Imagine standing on a mountain top. As you turn your head you can see a wonderful view. It is breathtaking and beautiful. You feel inspired to pick up your brush and paint what you see … but there is so much. Where do you begin?
This is what makes art difficult to do … there is so much choice. If you try to draw and paint everything you see you are doomed to fail. You can not possibly reproduce it all.
As you stand in front of your canvas ready to paint you should focus on the main subject. It could be anything that takes your interest … it could be a single block of stone or a waterfall … it could be a mountain goat or a bird of prey.
Focus on what you think is going to be important. Eliminate anything that will distract the eye. Put in all the detail your subject describes to make it look real. Leave everything else flat and plain to bring your subject forward. All else is unimportant, other than to frame and give meaning to your subject.
* When the rough shape of background hills can be represented by a single block of flat-toned gray-blue … why add more?
* When a strip of sky color can be used as a river meandering in the valley bottom … is not that enough?
* When a forest o trees can be painted with a single brushstroke of dark-green … why do more?
In 3 stages you can create a sense of distance …
* The main subject and foreground details need plenty of detail … Color can be vibrant and contrast levels sharp.
* For middle distance requires less detail … the color tones and contrast should be muted and less sharp.
* Far distant hills and scenery lose texture. It can be produced with the sketchiest of outlines, needing flat color tones of grays or sky colors.
Typically, oils and acrylic paints are great for close-up detail and texture. Watercolors are better to learn the level of tone and detail for distance painting.
It does not matter what you choose to draw or paint with. The key to good artwork is to focus on the main subject … everything else should be removed without it adds and supports.