Introduction to Landscapes

Landscape: An artwork depicting an area of land. Although natural elements are often the central focus, landscapes can also include buildings, people, and animals. 

Elements of Landscapes

Line, Texture, Color, Scale 

Foreground: The objects or subjects closest to the viewer.

Midground: The objects or subjects in between the foreground and background. 

Background: The objects or subjects farthest from the viewer.

From Foreground to Background in Oil Painting

J. M. W. Turner

English, Born 1775. Known for being one of the first artists to push abstraction and add political elements. 

Work 1:  Valley of Aosta

Work 2: The Fighting Temeraire

Work 3: Snow Storm: Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth

(Sources linked to artwork names)

How does this painting create a sense of awe?

Ando Hiroshige 

Japanese, Born 1797. Best known for scenes of nature and urban life with extensive use of bokashi (color gradiation). 

Work 1:  Plum Park in Kameido

Work 2: The Shopping Street Suruga-cho

Work 3: Naruto Whirlpools

Work 4: Sudden Shower Over Shin-Ohashi Bridge and Atake

(Sources linked to artwork names)

What is the middle ground in this print? What does that do to the forground/ background?

David Hockney 

British, Born, 1937. Known for a variety of styles and materials, known for landscapes made out of photocollages called “joiners.”

Work 1:  Untitled

Work 2: Pearblossom Highway #2

Work 3: Sunday Morning, Mayflower Hotel, N.Y

Work 4: Untitled

(Sources linked to artwork names)

How does this technique create feelings of time and space?


Julie Mehretu 

Ethiopian, Born 1970. Uses dense abstract lines that create space in a way that conveys a foreground, middleground and background.

Work 1: Stadia 1

Work 2: Stadia 2 

Work 3: Looking Back to a Bright New Future

(Sources linked to artwork names)

What creates a sense of space in this painting?

Drawing Exercise:

First, find an image on your phone or on Google of a place that is meaningful to you. 

Think about Composition

Identify a foreground, middle ground and background. Identify what areas/ subjects should be lighter or darker. 


Take 10 minutes to draw a landscape of that place using a pen, pencil or other utensil. Afterwards you will have the opportunity to share the landscape with the group.