Sunday, June 13, 2010

Reflections on landscape painting

When we paint a lnandscape on location, what we do ? We first paint the sky. Then we come to mid or fore-ground . We look at the tree and paint it. Then we look at the house on the left and paint it . Then we move to a car parked on the road and paint it and so on. This way we complete our landscape. In this process we are constantly shifting our attention from one object to another, from one focal point to another. We do not paint the totality but paint several focal ponits. Actually there should be only one focal point in a picutre. When we look at the tree we don't notice the branches . We don't see the details unless we want to. It is the totality that we should paint and not different objects individually.
What do you think?


  1. I agree with you completely Sir, although it is very difficult. I have read somewhere that one should look at the focal point when painting the focal point and one should continue to look only at the focal point when paining everything else around it. I have also read and experienced myself that looking at the subject with half closed eyes can help eliminate the unnecessary detail. Do you approve of such techniques Sir? Please give us your valuable opinion on this.
    Thanks and best wishes.

  2. When you look with half closed eyes you can make out the value differencs, But it is not necessary. When you look at your focal point it has its image on fovea, the central part of the retina where you get the clarest image. The objects on both the sides cast their images in the peripheal region of retina and hence they are devoid of details. hence painting the near objects on both right and left in details also is incorrect . It should be like Arjuna's concentrating on bird's eye.

  3. In which book did you read this view? I have read so many books on landscape painting and still continue, but I have not seen this thing explained in any book . I often visit libraries and book depots here in US. If you remember the book pl. let me know.A few years back I had given a demo at Pune i expained this and it was new to them. Whenever I go to Pune and meet my artist friends and fellow artists I explain many things which I have learnt through experience. These are new to them and not found in any book. I am a self taught artist and have learnt these thing through years experience. I am going to share with readers of this blog.

  4. I think I have read about looking at the centre of interest even when painting the surrounding objects either in a book called "watercolor fix it book" or "painting with the white of your paper", both by tony van hasselt.
    As regards looking at the subject with half closed eyes, I have read at nummerous places about Richard Schmid practising it. He calls it the "squint". I think he has explained it in his book "Alla Prima: All I know about painting". It is available on his website
    I hope you shall be able to locate the books and give us a better understanding of these concepts.
    Thank you Sir.

  5. I have read those two books.They are by Judy Wagner and Tony van Hasselt. I will go through again.
    In half closed eyes the amount of light is reduced to minium, hence colours almost disappear and we see everything in achromatic scale. This ia necessary to know the values of different objects. Once you know the value differences you can start painting as usual.

  6. es Sir, and for novices like me it is often dificult to know what detail must me included and what must be omitted to get the spontaneous look that you achieve so well in your paintings. Richard Schmid seems to be getting around this problem by using his "squint" that he describes in Alla Prima. I really wish some day I may be able to paint like you Sir.
    Thanks for this post and please do give us your insightful ideas about the different aspects of painting. Its always so good when advice comes from the master.
    Best wishes.

  7. If one has urge to learn it is not very difficult.For watercolor daily practie is a must. It is not necessary to go every time to a location. If you have visited a spot some time back paint the same in different color schemes. Imagne light cominng from a different direction. Shadow pattern will change. Paint the same hut changing the angle. Even if it doesnt come upto your expectation dont feel disheartened. the efforts you have put in will not be wasted. they will certainly add to your skill,