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How to Abstract the Landscape - Part 1

I’ve had numerous requests to blog about techniques I use to create abstract landscapes. There are several methods an artist can try but this is probably my favourite.

Here is one I’ve done recently and the step by step process.

  1. Choose a landscape photo, preferably one you’ve taken yourself and feel a connection to.

This is one below that I took at the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It has some great shapes , shadows, reflections and both horizontal and diagonal lines that will add interest.

Walking beside the ocean with water reflections and strong cloud formation in the blue sky
Beach walk Sunshine Coast Queensland

  1. I uploaded this image into Procreate on my iPad. You can still follow the steps but use another programme or draw straight from the photo into a visual diary. Whatever works best for you.

  2. After loading it into Procreate, I create a new layer before I begin drawing. See below.

  1. Loosely sketch in the shapes and lines. Look for a selection of large , medium and small shapes and a variety of directional lines . Keep it loose and don’t add too many small shapes as they tend to get lost once you begin the painting part.

  2. Next open the layers and untick the photo layer. This will leave you with just the pencil lines.

  1. This becomes the basis for you composition. Decide at this point where the focus or centre of interest will be.

  2. I always use the Rule of Thirds. Divide the image into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Where the lines cross are where you can place the focal point. See below.

  1. The focal point is where I want to draw the viewers eye to. To do that I use light. I keep this area light filled with large shapes and have small shapes in colour.

  2. I can also use line to direct the eye.

  3. Now it’s time to work out what colour palette I want to use and to do that it helps to have in my mind what it is I want to say or project through the painting. Ask yourself questions:

    • Am I wanting to reflect a certain emotion? What did I feel when I took this photo? Where was I, what was I doing?

    • Is it all about colour? Was it the colours that caught my eye and inspired me?

Thanks for reading!

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