This scene is from the Kamo River in Kyoto Japan. As with all landscapes and street scenes we want to show a sense of space with distant shapes receding and foreground shapes coming forward in either subtle or dramatic ways. Cooler lighter values recede, darker warmer values come forward. Starting with simple washes that are linked, silhouetted shapes helps reduce the clutter of too much detail in the distance. Detail causes attention and we want to avoid drawing the eye in, unless that’s our goal. Once we have determined where we’d like the focal point to be (our discretion as long as it’s in a pleasing balanced location) we can dramatize the area with value and color.
It’s remarkable how effective a simple limited palette works to our advantage. With 3 primary colors we gain all the secondaries and tertiaries, however even better is the gorgeous “neutrals” that develop in the palette – browns and greys that harmonize with all the colors in your painting.
The final detail marks we make with our brushes are “signature” marks, the way we use the brush in our own distinct ways. When they are used in brief, descriptive ways without too much labored effort they are the icing on the cake. It is surprising how simple you can keep things right up to the end and finish off with these “calligraphy” marks.
How To – Perspective, Values, Color & Shapes Simplified in Landscapes
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