What I learned while painting a landscape

Painting a landscape can be elusive. It should capture a feeling of a place, more than anything else, in my humble opinion. I want to see a landscape and connect to it. I want it to take me somewhere. Maybe this is why I love impressionist landscapes so much?!

I knew I wanted to paint something for the wall above our fireplace, but wasn’t sure what. First, I tried looking at pieces that inspired me and local landscape photos in WA. I thought I wanted it to feel like a vintage paint by number. As you can see below, I did some color blocking. But, it didn’t feel right.

To me, this landscape felt forced and something was off. I liked parts of this piece, but it was disjointed and had too much going on.

So, I started over.

I washed it out with white and cream and after seeing some inspiring landscapes at a gallery in Bow-Edison, WA – I decided to lower the point of horizon.

As I was painting, my son came into the room and I gave him the brush. We did some of it together. He was smiling when he was pushing the yellow paint around on the bottom. That was the quality of day I wanted to capture! I was getting it to a place where I could feel the quality of the kind of day I wanted to hang up on my wall: a warm spring day.

After I took the brush back, I added the blue water at the bottom. Then, he told me to add flowers and blue to the sky. His 5 year old input was so right! I listened to him and thought “what the hell, it’s just paint! if I don’t like it, I can do it again!”

What I learned by making this piece: you don’t have to be scared to try. How you feel is valuable. And also – listen to your kid. They are full of good ideas!

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