When seeking out inspiration for landscape painting ideas, there are a rich variety of elements to consider. As landscapes can be grand or intimate, naturalistic or stylized.
How you approach your landscape painting will likely depend a lot on your personal aesthetic. Along with, the time and place you are painting and what you want to achieve.
In this article, you’ll find several different themed landscape paintings for inspiration. As well as helpful tips (and resources) to get started with a landscape painting of your own!
Contents of this Article
- Landscape Painting Ideas with Close-Up Subject Matter
- Landscape Paintings with (Spacial) Depth
- Landscape Painting Ideas with Muted Colors
- Dark Landscape Paintings with High Contrast
- Light Landscape Paintings with Low Contrast
- Night Scene Landscape Painting Ideas
- Landscape Tutorials to Help You Get Started
Landscape Painting Ideas with Close-Up Subject Matter
One of the simplest landscape painting ideas is to choose a single element from the scene and focus on it. This could be a tree, a building, or even a person. By isolating your subject, you are allowing yourself to zero in on a specific subject matter in the landscape. This can help to create a more focused and intimate painting.
The above painting by Corot is an example of a close up view of trees in a landscape painting. Although this painting does not focus on one single tree, it does focus on trees as the painting’s main subject.
You can explore many different ways of creating more close up landscape paintings. What you choose will largely depend on what kind of outdoor environment you paint in.
If you’re in an urban setting, you may want to focus on painting streetlights, storefronts, or other cityscape elements. If you’re in a more rural area, you could focus on painting a barn, a field of flowers, or even a winding country road.
Landscape Paintings with (Spacial) Depth
Another landscape painting idea is to focus on creating a sense of depth in your painting so that you have a vast expanse of space. This can be done by using a variety of techniques, including perspective, layering, and atmospheric effects.
One way to create depth in your landscape painting is by using perspective. This is the technique of creating an illusion of distance by making objects appear smaller the further they are from the viewer. You can create perspective in your painting by using a vanishing point. Which is a point on the horizon where all of the lines in your painting seem to converge.
Another way to create depth in your landscape painting is with value and color temperature. Lighter values tend to recede back in space, while darker values tend to come forward. In addition, cooler colors tend to recede back in space while warmer colors tend to come forward. You can use these techniques to create a sense of depth and distance in your landscape painting.
Landscape Painting Ideas with Muted Colors
Muted colors surround us everywhere in our natural world. Which is also why they are absolutely essential and important when it comes to landscape painting!
The grand canyon is a great example of the importance of muted colors. For the most part it is very monochromatic with lots of reddish colors. Some of the spots of red are much brighter than the more muted surrounding colors. However those bright red areas would never stand out unless it were for the muted tones that surround it.
Muted colors help create dynamic landscapes. Make use of complementary colors to create a range of muted tones that will create great depth and complexity in your work.
Dark Landscape Paintings with High Contrast
Another landscape painting idea is to focus on creating a dark and moody painting. This can be done by using high contrast light and dark values, as well as cool colors. If you want to really lean into the dark moodiness of your landscape painting. You can paint a dark grey overcast and/or stormy sky.
In the painting above by Prince Eugen Duke of Närke, we see a dark landscape painting with high contrast. The land area of the painting is quite dark in value, while the sky is much lighter. It has very high contrast values and stands out quite strongly because of this.
The next time a storm comes rolling in or you have dramatic weather. You can take the opportunity to observe the outdoors in your area and paint a dark high contrast landscape!
Light Landscape Paintings with Low Contrast
In contrast, you could also focus on painting a light and airy landscape. This can be done by using a low contrast of light and dark values, as well as warm or cool colors.
A light landscape painting is perfect for those days when the sun is shining and there’s not a lot of clouds in the sky. The light values will help to create a sense of space and airiness.
You can also create a light value landscape in cloudy weather conditions like the John Constable painting below. The key is to not have a lighting situation with high contrast values. Autumnal seasons are great for seeking out fall painting ideas that often contain these types of conditions.
Night Scene Landscape Painting Ideas
Another idea for painting landscapes is to focus on painting a nocturnal scene. This can involve a number of different elements such as, painting stars in a night sky, streetlights, silhouettes and more!
Painting a night scene can be quite challenging, but it can also be very rewarding. To get started, you’ll want to look at other artist’s depictions of nocturnal scenes. This will help you to envision what you might want to paint.
Because we are much more accustomed to landscape paintings portrayed in daylight. It can be more challenging to know how to approach a night time painting…
To start out, above is a beautiful nocturnal landscape painting scene by Józef Pankiewicz. It is so dark that you can barely make out what is depicted in the painting. The subject matter truly is the darkness of the night. We can make out water reflections and the title helps us to understand that the three white masses in front are swans.
The night landscape painting below by Whistler is very different from the one above. As it isn’t as dark and has a more romantic and lyrical depiction of a nocturnal landscape. It has a beautiful range of different blues and a soft night sky.
Landscape Tutorials to Help You Get Started
The most important part of painting is to put your thoughts and ideas into action. Once you are inspired by a landscape painting idea then get started painting!
Landscape painting guides for you:
- Follow how to paint a english countryside in this step-by-step landscape tutorial
- If you are beginning out, here are landscape painting tips to help as you get started.
- Clouds can be essential to vast landscape scenes – here’s a tutorial that will show you what you need to know for how to paint clouds!
To get further ideas, take a look at good landscape paintings by others. This will help to further stimulate your mind to generate more landscape painting ideas!