With spring in the air, one usually thinks of the flowers and trees in bloom.…
Before camera phones, and even cameras themselves, people captured the beauty of nature through landscape art. Landscape art has been around for hundreds of years. We see it in ancient Japanese folding screens, in Chinese pottery, and in Romantic-era European paintings. Artists created landscape art to express their unique point of view and share nature with the rest of the world. Viewing landscape art became a way for people to admire an image of a place they might never get to visit in person.
Today, even though we have some of the best cameras in the palms of our hands, landscape art has remained popular. This may be because, unlike photography, art is difficult to replicate. You have the opportunity to see a unique perspective, a piece of the artist, in their artwork.
With COVID-19 safety restrictions still in place, travel isn’t advisable. Even though we can’t be there in person right now, we can still admire these landscapes from afar and dream of visiting them in the future. Here are seven American landscapes and the art they inspired:
Monarch Pass – Colorado
The state of Colorado is best known for its iconic Rocky Mountains. However, Colorado is home to many other lesser-known mountain vistas, such as Monarch Pass. The winding roads reach an altitude of over 11,000 feet, giving you a panoramic view of the valley below. The best time of year to visit is in early spring, when the heavy snowfall begins to melt away. In her painting, Lorie Merfeld-Batson captures the breathtaking moment when the setting sun hits the snow-capped mountains.
Monument Valley – Utah & Arizona
The sandstone buttes that dot the border of Utah and Arizona are a sight to behold. In fact, so many films have included the area as a backdrop that it became synonymous with the Old West. Artists like Gordon Rossiter spend hours trying to get the rich reds and browns of the sand just right. With countless different rock formations and shapes to see, trying to discover which area of the valley the artist was referencing can become a game of sorts.
Big Sur – California
People traveling from Southern California to the Bay Area often choose the longer, more scenic route that passes through Big Sur. The area is considered to be one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. With hiking trails, redwood forests, and pristine beaches, it is clear why Big Sur is well protected against industrial developers. Bixby Bridge is just one of many iconic landmarks on the Pacific Coast Highway in Big Sur. Robert Mostellar’s oil on canvas painting shows the west side of the bridge with a gorgeous sunset sinking into the water.
Whiteface Mountain – New York
To those who have not traveled to Upstate New York, it may be surprising that this state made it on a list of scenic landscapes. Outside of the well-known metropolitan area, sightseers can find Niagara Falls, the Finger Lakes, and the Adirondack Mountains. Whiteface Mountain is one of the High Peaks of the Adirondacks; so high, in fact, that one can see all the way to Canada on a clear day. Climbing the stone steps up to the top rewards you with a multicolor view of the fields and lakes below. Zenon Nowacki took what he saw from atop this peak and created a gorgeous impressionist rendition of the valley.
Shaw’s Cove – California
Laguna Beach in Southern California is home to many hidden coves and beaches. Nestled behind million-dollar homes, Shaw’s Cove is a treasure trove of outdoor activity. Descending the large staircase to the beach, you’ll be met with sunbathers and swimmers at the bottom. You may also notice people crouching and searching out on the tide pools further ahead. When the tide is low, the rocky surfaces jut out of the water and are teeming with sea critters such as urchins, crabs, and anemones. In his oil on linen painting, Ray Roberts depicts the impressive high tide that hits in the early evening. Beachcombers start to slowly scatter away as the tide pools disappear beneath the waves.
The Palouse Region – Washington
Farmlands have long been a popular subject of landscape art. In the state of Washington, the Palouse region is among the most picturesque in the country. The rolling hills of varying hues create such soft lines, even photographs look like works of art. This particular farmland draws visitors in every year to witness the hills as they change from the vibrant greens of spring to the golden browns of fall. In the two pieces below, it’s nearly impossible to tell which one is the photograph and which is the painting.
Mount Hood – Oregon
Home to the American Beaver, the state of Oregon is known for its diverse wildlife and geography. This makes it the perfect place for both landscape art and photography. The deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake, was formed when a volcano collapsed into itself and left behind a giant hole that then filled with rainwater. The highest point in Oregon is Mount Hood, the crown jewel of the Columbia River Gorge. The peak serves as an ideal picturesque backdrop for endless summer activities on Trillium Lake. In the winter, the lake freezes over, creating the perfect place for a snowshoe trek across the ice. William S. Parrot’s dark colors and use of light below are similar to George Caleb Bingham’s depiction of 19th century American Frontier settlers.