Mark Reviews - Book Review: Landscape Painting. I recommend it and this is why.
Summary review: This book will become a new classic manual of landscape art.

It takes the core concepts and skills required of those creating any type of representational art and interprets and relates how these apply and work within the context of landscape art. It's an in-depth guide produced by somebody who is an experienced educator. It's written and designed by somebody who is an excellent communicator. It deserves a place on the bookshelf of everybody who takes landscape art seriously - whether they paint plein air or in the studio, whether they are a student or an experienced artist and whether they are self-taught or are an artist who teaches landscape art.

Author / (Publisher) Mitchell Albala / Random House/Watson Guptill
Technical data: Publication Date: November 2009 (USA) / 7 January 2010 (UK)
Hardcover (with dust jacket) - 192 pages;
ISBN: 978-0-8230-3220-4 (0-8230-3220-5)
Price as at today's date:

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Landscape art - where to start......

La Pie (1868-69) by Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Oil on canvas, H. 89; W. 130 cm

Musée d'Orsay, Paris
photo copyright Katherine Tyrrell

The problem with this project is knowing where to start.

I have a notebook which has been filling up with notes for the last few months as I try to get a feel for what this project on landscape art might cover. At the moment I'm barely scratching the surface with my notes which are headlines only. I've not even started to make detailed notes as yet but I'm about to start a new notebook!

The bottom line is that landscape art as a topic is HUGE!

If I knew I didn't know enough before I started, I now know for certain I had no idea how much I didn't know! :) I suspect that might be the same for lots of other people.

It's difficult enough working out how to tackle this if I'm doing it just for myself. However if it becomes interactive the ning community structure and this blog MUST make sense to other people.

So basically the topic of landscape art is massive and complex - and it has to be made simple (but flexible so I can incorporate yet more new stuff as I progress!)

It then has to be capable of being explained - in a simple way - in terms of how the whole interactive element works as the project integrates contributions from our blogs with this blog and the ning community and the information sites.

Which is why I'm trying to get those sites up and running in a way which is basic but makes sense before we get going proper.

So - while I work away behind the scenes - what I thought I might do over the next few days is provide some teasers by way of examples of headline topics for future blog posts.

I'm also going to start posting some images of landscapes.

I was fortunate this summer to visit Paris and spent two days - with my camera - in the Louvre and the Musée dOrsay creating a set of images from which I could learn more about French painting - including landscape painting.

Since the Arctic weather continues in the UK, I've posted one my favourite images by one of my favourite painters - La Pie by Monet.

I've always admired this painting because of its composition and because it pulls off that very difficult trick of making a picture of objects covered in white look interesting. I always spend time in front of it seeing all the different colours he's used. You can read more about the painting on the Musée d'Orsay website, if you follow this link
This painting of a place in the countryside near Etretat, executed on the spot, uses very unusual pale, luminous colours, a fact highlighted by the critic Felix Fénéon: "[The public] accustomed to the tarry sauces cooked up by the chefs of art schools and academies, was flabbergasted by this pale painting." The novelty and daring of Monet's approach, which was more about perception than description, explain the painting's rejection by the jury of the 1869 salon.
The bit I never quite understood is how he managed to bisect the picture around the centre line with the top line of the hedge and yet this doesn't make the picture look odd. It isn't until you squint that you realise that the line which is really important is the bottom not the top of the hedge and the bottom of the shadow.  The top line mostly merges into the background.

Are you painting pictures of snow at the moment?

Monday, 4 January 2010

A learning project for art bloggers

It struck me today that it's possible that people don't yet understand what this project is about. Probably because I've only just started to explain it! ;)

However the applications to join the ning community suggest that I maybe need to do a bit more explaining rather quickly! So here goes..............

1. The Art of the Landscape is essentially about development and learning

The focus of this project is very much on what we can learn about the art of the landscape from both the past and the present

Sources for our learning will include information about:
  • famous artists and their paintings,
  • art movements and their impact on landscape art
  • interviews with contemporary artists,
  • books about the history of the development of landscape art
  • books about 'how to' paint a landscape
  • mini-projects to learn more, through participation, about specific aspects of landscape art - such as how to draw a tree; how to construct a composition which works
  • art tutors who choose to participate
  • workshops listed on the site - and constructive/balanced feedback from participants as to which ones they have found useful
2. The Art of the Landscape is targeted at art bloggers

My intention has always been that this should be a project primarily for art bloggers.

As such it will
  • NOT be somewhere where you can post or link to a recent landscape for sale - because the appropriate place for that to happen is on your own art blog.
  • NOT be a place to post a landscape for 'fan' comments because your own art blog or other art forums dedicated to landscape art where there is an opportunity for people to post art for comments and/or admiration already exist
  • NOT provide a way to get your art online and NOT be a place where you can archive your images - because there are other places where you can do that

Yesterday The Art of the Landscape ning community was converted to a site which is now PUBLIC in terms of its home page only.

As a result, despite the fact that this clearly indicates that membership is by invitation only at this stage, I'm now getting a number of applications to join the ning community.

These all need a response and I've had devise a standard response for people applying to join. I'm sending this out to everybody who applies - just so that I'm sure that people are clear that there will be a wait and that the focus is on art bloggers.

The last paragraph of the following applies to those who people who have not supplied either website or blog URL. I've also now changed the join-up form to indicate that blog and/or website URLs are required info.
Dear [name]

As stated in the introduction

Members are expected to be active participants - as either experienced artists, students of landscape art or people who teach landscape art. Initially members are being invited until a nucleus of active members are established."

As a result approval may take a little while - but you are now in the queue for approval.

Also, this forum is really for bloggers only (as there are other forums for people who want to discuss landscape art and/or post landscape paintings on the internet). It's primary purpose is NOT as a place where people can post their own art (ie that should be on their own blog).

Do you have a blog? If so what is its URL?

Katherine Tyrrell
Do let me know if you have any queries as that would be helpful to how I 'unfold' the rest of the plan for how this project works.

Finally - can I extend my thanks and appreciation to all the people who have
  • signed up as followers of this blog - which is a good way of keeping in touch with how this develops
  • subscribed to the blog via feedreader or email - both are excellent ways of keeping in touch with content on this blog
I'm knocked out by the support this project is getting and look forward to telling you all a bit more about it in the next few days.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Landscape Art - check out the blogroll

This blog's blogroll will focus on those blogs which are wholly or mainly dedicated to landscape art.

Apart from links to my own blogs, I've created a number of groups for various blogs which relate to landscape art:
  • Landscape Art - Tutors
  • Landscape art - Group activity (for group blogs and blogs of groups)
  • Landscape Art - Plein Air Groups
  • Landscape Art - Artist Blogs
  • Landscape Art - Sketching Blogs
  • Landscape Art - Art History
Why not check out the lists?

They're not complete - feel free to make suggestions for additions as a comment to this post. At this stage I'm aiming to keep the blogroll under active review and will be refining it as the project progresses.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Introducing the The Art of the Landscape Project

The Art of the Landscape is a project to develop learning about landscape art - past and present.

One of my goals for 2010 is to learn more about landscape art. This is now a project for me - and it's one which can be collaborative too.

What's involved?

  • art history: the development of landscape art - across time and in different countries and cultures;
  • art movements: different approaches to developing landscape art - in the studio and plein air; from observation and imagination
  • art instruction: different approaches to teaching and learning about landscape art
  • artists: learning more about famous landscape artists (past and present); and
  • drawing and painting: insights into developing your own landscape art; tips and rechniques
Where can I find it?

It has a blog and a ning site.
It's likely that this blog may become a group blog and/or will provide a round-up of links to other relevant blogs which are collaborating with the project.

Where can I find more information?

I'm also in the process of developing three 'resources for artists' sites. These will include links to the websites about artists past and present and the blogs of contemporary landscape artists.
  • (A history of ) Landscape Paintings
  • How to paint a landscape
  • The Best Books about Landscape Painting
These will be published in January and developed and constantly updated during the course of the project. Each site will have an RSS feed.

I'm also developing 'resources for art lovers' information sites about famous landscape artists.

Who can join?

If you just want to browse and read about landscape art then you'll find regular posts on this blog and/or links to other relevant sites.

If you want to become more involved, the ning community will have forum discussion (but is still being set up).
  • Members of the ning community are expected to be active rather than passive participants - as experienced artists, students of landscape art and/or people who teach landscape art.
  • Initially members are being invited until a nucleus of active members are established. Membership is also moderated and will be strictly limited to those genuinely interested in landscape art. Scammers/spammers need not apply and will not be tolerated.
If you'd like an invitation to join the project please leave a comment below and you'll be contacted once the project gets off the ground.

If you'd like to collaborate with the project please also leave a comment on this post.

You might also want to subscribe to this blog and/or follow it using Google Connect or Blogger.


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