October 26, 2023
By Chelsea Reed
Landscapes are much more than a pretty picture. One of the oldest art genres known, the landscape has seen much in its past, growing from a time before art genres were realized to several branches today. Landscapes today are refined, peaceful, powerful, and reflective. Over time, art experts have recognized what makes a landscape unique to other art forms. Here’s how to tell what makes a great landscape stand out from the rest.
One signature trait that landscapes have is focus on balance. It may look like a landscape is just wild terrain, but the composition is much more than random. There is often a balanced proportion between land, water, and sky. If there are humans or animals, they are usually well balanced in the scene. Sometimes the subjects are grouped together in a certain number or way to convey a symbolic message. Other times, the rule of thirds is employed to create an outdoor image that simply looks nice!
Much like the geology of the natural world, the landscape scene has changed quite a lot. For centuries landscapes have been the primary method to capture real-life moments before the invention of photography. These particular pieces have given us valuable insights into what the world looked like a long time ago. Landscapes also give us windows that allow us to see places around the world no matter how far away they are.
Another key trait unique to landscapes is their mastery of natural outdoor light. The Plein Aire genre of landscape painting is so dedicated to conveying light through paint that artists only paint them when they’re outdoors. The result is a gorgeously bright, open composition that feels much bigger than it actually is. Alternatively, it could also be a dark, dramatic sky full of stars or brooding clouds for an eye-catching scene at night.
Whether it’s Eastern shang shui landscapes or classical Western landscapes, each of these corners of the globe have something in common. Landscapes have the remarkable ability to tell a whole narrative in a single picture. Their wide-sweeping backdrops can hold many specific details as symbols that point to one common idea. The message can be almost anything from a mythological scene to a historical event, a message to save the environment, and more. As long as the piece is a landscape at its core, landscapes have served as powerful message carriers for centuries.
Whether classic landscapes are your favorite or you’re deep-diving into the genre for the first time, don’t miss out on Seaside Art Gallery’s online exhibition series Art that Soothes the Soul, now through October 31. These peaceful pieces are like the soothing balm over your hectic life. Bring it home today!
Chelsea Reed is a copywriter who writes winning content, articles, blogs, and websites from her base in North Carolina. She might not be building sandcastles or swashbuckling with pirates these days, but the Outer Banks beaches continue to keep her young at heart.
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