A few months ago, I was randomly reading articles on BBC News when I happened to stumble across this really interesting one about a group of comic artists who have each made a postcard inspired by part of the Lake District in order to raise funds for both an art festival and for charity.
Anyway, the article contains pictures of some of the postcards and they’re really interesting because of the different ways that the artists each see the same place. There are majestically bleak grey landscapes, steampunk scenes and cute cartoons – but they were all inspired by the same place.
Landscape painting can get a bad rap sometimes – after all, you’re just painting somewhere that people have seen before. You’re painting a pre-existing location. It can be easy to think of landscape painting as being something slightly old-fashioned, boring and impersonal – but you couldn’t be further from the truth.
One of the great things about painting landscapes is that you get to interpret your favourite places (in my case, this is often Aberystwyth) in your own unique way. Unlike a photograph, a painting is created entirely from scratch and this means that you can make all sorts of creative decisions that photographers can only dream of.
For example, do you want to draw and paint a giant punk tortoise emerging from the coast near Aberystwyth? No? Well, I did:
Likewise, have you ever wondered what Aberystwyth pier would look like if it had been drawn by the famous 18th/19th century Japanese artist Katsushika Hokusai? Nope? Well, you’ve probably guessed, but I did last year:
But, apart from adding giant animals to your landscapes or copying the styles of famous artists, there are lots of other more subtle things you can do in order to give your landscape paintings a sense of having a personality.
You can use a distinctive colour scheme, you can set your landscape paintings at a particular time of day (sunsets are my favourite) or you can include a particular type of weather in many of your paintings (gloomy weather, in my case).
In fact, you don’t even have to include any colours at all – like this rare never seen before “work in progress” version of a painting of a pub/club in Aberystwyth, that I originally posted here about a week and a half ago:
But, most of all, if you really want to make somewhere your own in your art, you need to develop your own unique art style.
There are many ways of doing this, such as practicing a lot and taking inspiration from lots of other artists (so that you have a unique mixture of influences) but – if you develop your own unique “style”, then it’s a lot easier to give your paintings and drawings of real places a lot more “personality”.
Sorry for the short article, but I hope that it was interesting 🙂