How to make nature landscapes

Materials Needed:

(Ideal) Earth tone paint
(Realistic) Mud paint
(Ideal) Chalk Pastels
(Realistic) Sidewalk chalk

Step 1:

Take a walk in your neighborhood or explore your own back yard to gather natural materials, including dirt, rocks, berries, and sticks. Look for colorful flower petals and leaves that have fallen on the ground.

Step 2:

Make your own “paint” by adding equal parts water to the dirt and mud you collected. You can also add a few drops of food coloring to make different colors.

Step 3:

Draw a chalk outline on the sidewalk for your landscape painting. This will be your “canvas.” You might take your inspiration from somewhere you’ve visited: the mountains, a lake, or even a National Park.

Step 4:

Use your chalk to make a sketch before you begin painting. Think about making your landscape in three parts. What would you see closest to you? This is called the foreground, which is the bottom third of your canvas. What would you see in the distance? This is the background, or the top third of your canvas. In the center of your composition is the middleground. What would you be able to see in between?

Step 5:

Use the mud paint and chalk to create your picture. When finished, add your gathered materials (rocks, bark, etc.) to complete your work of art.

Tip: As the mud dries, your painting will become lighter. Snap a picture to preserve it!

Fun Fact:

William Robinson Leigh was an illustrator and painter who captured the beauty of the American West in landscapes like this one. During his life the artist traveled extensively through the Southwest with a particular interest in Native American subjects, but it was his dramatic depictions of nature that fueled the popular imagination. Grand Canyon was painted in the same year the preserve became a National Monument, and eleven years before it became a National Park. Thanks to conservation efforts over 5.5 million visitors enjoy this mile-deep canyon each year. Find more information on Grand Canyon in the Gilcrease online collection.