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Abstract Landscape Drawing

Create an abstract landscape drawing using a photograph as reference, inspired by artist Bernice Bing.

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Collection Connection

Bernice Bing, Mayacamas No. 6, March 12, 1963, 1963

Here we see Bernice Bing’s depiction of the Mayacamas Mountains in California’s Napa Valley. Her painting evokes a personal view of the landscape she called home. Bing used a rich palette of colors. Can you see the shades of reds, greens, blues, and earth tones? How about various shapes, lines, and traces of her gestural marks? The diagonal horizon line and the swift brushstrokes she left behind give this painting plenty of movement.


Questions to Consider

How can you use a landscape photo for inspiration and transform it into an abstract landscape drawing? Can you capture the landscape’s essence and make it your own?


1. Refer to your landscape photo for inspiration. We can break apart the example below into three spaces: the background (the sky), middle ground (the mountains and the bay), and foreground (the green hills), which is closest to us and where we can see the most details. See if you can identify the background, middle ground, and foreground of your chosen landscape photo.

2. Using your pastels, draw a horizon line on your paper. This is where the background meets the middle ground.

3. Continue to draw in a gestural way as you observe the landscape. In this example, the focus is on the mountains in the middle ground, where there are small, broken-up lines and different shapes.

4. Work your way through the foreground with loose lines and some shading.

5. Be bold with your mark making and trust what you see and feel. Layer and blend different colors together. Give yourself freedom to use your imagination as you draw.


After creating your landscape drawing, consider the following questions: 


We would love to see what you create! Email pictures of your artwork to or tag us on any social platform with #deyoungsters.

Image credits