Let’s talk about drawing landscapes

By Yasodhara Pathanjali 


And it’s Sunday again. Another lovely week of painting for me. I’m getting closer and closer, little by little, to having all the paintings ready for my next exhibition. It’s a lot of work preparing more than 20 paintings to get ready for the show. And there’s other work to be done too, like writing descriptions of the paintings and what the meaning behind each work, or the series, is. Let’s hope that I am ready by the date. 

What was your week like? Did you enjoy our Live session on Friday, when we talked about drawing from our emotions and how to express them? It’s a very good skill to have and can help you a lot when you are older. Try keeping a journal of just colours representing how you feel. It’ll be so beautiful to look at when the year is finished. 

Today, I want to talk about drawing landscapes. Do you know what that means? Landscape painting refers to when we draw the scenery that we can see, or that we can imagine. So this is when we paint the sea, mountains, trees, forests, jungles, etc. Landscape painting very rarely includes any humans, and if it does include people, it tends to be from a distance and without too much detail or focus. For instance, if we are painting a paddy field setting, then having a farmer in the field or resting close by will be fine. Basically in landscape painting, the focus or the importance is of nature and the way the scene looks. 

Landscape also refers only to natural scenery. If you want to paint a city or urban scene, that’s called cityscapes. And that’s a whole other conversation!!

If you ask most people about painting or drawing a landscape, they will tell you to focus on the details. Put a tree here, the sky there, some grass here, maybe a lake in a corner. Something like that. But in reality, painting a landscape is actually not so much about the accuracy of your drawing. As we talked about last week, it is again about the emotion, and about movement. When we think of landscapes, generally the sun is very important, and by that I mostly mean sunlight. You have seen how sunrises and sunsets add so many different colours to a scene. Even in my garden some days around 6 p.m., the whole garden and sometimes the inside of my house is orange coloured from the setting sun. Sometimes it’s greenish or purplish. These different colours and the way that the shadows fall, create emotion. It can be soothing, beautiful, magical, creepy, exciting; it could be many things. So have a good think about the kind of feeling that you want to show in your landscape. 

Then next is movement. When you are walking in the park or countryside next time, have a real think about the movement there. It could be from the wind blowing through the trees, the grass, or the paddy fields. It could be the movement of water in a stream, lake, or river. There is always movement in any scene, so think of it and identify it. 

So next time you are doing a landscape drawing, have a really good think on what the emotion of that scene is and what the movement is too. Then start to add it with brush strokes or colours, see how you can set the mood. This will make your landscapes so much better, because it will be saying something to the person who looks at it. 

Come watch me, Anuradha, and Indumathi draw different kinds of landscapes on Friday. None of us have drawn many landscapes, so it’ll be fun to learn at the same time as you. It’s so important to keep learning all the time and trying new things. So don’t forget – Friday at 3 p.m. on Little Stars – The Sunday Morning Facebook page. And email me any drawings to