Next to peoples faces, landscapes are the most popular subjects in paintings. Some people find landscapes boring but I don't.  I look for a subject that has a naturally good composition and begin there.  These grotto stairs I painted in watercolor are a good example of structure and composition.  The light in a landscape is particularly important.  Unlike a still life, you have to wait for the best sunlight on a subject.  In a landscape, the lighting may not be correct until evening or morning.  You may have to wait.  In some cases you might have to wait until the right season when the color or the angle of the sun works best on the subject.  This is why a landscape painter or photographer must travel - not just for variety but for timing and color.

We lived in Oregon for many years and moved to Nebraska for work.  Nebraska has a lot of beauty of its own but not much variety in land forms.  That is why I chose wildflowers for a landscape subject. Color. The next best thing to lighting and form is color.  One get's tired of green in the summer so look for something that pops.  Wildflowers pop!  And they can change the color of an entire scene.  There is also the matter of scale.  Should you choose, your landscape can be painted or photographed from one foot away instead of 1000 feet.  The change of scale offers an infinite opportunity for composition.


A truly fascinating aspect of landscapes (and all art) is perspective.  It's everywhere.  It's mostly visible in man-made objects like bridges, buildings and even dams.  I'm combining engineering and art in my paintings with two featured projects, Niobrara RR Bridge and Gavins Point Dam.

Grotto Stairs
Lily of the Valley