Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice

by Mitchell Albala

©Watson-Guptill/Random House, 2009 | watsonguptill.com
Format: Hardcover, 192 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8230-3220-4 (0-8230-3220-5)
Price: $35
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Landscape Painting is now in its fifth printing with over 25,000 copies in print, and  is a top 20 seller at publisher Watson-Guptill. It is the #1 selling landscape book in Amercia with readers at Amazon.com giving it a 5-star rating. The book has received excellent reviews and has been called “a new classic of landscape art” (Katherine Tyrell, Making a Mark). It has graced the bookshelves at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Portland Art Museum, The National Gallery, Seattle Art Museum and The Frye Art Museum.

›› Reviews and Praise from Readers

›› Excerpt from Chapter 5: Simplification and Massing

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Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice by Mitchell AlbalaLandscape Painting is a comprehensive, genre-specific guide that focuses on the greatest challenges facing the landscape painter:

Simplification and Massing: Learn to reduce nature’s complexity by looking beneath the surface of a subject to discover the form’s basic masses and shapes.

Color and Light: Explore color theory as it specifically applies to landscape painting and learn the various strategies painters use to capture the illusion of natural light.

Selection and Composition: Learn how to compose with a limited focus and how to find the essential cues necessary to build an illusion of depth within your paintings.

The book’s essential lessons are drawn from the author’s 25 years of landscape painting experience and methods proven successful in his workshops held over the past twelve years at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. The book is richly illustrated with 230 diagrams, photographs, step-by-step demonstrations, and over 40 contemporary and classic paintings. Clearly written, practical, and inspirational this book is a serious companion for anyone getting started in the genre, as well as instructors or more experienced painters who want to improve their skills and explore new perspectives.

HOW IS LANDSCAPE PAINTING DIFFERENT?

The author covers many topics in depth that are only touched upon in other books or not covered at all:

  • Simplification and Massing, perhaps the most essential practice for landscape painting, is explored throughout, with examples, exercises, and demonstrations. Chapter 4 explore the concept fully with examples and demonstrations.
  • It is the first book to explore in detail, and in practical terms, the critical first step in composition — Site Selection. What visual cues are necessary to create an illusion of space within a two-dimensional painting? What types of subjects translate best into painting and what types of subjects should be avoided?
  • The chapter on Color and Light explores color theory as it specifically relates to landscape painting. Learn how value effects color identity and how it can be used to infuse your landscapes with an aura of natural light. Understand harmony, atmosphere, and the differences between naturalistic color and expressive color.
  • The book makes an authoritative and eloquent case for the contemporary underpainting (or “wipeout”)method — a highly effective and reliable technique for beginning a painting. With comprehensive step-by-step instructions.
  • A full chapter is devoted to Working with Photographs. What are the requirements for a good reference photo? What are the fatal “don’ts?” Learn how image editing software (such as Photoshop) can be used creatively to suggest ways of simplifying or understanding values.
  • A full chapter is devoted to the exciting area of Abstracting Nature. What is abstraction and how can the painter produce it?
  • Style, Inspiration and Lifelong Learning. The concluding chapter is devoted to the more personal aspects of one’s practice: The meaning of subject, honing one’s vision, style, dealing with frustration, and staying motivated and inspired.
Landscape Painting book by Mitchell Albala

Chapter 8, Color and Light, explores color theory as it specifically applies to landscape painting.

About the Author

Mitchell Albala is the author of Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill, 2009). Now in its fifth printing, it has sold almost 30,000 copies and is regarded as the "new classic of landscape." A respected teaching artist for more than 25 years, he currently teaches at Gage Academy of Art, Pacific Northwest Art School, artEast, and in 2015 Arte Umbria in Italy. He has also lectured at the Seattle Art Museum and written for International Artist and Artists & Illustrators magazines. He is represented by Lisa Harris Gallery. See his paintings at mitchalbala.com.