How to choose a subject for outdoor painting in 2 simple steps

Painting adventure in Cape Town, South Africa

Choosing a subject to paint
It is very symbolical for me to start the art traveling blog from Cape Town. Magnificent Mother City’ is one of the most beautiful places in the world. In fact it is my favourite multicultural spot that always attracts with the surreal mixture of city life scenes, glorious mountains, beaches and wine farms.


Cape Town is a full basket of inspiration but It could be rather frustrating for an unexperienced artist to concentrate on the one particular scene. Have you ever questioned your self what do I paint or how do I choose subject for my painting?

Here are TWO STEPS HOW to choose subject for a cityscape painting:


1.Find the source of inspiration

V&A Waterfront is my favourite spot in Cape Town. It has lots of amazing restaurants and iconic buildings. Before starting  my new painting I would walk around for a while absorbing the scene with all of my senses.

Sooner or later I would notice a spots that keep attracting attention again and again. This is when I ask myself what do you like about the scene? Is it breathtaking colours, playful movement of the waves or is it tremendous shadow of the tree contrasting the light on the wall? It could be anything that inspires and simply respond with happiness or curiosity within your soul.


2.Define the composition 


Ones  the scene is found I use Derwent Viewfinder to define the composition for my painting. It is a helpful and easy to use tool that can be extremely helpful for beginners and experienced artists. First using viewfinder draw couple of small sketches of the selected scene from different angles. Than decide what sketch works best and use it for your painting. Please see video here how to use Derwent Viewfinder for your outdoor practice.



My inspiration


In first watercolour painting I investigated the movement of the umbrellas on the foreground and contrast they created against the depth of the restaurant hall. Also I liked how cloudy sky complemented the movement of umbrellas towards the red building.



Waterfront, Cape Town


In second painting on the right I was particularly attracted to the scarlet object surrounded by heavy cold shadows of the water. Something was quite mystical about it.


How do you find subjects to future paintings? What is your source of inspiration?

I would like to read about it in your comments:) 

Share if you like this article 🙂

Have a wonderful day full of arty adventures!


Waterfront, Cape Town


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