1: Landscape Natural

Landscape composition

Some key considerations in landscape composition are:

  • what shape is the picture? 19C conventions were usually landscape format with broad vistas. But some late 19C landscapes and also earlier drawings were much more focused on particular elements in portrait format eg trees. Japanese and Chinese landscapes were also  often vertical. There can also be very long thin panoramas, or tall thin verticals also.
  • what sort of terrain is depicted? 19C conventions and also Chinese and Japanese landscapes were concerned with mountains, trees, flat fields, sky, water, river. Sometimes cottages, houses, castles. 
  • what is in it?  Are there people? 19C conventions and before generally used landscape as a backdrop to religious or historical paintings. ‘Landscape paintings’ in both Western and Asian traditions generally had one or two people or a small group of people dwarfed by the natural elements. Sometimes they are excluded altogether eg  Monet’s waterlillies and abstract landscapes like Richter. 
  • how are the subjects arrangedAccording to rule of thirds composition. Pleasing. But might have high, low or central horizons, and diagonals and triangular relationships or swirling circles.
  • how might you describe the ‘mood‘ of the picture. Awestruck, calm, Turner’s turbulence.  David’s mystique. Whistler’s mistiness. Colour and dramatic distortions in Hockney.

Landscape Composition: some established wisdoms

There are many books and You Tube videos on landscape composition, most of which are pretty conventional.

1) Developing an Eye for Landscape Composition gives an overview of conventional concepts:

  • rule of thirds
  • tonal planes
  • different shape paths like S, L etc for leading the eye into the image
  • triangulation
  • rabattement
  • repetition and use of odd-numbers

It also gives examples from artists like Cezanne who broke the rules.

2) Golden Section discusses the development, theory and uses of the Golden Section as a compositional tool.

3) Landscape Painting Techniques discusses ways of using shapes to lead the eye into an image.

Designing a Landscape Image: my suggested process

  1. 3 quick 15 minute sketches of the same scene. Concentrate on capturing the sense of the place by recording the scale of the elements in the scene in relationship to each other. For each quick sketch change your viewpoint so that the relationship between the objects varies. Think carefully how the features appear on the page and the perspective.
  2. Line drawing: Spend up to an hour drawing the scene in detail using only lines. Pay particular attention to the shapes of leaves, trees, buildings and hills and try not to take any short cuts. You can draw some of the bricks in a wall, or grass in a field, for example, without drawing them all but make sure you have enough information in your drawing to remember everything.
  3. Tonal drawing: Make a couple more drawings of the scene in different lights. For example, make one during the morning and one in half light at the end of the day, or even at night. Concentrate on the tonal relationships between the features and the sky. Identify the lightest and darkest areas and work the middle tones into your sketches between these two extremes.
  4. Colour: Make descriptive colour notes from your scene. Use coloured media to record the colours – watercolour, pencils, crayons or similar.
  5. Photographs can be used as a reminder but always use them after your sketches. Sometimes it can be useful to sketch from your photograph to help understand the scene you are trying to represent.
  6. Final design: Try a few ideas out by making quick sketches in the middle of a piece of paper so that you can extend the image out in any direction. Develop the idea to cover the page using elements from your drawings. Then try masking off sections of your drawing with a pair of L-shaped cards, looking for a balanced design which has visual interest from tonal contrast, detail, texture, and so on.Then draw this composition again taking into account any changes you consider necessary.


1: Landscape Natural Urban

Landscape Visions

Landscape art, even when it aims to be figurative, implicitly or explicitly reflects our visions for how the natural and human-made world should be and our place in it.

Landscape is essentially about exploring the relationships between the maker, their subjects and where they are, both geographically and spiritually or psychologically. .. Whether celebrated for its beauty and the bounties it provides or respected for its power and the challenges it presents, the different ways we’ve presented the landscape – and continue to present it – tell us above all, about the depth, range and contrasting values we place upon it. … This reflects an urge – perhaps even an instinct – to tame the land, and in an abstract sense to take ownership of it. (Jesse Alexander 2013 p.14)

Dutch landscape : drama, comfort and beauty in bleakness

My approach in Project 1.1 Natural Landscape draws on the traditions of Dutch landscape inspired by the similar flat landscapes of the River Cam that I chose as my subject.

Dutch Golden Age painting of the 17th century saw the dramatic growth of landscape painting. The popularity of landscapes in the Netherlands was in part a reflection of the virtual disappearance of religious painting in a Calvinist society. Until the seventeenth century landscape was confined to the background of portraits or paintings dealing principally with religious, mythological or historical subjects. In the 16th Century Pieter Brueghel the Elder perfected the “world landscape”  style of panoramic landscape with small figures and using a high aerial viewpoint. But these were still generally idealised images, not of any particular place. Certain popular styles became formulas that were copied again and again.

The first major shift  towards depiction of identifiable country estates and villages populated with figures engaged in daily activities was in publication in Antwerp in 1559 and 1561 of two series of a total of 48 prints (the Small Landscapes) after drawings by an anonymous artist referred to as the Master of the Small Landscapes.  Artists developed extremely subtle realistic techniques for depicting dramatic light and weather on simple, flat and otherwise quite bleak landscapes. They made some significant innovations in technique, including variation in horizon lines, aerial perspective and rendering of clouds to make them seem overhead and lead the eye into the painting.

Because of this similarity between the flat Dutch landscape and those of East Anglia where I live, much of my own landscape art has been strongly influenced by Netherlands art, particularly since visiting Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam permanent collection of Dutch landscape. See also Logan, A.-M., (1988) and Stechow, W., (1966). Some of the oil and watercolour paintings that were most influential in my development of Project 1.1 were:

Although the approaches here are largely figurative, many of these images chronicle the harshness of poverty in the Northern climate. The attention to detail and appreciation of the beauty of these human ‘natural’ landscapes under the powerful skies convey a sense of peoples’ place in the world – sometimes lonely and sometimes comforting.

Key Considerations in Landscape Art

Some key considerations in my work are:

  • what is the picture trying to communicate? what is the ‘mood‘ of the picture. Awestruck/Sublime, calm/serene, Turner’s turbulence.  David’s mystique. Whistler’s mistiness. Colour and dramatic distortions in Hockney. Joy or sorrow in Hambling’s watercolour sunrises and sunsets?
  • what shape is the picture? 19th century conventions were usually landscape format with broad vistas. But some late 19th century landscapes and also earlier drawings were much more focused on particular elements in portrait format e.g. trees. Japanese and Chinese landscapes were also  often vertical. There can also be very long thin panoramas, or tall thin verticals, square formats also.
  • what sort of terrain is depicted? 19th century conventions and also Chinese and Japanese landscapes were concerned with mountains, trees, flat fields, sky, water, river. Sometimes cottages, houses, castles. 
  • what/who is in it?  Are there people? 19th century conventions and before generally used landscape as a backdrop to religious or historical paintings. ‘Landscape paintings’ in both Western and Asian traditions generally had one or two people or a small group of people dwarfed by the natural elements. Sometimes people are excluded altogether e.g  Monet’s waterlillies and abstract landscapes like Richter. 
  • how are the subjects arrangedAccording to rule of thirds composition to focus or lead the eye to certain features or meaning? Pleasing/picturesque? Are there high, low or central horizons, and diagonals and triangular relationships or swirling circles (See post Landscape Composition).

See further discussion, links and references from:

traditions of etching and lithography of Rembrandt and Sydney Lee

abstract work of the Vorticists and Grosvenor school and considers design principles of balance and composition. See also: Approaches to Design and Composition and Landscape Composition

influenced by Maggi Hambling’s abstract watercolours, Degas monoprints and impressionist paintings of Monet and Cezanne

is based on Japanese landscape of Hiroshige and Hokusai and considers further design principles of balance and composition in Japanese art. See Japanese Woodblock Prints

drawing on work of Abstract Expressionists are often evocative of landscapes


Alexander, J., (2013) Landscape: Photography 2, Barnsley: Open College of the Arts.

Barringer, T., Devaney, E., Drabble, M., Gayford, M., Livingstone, M. & Salomon, X. F., (2013) David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, London: Royal Academy of Arts.

Bikker, J., Webber, G. J. M., Wiesman, M. W. & Hinterding, E., (2014) Rembrandt: the late works, London: National Gallery.

Hambling, M., (2006) Maggi Hambling the Works and Conversations with Andrew Lambirth, London: Unicorn Press Ltd.

Hambling, M., (2015) War, Requiem and Aftermath, London: Unicorn Press Ltd.

Hauptman, J., (2016) Degas: A Strange New Beauty, New York: MoMA.

Heugten, S. V., (2005) Van Gogh draughtsman: the masterpieces, Amsterdam: Van Gogh Museum.

Hockney, D., (2004) Hockney’s Pictures, London: Thames & Hudson.

Hoerschelmann, A., (2016) Anselm Kiefer: The Woodcuts, Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag.

Kossoff, L., (2014) London Landscapes, London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles: Annely Juda Fine Art, Galerie Lelong, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, L.a.Louvre.

Langmuir, E., (2018) A Closer Look at Landscape, London: National Gallery.

Leopold, R., (2004) Egon Schiele Landscapes, Munich, Berlin, London, New York: Prestel.

Logan, A.-M., (1988) Dutch and Flemish Drawings and Watercolours, New York: Hudson Hills Press.

Meyrick, R., (2013) Sydney Lee Prints: A Catalogue Raisonnee, London: Royal Academy of the Arts.

Porzio, D. (ed.) (1982) Lithography: 200 years of art, history & technique, London: Bracken Books.

Stechow, W., (1966) Dutch Landscape Painting of the Seventeenth Century, New York: Phaidon Publishers.

Stevens, C. & Wilson, A. (eds.) (2017) David Hockney, London: Tate Publishing.

Wildenstein, D., (2017) Monet or the Triumph of Impressionism, Koln: Taschen.

Galleries and Exhibitions

Alde Valley Spring Festival

I, Claudius Spring Exhibition (April 21 to May 20 2018)

Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam

Rembrandt Etchings permanent collection

Dutch landscape permanent collection

British Museum

Hokusai: Beyond the Great Wave  (25 May – 13 August 2017)

Places of the mind: British watercolour landscapes 1850–1950 (23 February – 28 August 2017)

Maggi Hambling – Touch: works on paper  (8 September 2016 –29 January 2017)

Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge

Maggi Hambling: The Wave (27 April – 8 August 2010) monoprints and ethcings

National Gallery

The Credit Suisse Exhibition: Monet & Architecture (9 April 2018 to 29 July 2018)

Inventing Impressionism (4 March – 31 May 2015)Monet: The Water Garden at Giverny ( 16 September 2014 – 31 December 2015)

Royal Academy

David Hockney: A Bigger Picture (21 January — 9 April 2012)

Snape Maltings, Suffolk

Regular sales and exhibitions of prints and landscapes from Suffolk.


Further You Tube videos

Van Ruysdale

Van Goyen



1: Landscape Drypoint InProcess Inspiration Monoprint Natural Printmakers

Iona Howard

She has a studio in Cottenham in the Cambridgeshire Fens.

My prints explore the notion of time and landscape through a contemplative exploration of surface. The sources of my prints can come from working in the open air or expressing landscape filtered through memory…I am captivated by the ancient semi-natural landscapes typical of my native west Cornwall where a blurred line exists between nature and human activity. Recent works of the Fens focus on the meeting point of land, horizon and sky, their flatness altering the perception of distance. ‘

From interview with Iona in Cambridge 4th Feb 2017:

Her landscapes have a strong geometric structure of contrasting colours and textures. She mainly uses a combination of carborundum, drypoint and monoprint techniques. A mix of a binder (polyurethane varnish) and carborundum grit is applied onto the surface of a plate and sealed with the same varnish. The binder has to withstand a lot of working but should not be so thick as to hide the grit texture of the carborundum. To contrast the carborundum, drypoint is added to produce an incised line. The plate is then inked up using etching ink and copperplate oil with a brush or roller.

Originally she worked in black and white. Now she also works in colour from memory and notes. Colour is built up by layering carborundum plates or more often overlaid though monoprint. Dry ink can be added as a third pass. Ink can be laid on thickly for more embossing. She can use the same base plate but with different seasons. Editions of 40. Or 10-15. She gets commissions where people ask for specific colours.

The technique allows working directly in the landscape to paint on the carborundum and the drypoint plates, and large images can be produced. She prints  on thick Somerset paper, printing to the edge of the paper to “leave the composition as unconstrained as the landscapes from which I seek inspiration”. She mounts with  nonreflective glass.


1: Landscape 2: Abstraction Abstract Media Monoprint Natural

Forest Moses


Forrest Moses monotype
Forrest Moses monotype
Forrest Moses monotype
1: Landscape Inspiration Natural Printmakers Screenprint Urban

Chris Keegan


Does very colourful multicolour screenprints.
Natural landscapes

Chris Keegan Silver Sunset
Chris Keegan When Lightening Strikes
Urban landscapes
Chris Keegan Blue City comp
Chris Keegan Sky Street
Chris Keegan Dirty Old London Town
1: Landscape Abstract Inspiration Linocut Media Natural Printmakers Urban

Geraldine Theurot

Webpage and links:

Geraldine Theurot Street of San Francisco
Geraldine Theurot San Francisco, Sutter St
Geraldine Theurot San Francisco, Sutter St
Geraldine Theurot The Man
Geraldine Theurot The Man
Geraldine Theurot New York
Geraldine Theurot Brooklyn Birdge
1: Landscape 5: Memory Inspiration Natural Printmakers Woodcut

Richard Bosman

Richard Bosman (B 1944) is an Australian artist and printmaker who has produced woodcuts and linocuts since 1980s.

Google images for Richard Bosman linocut

Many of Bosman’s paintings and prints are concerned with tragedies in dark urban settings, on rough seas, and in eerily quiet woods.  They have been influenced by expressionist printmakers like Edvard Munch and Emil Nolde. Also Japanese printmakers like Hokusai.

Some of his work is very experimental. He printed Smokers (1982) with his wife in an edition of two rolls of paper towels.

Born in India, raised in Australia, and the son of a merchant sea captain, Bosman has repeatedly returned to the setting of the sea. In an exhibition “Death and the Sea” at Owen James Gallery  he depicts different aspects of the South Pacific sea: volcanoes, moonlit voyages and farewells, small rowboats fighting gigantic waves – “mankind is fickle, life is fleeting, and that the ocean remains unconcerned with our plight”.
“There is a cinematic beauty to these works by Bosman.  We sometimes feel as though we are looking at a film strip stopped in time, somewhere between cause and horrible effect.  Works such as Volcano and Fog Bank are subtle in their ability to show the progress of time, but there are visual gaps in it, and it is in these gaps that much of the intrigue lies.  In Night Sky the effect is almost imperceptible.  Here, only the stars move, and in this movement we find we are disoriented. Both South Seas Kiss and Mutiny share the short-lived joy of shore-leave, as a captain is first enraptured by an island girl only to meet his demise once he turns his back.”

1: Landscape Collagraph Inspiration Media Natural Urban

John Piper

John Piper was born in Epsom, Surrey, in 1903, the son of solicitor Charles Piper. He was educated at Epsom College and trained at the Richmond School of Art, followed by the Royal College of Art in London.[1] He turned from abstraction early in his career, concentrating on a more naturalistic but distinctive approach.

As a child, Piper lived in Epsom, at that time in the countryside. He went exploring on his bike, and drew and painted pictures of old churches and monuments on the way. He started making guide books complete with pictures and information at a young age. He studied at Epsom College. He did not like the college but found refuge in the art school. When he left Epsom College, Piper wanted to go to art school, to study to become an artist. However, his father disagreed and wanted him to be a solicitor. They agreed that John Piper would work for his father in London for three years, and then could pursue whatever career he chose. He failed the law exams and his father died soon after, leaving him free to become an artist. His work often focused on the British landscape, especially churches.

Piper was appointed an official war artist in World War II from 1940–1942.[1] The morning after the air raid that destroyed Coventry Cathedral, Piper produced his first painting of bomb damage, Interior of Coventry Cathedral now exhibited at the Herbert Art Gallery. Jeffery Daniels in The Times described the painting of the ruins as “all the more poignant for the exclusion of a human element”. It has been described as “Britain’s Guernica”.[2]

Piper collaborated with many others, including the poets John Betjeman and Geoffrey Grigson (on the Shell Guides[3][4]), and with potter Geoffrey Eastop and artist Ben Nicholson. In later years he produced many limited-edition prints.

Sir Osbert Sitwell invited Piper to Renishaw Hall to paint the house and illustrate an autobiography he was writing and Piper made his first of many visits to the estate in 1942. The family retain 70 of his pictures and there is a display at the hall.[5]

From 1950 Piper worked in stained glass in partnership with Patrick Reyntiens, whom he had met through John Betjeman.[6] They designed the stained-glass windows for the new Coventry Cathedral, and later for the Chapel of Robinson College, Cambridge. Washington National Cathedral prominently features his large window, “The Land Is Bright”. He designed windows for many smaller churches and created tapestries for Chichester Cathedral and Hereford Cathedral. He was a set designer for the theatre, including the Kenton Theatre in Henley and Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff. He designed many of the premiere productions of Benjamin Britten’s operas at Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House, La Fenice and the Aldeburgh Festival, as well as for some of the operas of Alun Hoddinott. In 2012 a major exhibition ‘John Piper and the Church’ examined his relationship with the Church and his contribution to the development of modern art within churches.[7] Piper wrote extensively on modern art in books and articles.[8][9][10][11] With his wife, Myfanwy Piper, he founded the contemporary art journal, Axis.

On 28 June 1992 John Piper died at his home at Fawley Bottom, Buckinghamshire, where he had lived for most of his life. His children are painters Edward Piper (deceased) and Sebastian Piper, and his grandchildren include painter Luke Piper and sculptor Henry Piper.

His auction record, £325,250, was set at Sotheby’s on 15 July 2008 for “Forms on Dark Blue”, a 3′ by 4′ oil painting made in 1936.[12]

1: Landscape 3: Chiaroscuro Inspiration Natural Printmakers

Katarzyna Cyganic


Katarzyna’s work is extremely detailed linocut made of dot shading and very fine markmaking. It has a dreamy quality. I am not sure if this is partly done using etching techniques with bleach, or something like a mezzotint shader.

She also generally chooses dramatic composition – reflections, swirling sky and water. The compositions are often upside down reflections in water, or putting the dark area at the top right. This significantly increases the sense of drama and the unexpected even on apparently simple scenes of just trees and water.

website: is now subscription only

Reflections This is an amazingly detailed and well-obesrved linocut rendering of tree reflections in water.

Forest This shows leaves falling from trees with sharp contrast between the white leaf shapes against a misty background of forest trees.


Landscape  This shows a waterlily pond with beautiful contrasts between the dark round waterlily leaves, straggly thin stems and water.

Landscape This shows a seascape with swirling waves in very small marks. Though the scene itself is not so unusual.

More information

There is no biography or details of technique or size of the images on the website.

1: Landscape Inspiration Linocut Media Natural Printmakers

Lynda Burke


Lynda Burke’s linocuts are mainly monochrome black and white. She has a strong sense of composition and design – using dramatic perspectives, grills and grids. With variety of markmaking and texturing in eg the skies. Some have hand-coloured splashes of red.


linocuts      landscapes  interiors and still life

Her work

Verduno, Italy   I like the vertical repetitions at the bottom here – is this a graveyard?

View from Long Wall Suffolk

Crazy Paving  I like the design of this from a simple subject.

Clissold Park  Interesting view through wire fence

Colombe d’Or, Vence this has an effective splash of red.

Terrace 1 Vence again I really like the bold composition of this with the railings of the terrace.

Tree in Woods

Bosham  here the marks for the mackerel sky I find effective together with the long format and rather bleak landscape.


Lynda Burke was born in London in 1950 and has lived and worked there most of her life, in recent years sharing her time between Camden and Vence in the south of France.

After a two-year Fine Arts Foundation Course at East Ham Technical College in London she studied Painting at Winchester School of Art – DipAD / BA(Hons) –  for three years under the guidance of established artists including Patrick Heron, graduating in 1972.

Throughout the 1970s, Lynda continued painting and print-making as well as raising a family. She regularly sold work privately and in solo exhibitions during the 1980s and 1990s, including commissions from The Distillers Company (now Diageo) and others. Her work is in private collections in England, France, United States, Japan, Singapore, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and Italy.

Since the year 2000, Lynda has been an official guide at the original Tate Britain and the celebrated Tate Modern in London, leading regular tours around the vast galleries and bringing modern art to life for thousands of international visitors.

Since 2006 Lynda has been making art mainly in Vence, where she has also resumed an earlier interest in the medium of linocut prints, some of which can be seen on this site. As well as her Tate Modern tours in London she has also started a series of lectures on the famous artists of the Côte d’Azur.

Source: her website