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Painting Landscapes: Digitally and on Canvas

Updated on April 15, 2018
Night time sky March 2018
Night time sky March 2018 | Source

Deciding on colors

The way you use your colors make a big difference on the whole picture. It sets the mood and gives it life! Knowing between your cool colors and your warm colors, are important depending on the style of painting you're going for! Have you ever seen a lime-green sky? Landscape paintings can be abstract as well, that just depends on your preference!

What are warm/cool colors?

Warm colors usually mean reds, oranges, and pinks (bright colors)

Cool colors are mostly darker colors like blues, purples, and grays.

Things to know before painting the landscape

When it comes to broadening your artistic skills. There is always room to improve and learn as you go!

Nothing is more frustrating than when you have a blank canvas in front of you and you have no idea what you want to do.

  • Decide on some colors to use for your sky, blending is where you make it unique.
  • Knowing what brush or tool to use is the key to getting the best result.
  • When making a landscape painting, the most important thing to remember is to start with the background and work your way to the fore ground. That will give it a bit of a 3-dimensional look.
  • After you get your sky laid out, that's when you drop in your mountains, water, grass, etc. Use more than one color to bring out the depth in the painting. Dark colors for shadowing and brighter colors for highlights.
  • Under the middle layer of your painting, you take a 2 inch brush and pull the paint straight down, this will create a reflective water view. To color the water you created, use the same colors as the sky and blend it in.
  • For the bottom half of the painting, you can throw in more grass and trees or blend out for a further water effect.
  • All of these layers help your painting become more than just a painting, It gives it structure and more of a life-like scenery.

Digital painting 2018
Digital painting 2018 | Source

How to blend a sky on canvas

  1. Put globs of color of your choice onto a pallet.
  2. Use a decent sized paint brush to smear color on the top half of the blank canvas.
  3. Make sure to rinse your brush in water to choose other colors to blend with (be creative).
  4. Once you have all the colors laid out and still wet, take a 2 inch brush and blend by using "x" motions
  5. Now you can get creative with cloud colors. To do so, use a fan brush and swivel the corner of the brush around to the size, shape and placement of your desired clouds.

Review and brushes

As mentioned before, you want to start with the background! You begin with the sky and work your way down the canvas/screen, that will bring the extra dimension needed for the structural part of it.

Brushes always play a part in landscape paintings on canvas especially; hair thin ones for tiny details, thick ones for wider objects such as tree trunks and buildings, 2-inch brushes are for blending ("X" motions and side to side strokes). Fan brushes are used for pine trees, leaves and clouds (only using a corner of the brush). When you want leaves, you simply just tap it gently along the branches. To paint fluffy clouds, you want to swirl the fan brush around until you get the desired size and shape you want, the only time you blend differently is with clouds (you want to swipe upward on the cloud with the 2-inch brush to fluff it up and then use side to side strokes for the movement motion and fading in the sky).

Acrylic Painting 2012
Acrylic Painting 2012 | Source

Digital painting

Digital paintings are the hardest to get used to because the colors are bright and the quality just seems too cartoon like. Tips to have fun and make the most of it.

  1. Start out with an app on a tablet for painting (example: Fresh paint, sketch, etc.).
  2. If it's a good app, it will have canvas textures as well as options to use certain brushes and tools with pallets etc.
  3. Treat it like you are painting on a canvas with less mess and easy clean up. The only difference is that it's more like finger painting. An app that I use let's me choose the thickness of the brush.
  4. Start applying the random choice of colors to your sky. Once those colors are where you want them put in the cloud color too (don't worry about shape); pick the fan brush, clean it off, chose the close to the thickest setting but not all the way and start to smear the colors all around the sky (clouds and all).
  5. If it's not turning out how you like, you can always hit the back button and correct your mistakes.

Digital paintings have become my newest art hobby because I can get more than one finished in a day and I'm not spending money on canvases or replacing dried and clumpy brushes!

Having Confidence in your art

There is no such thing as bad art! Whatever you choose to do will be a masterpiece all on its own. As long as you remember to have fun doing it, mistakes can be covered and something else can go in its place! All art is beautiful and should not be criticized!

Finding art talent in yourself

"You never know until you try"

Once an artist realizes they can draw or paint, they want to expand their horizons and test their limits. If you become an artist to make money, it becomes more of a time consuming job than when you first started and loved it. These tips and tricks will get you back into loving what you do as well as making painting faster.

Art preference

What is yours?

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Digital Painting 2018
Digital Painting 2018 | Source

Can anyone be great at it?

Painting takes patience and willingness to learn! If you are sure that it's something you want to do, it'll come easy. Follow the steps provided and you might find yourself with a portfolio as big as mine, if not bigger!


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    • Leland Johnson profile image

      Leland Johnson 7 days ago from Midland MI


      I love your artwork! I've always wanted to try my hand at painting, but it seems intimidating to me for exactly the reasons you mentioned. You've inspired me to give it a try digitally because I have a new laptop that came with a drawing utensil. Also, my wife and I found a new coffee shop where we live that features canvases and paint supplies for purchase- you can make art right there in the shop while enjoying coffee! Very well presented article. Keep up the good work. I look forward to seeing more of it.

    • Leigha Havard profile image

      Leigha Havard 7 days ago from Christiana

      I learned my landscape technique from artists on YouTube, It's actually pretty easy once you get it down!