Amateur painters often chose landscape as a subject matter as they may not have access to decent studio space and therefore can more easily paint in situ. This was not always the case and the first Impressionist to take their easels outside were viewed as rather unconventional, as artists before them would have painted inside from memory or sketches.
Painting landscape is an art tradition common to many cultures, and it goes hand-in-hand with the popularity of the genre. This was especially the case in Japan, North America, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain until the latter part of the twentieth century as other forms of artistic representation, such as Surrealism and Cubism, for example, grabbed the artists and critics’ attention. Nowadays with the advent of video and installations landscape artists are becoming a rare, rather obsolete breed.
With all this being said, let’s note, however, that most people still rather like landscape paintings. They usually convey a sense of emotional connection to the subject matter, which does not necessarily occur when one looks at a portrait or still life. This is particularly the case when the painting in question reminds of times past.
A number of very famous landscape artists became well known for concentrating on specific areas. In some cases it could almost be tantamount to obsession if you consider that Paul Cézanne, for instance, painted around eighty versions of the Sainte-Victoire mountain located near his home in Provence, France. He wanted to represent it as it looked to him throughout the year, with different weather.
In the seventeen century Holland saw the first European painters representing seascapes, Vermeer and Rembrandt. Since this time there has been a noted recurrence of sky and water themes for some landscape painters, like for instance the well-known English artist JMW Turner. Turner was fist noted for his representations of the sea and skies in violent storm conditions. This said his later works point to the future development of abstract painting by blurring the previously clear line between the water and the sky. French artist Claude Monet’s developed his technique for painting landscapes involving water by doing so in close proximity to his subject matter, which would sometimes involve painting from a small boat. American painters Homer and Wyeth, both renowned landscape painters, were also noted for the admirable way they managed to represent the effect of light on water surfaces.