How to Paint Landscapes with Depth

When learning how to paint landscapes, one of the goals is to create an illusion of space by increasing the sense of depth. If you have ever felt like you could walk into a painting, you know what I'm talking about.

Here are a few tips that will show you how to paint landscape paintings with greater depth.

  1. Overlap shapes- By placing various elements on top of others, you can make some of them come forward and others recede. You can even “edit” the scene you are painting to make things overlap that don't actually do so. Use that artistic license to modify the composition and emphasize the three dimensionality of the view.

    Overlapping the shapes creates a sense of distance.

    How to Paint Landscapes-overlapping

  2. Vary textures – Add more details to shapes in the foreground, and use less texture for shapes in the middle distance and the background. Objects nearest the viewers should have the most definition.

  3. Follow the rule of aerial perspective The vapor in the atmosphere veils the remote elements in landscapes. It creates tones that are lighter and more dull. Color contrast is also sharply reduced.

    Don't make the mountains or the horizon line as sharp or as bright as the shapes in middle/foreground. If you do, it flattens your painting.

  4. Use cool colors for distant objects - Mix cooler colors to make elements recede into the background. Related to the aerial perspective approach, this is a tried and true principle that landscape artists use to increase the sense of depth in paintings.

  5. Use warm colors for nearer objects – The converse of the previous rule is that you can use warmer and darker colors to thrust elements forward. This doesn't mean that red or orange colors will always come forward in the pictures, but as a general rule, it works pretty well.

  6. Remember perspective – Make sure you reduce the size of compositional elements in the distance. Middle and the foreground elements should be sized appropriately larger.

    Creating an illusion of depth is one way to spruce up your landscape paintings. Many of the same principles are also applied to other subjects such as still life or figures.

    Mastering Color - click here for more info.

    Mastering Composition
    Learn how to create a strong design in your paintings.

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