WATERCOLOR LANDSCAPE

WATERCOLOR LANDSCAPE PAINTINGS CONTAIN TWO DISTINCT TYPES OF FEATURES

LINEAR FEATURES

Linear features guide the eye into around and out of the watercolor landscape . They also lead the eye to the center of interest. Any continuous unbroken line or shape can be considered a linear feature.

Roads, tracks etc..
Fences
Creeks, rivers
Groups of buildings, trees, animals etc.
Horizon lines
Edges of hills, clouds, shadows etc.

SPOT FEATURES

Spot features act as punctuation marks throughout the watercolor. They create the center of interest and are used to provide a balance for it. Spot features can also be used to stop the eye running out of the painting.

Buildings
Trees, bushes
People
Animals
Rocks

Tuscan Landscape

In this example the tree profiles in the foreground, mountain edge and fence lines are linear features and control the movement of the eye into and around the painting. The buildings, distant trees and random abstract shapes make up the spot features. They establish the center of interest and provide a balance for it. The watercolor accents and strong tonal contrast at the center of interest hold attention in that area

 

Wetland Landscape

The hard edges where the land meet the water, establish the horizontal and oblique linear features that lead into, and frame the center of interest. Spot features are provided by the trees, bushes and fence posts. Notice how the foreground bush at the junction of the waters edge and fence line, holds the eye from running down the oblique line and out of the painting. The strong tonal contrast and surrounding warm colors, create a focal point in the area of the large tree. All the major linear features lead the eye to this point.

It helps to consider landscape subjects as an arrangement of spot and linear features when working out you composition. Shuffling these features around to form a satisfactory composition, rather than simply copying what is in front of you, will result in a much more satisfying painting. Initial planning also ensures that the white areas, so important in a watercolor landscape painting, can be placed in the correct areas.

JOHN LOVETT 1997

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