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Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice [Kindle Edition]

Mitchell Albala
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (131 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $35.00
Kindle Price: $20.99
You Save: $14.01 (40%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Because nature is so expansive and complex, so varied in its range of light, landscape painters often have to look further and more deeply to find form and structure, value patterns, and an organized arrangement of shapes. In Landscape Painting, Mitchell Albala shares his concepts and practices for translating nature's grandeur, complexity, and color dynamics into convincing representations of space and light.  Concise, practical, and inspirational, Landscape Painting focuses on the greatest challenges for the landscape artist, such as: •  Simplification and Massing: Learn to reduce nature's complexity by looking beneath the surface of a subject to discover the form's basic masses and shapes.•  Color and Light: Explore color theory as it specifically applies to the landscape, and learn the various strategies painters use to capture the illusion of natural light.•  Selection and Composition: Learn to select wisely from nature's vast panorama. Albala shows you the essential cues to look for and how to find the most promising subject from a world of possibilities. The lessons in Landscape Painting—based on observation rather than imitation and applicable to both plein air and studio practice—are accompanied by painting examples, demonstrations, photographs, and diagrams. Illustrations draw from the work of more than 40 contemporary artists and such masters of landscape painting as John Constable, Sanford Gifford, and Claude Monet.  Based on Albala's 25 years of experience and the proven methods taught at his successful plein air workshops, this in-depth guide to all aspects of landscape painting is a must-have for anyone getting started in the genre, as well as more experienced practitioners who want to hone their skills or learn new perspectives.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

MITCHELL ALBALA teaches landscape painting at the Gage Academy of Art in Seattle. A respected and dedicated teaching artist for more than 20 years, he is best known for his atmospheric and semiabstract landscapes of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. He has lectured on impressionism at the Seattle Art Museum, has written about landscape painting for American Artist magazine, and hosts an educational website at He has exhibited nationally and is represented by the Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle

Product Details

  • File Size: 36934 KB
  • Print Length: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Watson-Guptill; 1 edition (November 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078XCLDQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,552 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
165 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow-Amazing. One of the best books on painting. November 20, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
One of the best books on painting. Not just landscape painting, although that is all this book is about. You can tell this is a book written by an educator with 20+ years of experience, he is able to distill fairly complex ideas into understandable concepts. Chapter One sets the tone for the book. Simplification of Massing. Selection and Composition. Light and Color. This chapter gives a brief overview of where he is going. For those of you who are intermediate to advanced painters, you will find yourself alternately confirming long held unspoken thoughts and finding practical solutions to the unique problems presented by painting the landscape subject. For beginners, this is a book you will read many times and continue to gain insight as you gain experience. For painting is, in essence, an experiential process that needs an anchor of clear thought. This book is not only a how to (step one, step two, etc.) but a why do. How to books are easy to write as an artist, just photograph your work as you produce it. The why is much harder to write. For one thing it requires a lot more literary effort. ie. you need to have read a fair amount. There is no question that he he has been influenced by Carlson, Payne, etc. The book is filled with quotes from Hofmann, Monet, Maisel,...great example: "All color is no color"-Kenneth Clark. That is a perfect example of how this book is written for the intermediate to advanced painter. There is no way that would have made any sense to me as a beginner. It is only understanding composition and how color can be manipulated to move others through a painting. Know the importance of graying colors with complements to accentuate other colors. And the primary importance of value over color. (It took me ten years to learn that!!) You get the idea. Read more ›
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72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the subject available January 12, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Painter/educator Mitch Albala has put together a terrific book for the landscape painter which is destined to become a standard in the field. As an amateur painter, I am in constant struggle on how to organize, simplify and avoid literal representation. Albala addresses all of this head on in a way that I can connect with. Somehow, he just does it better than others who have published similar books. Every chapter of the book has been useful in some way to me.

The book has a lot to say to anyone trying to move away from strict representation and toward looser, more open painting. It includes a great chapter on abstracting nature which has been particularly useful to me. And Albala's several sections on color are also insightful, clearly presented and valuable.

Finally, Albala has included in his book not only a number of his own landscape/skyscape/waterscape paintings as illustrations, but has put in even more paintings by other, mostly contemporary, painters that serve as wonderful examples of the techniques and concepts that he's writing about. Generously, he has included web contacts for all of these artists among the book's several indexes.

Great book that will get a lot of use from this reader.
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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Classic in Landscape Painting December 26, 2009
Mitchell Albala has written a new classic in books dealing with landscape painting. I'd place it along side Carlson's Guide to landscape Painting, Composition of Outdoor painting by Edgar Payne, Alla Prima by Richard Schmid and The Art Spirit by Robert Henri. It's a wonderful accomplishment.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blessing January 27, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is a blessing for the beginning, intermediate, and even advanced painter. It is thoughtful and considered. The writing style is one reason I enjoy turning to it for guidance--Albala wastes no words relating essential information, while imparting a calm, pointed knowledge. I am sure to re-read this book many times: not the case with the half dozen other contemporary "how-to" painting books that seemed rather thrown together and which I've wound up reading less than half of.
Albala's use of his own and other artist's work is both inspiring and deeply instructive. Each photo is married to a caption that explains why he is using this work to illustrate the sectioned concept. These are high quality examples, as know.
Being a book designer myself, I'd also like to commend the book designer of Landscape Painting. The design is as clean, thoughtful, and useful as the words. A different design would have changed the experience of this book. Kudos to you.
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Complete Guide to Creating Better Landscape Paintings February 3, 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An excellent instruction book that covers all the basics, as well as discussing more advanced painting techniques in later chapters. From the start the author acknowledges that there is more than one way to make a successful painting, unlike many art books which use a "my-way-or-the-highway" approach to art instruction. The book also provides the best explanation I have read on how different artists approach color and the many different strategies employed to use color to create the desired effect.

Using artwork examples by many different artists to highlight the concept or technique being discussed is much better than if the author had tried to "fit" something of his own or created something simply to illustrate the point being made. Excellent quotes from many artists and creative thinkers, as well as the author's insightful margin notes, are helpful and inspiring.

The chapter on working with photographs and using digital effects as a tool for creating better paintings is refreshing. However, the book also acknowledges that photos and the computer are not replacements for painting outdoors, directly from nature, but provide a way to learn and grow as an artist using the tools currently available.

The chapter on abstracting nature will be helpful to anyone who has yet to try pushing their paintings in this direction.

One thing that would have made the book even better would have been to include more painting exercises, like the three on massing. However, this is a minor point. There is enough information for painters at any skill level, beginner to advanced, to study and then try out on their own.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent reference book
Published 1 month ago by Bing
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational
Excellent information. Unusual illustrations. Inspirational.
Published 1 month ago by Judith
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! Clearly lays out the steps to solid ...
Great book! Clearly lays out the steps to solid composition and the use of paint.
Published 2 months ago by bluebutterflies
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
it is a beautiful book ,thankk you
Published 2 months ago by monique l collins
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent book. I highly recommend
bought this book a couple of years ago. I still enjoy it regularly. I highly recommend it. It is a very beautiful book with good instructions and great quality pictures. Read more
Published 2 months ago by elisheva
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Landscape Painting Book Around
hands down, the best landscape painting book out there. I had the privilege of taking a painting workshop with Mitchell Albala & he is warn, humble, knowledgeable & a great... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Susan Ciufo
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Watercolor artists should keep this one around and refer to it often.
Published 3 months ago by R. Paulick
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very helpful.
Published 3 months ago by J. Fields
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a great tool for a landscape painter
It's a great tool for a landscape painter. I use it often as a reference and to help me solve painting problems. Glad I purchased it.
Published 3 months ago by Suzanne B Woodward
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 3 months ago by Laurie
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More About the Author

MITCHELL ALBALA is author of Landscape Painting: Essential Concepts and Techniques for Plein Air and Studio Practice (Watson-Guptill/Random House, 2009).

Visit his portfolio site at
Visit his educational blog at

Mitchell is best known his atmospheric and semi-abstracted landscapes, which have been exhibited in New York City, Washington, D.C., Seattle, and Portland, Ore. A respected and dedicated teaching artist for more than 25 years, he currently teaches at Gage Academy of Art in Seattle and hosts an educational website at He has also lectured on Impressionism and landscape painting at the Seattle Art Museum and written for American Artist Magazine. In 2010 he had the honor of serving as juror for two exhibitions, the Seattle Co-Arts 60th Annual Art Show and Art Kudos International Art Competition and Exhibition. He is currently represented by Lisa Harris Gallery in Seattle.


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