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Landscape Composition & Design Tips For Watercolor Beginners

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Step 6: Final Tips On Landscape Composition And Design

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Finally, Steve breaks down the landscape composition and value pattern of a previous painting of a waterfall. The textures in the rocks, the bluish spray of the waterfall, the shadows of the trees, and the vibrant colors were all captured with the naked eye. He also chose a vertical (i.e. “portrait”) composition instead of a horizontal (i.e. “landscape”) one to focus on the length and majesty of the waterfall. In the same way, once you decide on your subject matter, it will be easier for you to compose your painting in a more efficient manner.

There’s no denying that landscape composition and design will eventually define the success of your watercolor painting. There are 3 ways to go about it: without any planning, with too much planning, or with a basic plan that allows for flexibility. Like preparing for a vacation, you want to go with the third option, where you have a basic structure but leave room for different possibilities. This means your landscape composition acts as the backbone of your painting, while aspects like lighting and what colors to use can be decided while you paint and experiment. You’ll have more freedom, and get a more interesting painting without messing up the basic design.

Once you’ve got these principles down, keep practicing, and apply to all your future painting endeavors!