How to add Depth to Your Mountains in Acrylic Landscape Painting

Depth perception is important, especially when you are painting some landscape images. Landscape painting can be hard, especially when you are doing a recreation of real-life mountain backgrounds. Regardless of the source, mountains and mountain backgrounds tend to look blueish- greyish from a distance. 

A hill could be covered entirely in tall green trees but will still appear blueish or greyish or purple from a distance; whether you are looking through your camera lenses or though your naked eye. The key to making it appear real like this in your painting is by creating a sense of distance and depth in your landscape painting.

How aerial perspective affect landscape painting

What is aerial perspective – it is the optical effect on objects by the atmosphere when you view them from a distance.A good example I how mountain range appears blue as even when covered with green and continues to grow lighter the further you move from that point.

This is caused by so many factors but mainly by the air in the atmosphere. It contains several impurities that act as a filter and also stop some wavelengths of light from reaching the eye or camera lenses.

This is what gives the illusion of lower color value and the color change. Keep in mind that cools colors get filtered so easily which is why mountains look blueish from a distance.

Effect of aerial perspective on land painting

Change on color – As mentioned, aerial perspective can cause a change in color; typically, things tend to appear in a different color from different aerial perspectives

A change in tone – From this perspective, you can see the difference in more than just the color. the atmosphere affects the tone of the mountains and hills as well.

The tone is basically how light or dark the areas of the landscape appear through your eye of camera lenses.  The changes in mountains and landscape images are most noticeable on the dark contours and tones.

The lines – it is also very useful to remember that the smoothness and intensity of the lines will change. Typically, they get very blurry and hard to notice. On landscape images of hills and mountains, you notice the margin separating the mountain from the sky is blurry and unsharp.

Points to remember when painting landscape images

Increasing the distance between you and the mountain creates a decrease in contrast between the background which is mostly usually the sky and the mountain.

Also, the colors will start becoming less intense and disappear into the background (the sky) this explains why the furthest mountains look bluish, purple of greyish. Increasing the distance only makes the color change effect even more pronounced.

The dark tones are more altered than light tones when it comes to aerial perspective. For instance, dark green trees will have more color and tone change when compared o light green.

Basically, the further away you move from the landscape, the less detailed it will be in your eyes or in the eyes of a camera lens.

5 Landscape painting tips for beginners

Landscape painting can be complex or simple depending on the technique and how you want it to appear. Landscaping has been around for quiet some time but not many artists can actually capture the essence of all art pieces. 

Here are beginner rules that will help you get better at landscape painting 

Reduce the clutter on your canvas

As an artist, it is easy to get caught up in the detail of the landscape, especially towards the end of your painting process. In most cases, chances are you are going to ruin the painting. It is better and more effective to emphasize some bits of the painting and leave the other parts to the imagination of the art lover.

The best technique if by emphasizing the focal points. You can do this by; using brighter colors on your focal points and using saturated colors around that area. Other techniques involve using more delicate brushwork at the focal point as compared to the rest of the painting and creating a sharp contrast in colors throughout the whole painting. 

When you place your focus on a certain area on the painting it gathers together in a beautiful harmony. It basically does this by dewing attention away from the shadows on the foreground and placing emphasis on the high key background of your painting.

Ad texture and crisp edges to your painting using the pallet knife

Palette knives are a fine addition to your painting tools. While many artists use them for color mixing alone, you can use the knife to complete your landscape image. You can do a complete painting with a pallet knife depending on the theme you are going for. With pallets knifes, you can easily add crisp edges to the painting.

Create a subtle variation of colors

Two problems many beginners face when it comes to landscape painting are; not creating enough variations between the colors or using too many dark or light colors on the same landscape painting.

In reality, landscape paintings are not done with complex color compositions. You need simple harmony of green, blue and earthy colors. Creating a subtle variation of this colors will ensure the painting does not end up looking too monotonous.

You need to create colors with varying temperatures, tones and values to break up large plain colors on the painting. Don’t try and add variance just for the sake.

Color temperature should be relative

The color temperature is basically its warmth or coolness on a scale. Examples of warm colors like orange, reds and yellow while cool colors include blue and green. But you should not think of color temperatures as block or absolute shades. This is because you can mix both warm and cool temperatures to make the color cooler or warmer.

Final word

Landscaping is easy, its all just a mic of colors, shapes and lines. This goes for almost any type of paintings. When painting your own landscape image, picture the shapes, lines and colors rather than the elements in the scene.

Painting rules and when you should break them

You would think that rules in art should not exist because artists need to be expressive, free and loose but that is not the reality. While an artist has free will to express themselves as they wish through their painting, there are endless rules involved. While some of the rules may be helpful, some may restrict you from reaching your potential.

Here are some strict painting rules and when you should break them

Painting from light to dark

When painting solid blacks, you want them to look very relatively dark which means you should not add any white to it. this is because white will make the dark colors look chalky and cloudy. Keeping out the white also gives you a fresher look. Keep in mind that lightening a color is much easier than darkening one.

This rule, however, does not have to apply always. For some landscape images, and pictures that need shadows, you can paint using dark colors slightly over the light colors.

Never use black

It is a common rule among many artists. Most believe that they should not use pre-mixed black paint generally when painting.  Black pigments have a way of making the paintings look boring and flat. If you do not need to, you should not mix colors with dark ones.  If you mix your dark colors made from combinations of other colors, you will end up with a more vibrant painting.

You can real this rule by mixing colors with chromatic black. This is a more transparent black that allows you to mix them without making them dull.

Cool shadows, warm lights and vice versa

This is a hard and fast rule that every artist can always count on.  The light source should be warm and the shadows are always cool.

However, you do not always have to paint the shadows cool and light source warm. When there are reflections, the light bounces off one surface to another affecting the shadows due to color change. This means that an object can have a warm light source as well as a warm shadow and vice versa. Painting with highly reflective colors

Use cool colors to make objects recede into the distance

This rule is basically as is. It suggests that only cool colors work best for receding objects in paintings. This rule does not always work because of different light perceptions during different times of the day. for instance, in the evening, shadows formed by objects and objects at a distance are usually the warmest.

Close objects should be thick and distant objects should be thin

While this rule is a basic for art beginners, the width of an objects is really up to the artist. both thin and thick can work at any distance. For instance, when you are painting a forest, or trees from a distance, there will be patches of cloud and sky that appear between them. You are free to use thick or thin colors for the sky as long as you use the right color temperature and value.

Final word

As an artist, you are free to implement your own rules and techniques when creating your art pieces as long as they turn out great.