This post features 7 colorful landscape paintings to hopefully spark your inspiration, as they have done for me.
In these paintings, the dominant feature is color rather than composition, value, brushwork or any other element. It is actually very challenging to pull off a painting where color is the dominant feature because if you are not careful you may end up with a jarring clash of color which appears unnatural and overdone.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy these paintings. If you know of any other colorful landscape paintings which have inspired you, please let me know in the comments.
Vincent van Gogh
The first artist that comes to mind when I think of colorful landscapes is of course Vincent van Gogh. He is famous for his bold colors and expressive brushwork. Whilst his paintings may not be the most realistic (rarely do you get so much color in a landscape), you can really feel the energy of the subjects through his paintings.
In the painting below he used extremely saturated yellows for the sky – something few artists would ever consider doing, let alone pull off. He balanced the strong yellows against relatively less saturated blues, greens and oranges. The colors seem to vibrate so strong that it becomes almost nauseating to look at after awhile.
This is one of my favorite landscapes by Isaac Levitan. Some things to note from this painting are:
- The gradual decrease in saturation from the foreground to the background. This gives a sense of depth in the painting.
- The use of blues in the shadows, which is typical of many landscape scenes.
- The interesting combination of vivid greens and soft reds/pinks.
This is a beautiful painting by Henri Martin which demonstrates the pointillist style. This style can produce a stunning vibration of color when used correctly, at the sacrifice of accurate drawing and edges.
(See the supplies page for details about what I use and recommend.)
Anna Althea Hills
I only recently became aware of Anna Hills, who was a brilliant American impressionist artist. I selected the painting below due to the powerful reds and clever brushwork.
Here is another painting by Anna Hills with a pleasing contrast between the warm colors in the foreground and the relatively cool colors in the background. Also notice the difference in the level of detail between the foreground and background.
Tom Thomson is one of the most prominent Canadian painters who was known for his bold colors and brushwork. The painting below is remarkably complex for a landscape. Here are some things to note from this painting:
- The use of the exposed high-key background to give context to the scene. Without the background, one may struggle to make sense of all the colors and brush strokes.
- The use of repetition throughout the painting to create some kind of harmony (look at the vertical brush strokes which repeat throughout the painting).
- The use of the tree branches to connect all the elements.
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