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Following the publication of Artic Light a while back, many asked if I would be doing a summer landscapes book. Landscapes Through the Seasons was the resulting book; I have extended the winter title to add a section on summer landscapes, and also included the spring and autumn  for an insight into how to paint the ever-changing seasons.

One of the most exciting aspects of painting summer scenes is that of capturing intense sunlight – giving your paintings that extra zip of sunshine, and this is a strong feature in the book. When my daughter Catherine got married last year the following day a great many guests gathered in her lovely garden in wonderful sunshine. I had to circulate, and for once in my life I didn't have a sketchbook on me, but I did have a camera and took the opportunity to shoot loads of photos of folk, many of them flamboyant actresses. What excited me was the way bright sunlight fell on the figures, highlighting parts and bleaching out detail. I've included one of these scenes in the book to show the magical way sunshine can give your work life and sparkle, and how light falls on an object. Light is so vital to a painting, and the book illustrates how to create a powerful sense of sunlight in your landscapes.

By using Daniel Smith extra-fine watercolours with many of their pigments embodying strong granulating properties I have created quiet passages in paintings such as the top centre of this waterfall scene, while displaying the fascinating granulations of zoisite genuine. Paintings benefit from quiet areas, though many artists  feel the need to fill up every square centimetre with detail, so having granulations add interest in this way can be a great bonus. Where the Daniel Smith colours vary considerably from other well-known pigments, I have attempted to indicate alternatives for those who wish to stick with the more traditional colours.

 

Apart from the quieter parts you will also wish to include some highly-detailed work, perhaps on and around the centre of interest, or maybe the foreground. Foregrounds can be tricky, but there are times when a detailed foreground enhances a scene: flowers, plants, objects, fences and many other features can be introduced, and here I have offered ways to render these without making your foregrounds so overworked they become unsightly. Landscapes Through the Seasons contains a wide range of scenery at different times of the year, from amazing colours to fire up your autumn scenes, to striking ways to emphasise springtime, and naturally not forgetting those incredible effects when snowfall completely changes the landscape. With winter almost upon us, and COVID-19 encouraging us to stay indoors, it can be a real boost to concentrate your creativity and immerse yourself in painting your favourite season and bringing back happy memories of being out in the great outdoors. And don't forget to put some of those exciting new colours onto your Christmas present wish-list!

David Bellamy's Landscapes Through the Seasons is available to buy here

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