Gestural Landscape Paintings

Creating a series of landscapes in 20-brushstrokes or less

I am always looking for little exercises or studio tasks to get over the fear of getting started and to get me into a feeling of creative flow. I find anything that is low-pressure and enjoyable works well.

In the past, I’ve started with some gesture drawings – loose and lively drawings usually done in a minute or two each and drawn fairly large. A teacher I had suggested pulling a small set of reference photos and creating paintings of each in 15-minutes or less. This is great because it allows you to loosen up and also try a lot different techniques in a relatively short period of time. You can learn a lot this way.

Another thing I love to do is use my favourite tools. The ones that get me really into the act of making.  For me, these are a soft buttery pencil on smooth paper, a smooth writing tool (like a fat marker or stub-nib fountain pen) or brush that glides across the paper surface, or the methodical process of working in the screenprinting studio.

An artist I follow, Nathan Fowkes, posted this idea of creating landscape paintings in 20-strokes or less. I felt unsure where to start one day in the studio and gave them a try. They were really fun and allowed me to play with water and dry-brush effects. Creating a sense of play is so important to any creative practice.

I made about 40 of these paintings. Here are a few of my favourites.


To see more in-progress and behind-the-scenes artwork as it is created, join my mailing list at the bottom of this page. I send a personal letter just once per month with reflections and learnings, as well as new artwork.

For fellow-makers: I wrote a post about The Art of Showing Up and Doing the Work full of tools and learnings for building a sustainable creative practice.

Several of these paintings are available in my online shop in sets of two or three prints. I am happy to make you a custom set if you have favourites. ♥

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