How to paint realistic landscapes
John Pototschnik, "Maysville Church," 8.88 x 6 in.

When you’ve been painting as long as John Pototschnik, you come across common mistakes that less experienced artists are prone to make. Here, John shares what those mistakes are, and how to fix them so you can improve your art, starting now.

The following is part of a series that features the best artists who are teaching others how to paint through online workshops at

5 Common Painting Mistakes That Students Make

by John Pototschnik

1. They can’t draw, don’t understand linear or aerial perspective, and do not consider eye level/horizon line.

The fix: Get a book on perspective, start at page one, and work through it page by page, recreating all the drawings shown. Don’t move to page two until everything is understood on page one.

How to paint realistic landscapes
John Pototschnik, “Take Me Home Country Road,” 7 x 17 in.

2. They’re fixated on color, not value.

The fix: Work on location using only black and white.

How to paint realistic landscapes
Value comparison; John Pototschnik, “Transitions Series, Afternoon,” 10 x 16 in.

3. There are way too many tube colors on the palette.

The fix: Limit the palette to just the three primaries + white.

How to paint realistic landscapes
John Pototschnik, “Morning Surprise,” 10 x 16 in.

4. Using poor quality paints and brushes, none of which is kept clean.

The fix: Buy the best paint and brushes you can afford. Clean the paint off gunked-up tubes. Thoroughly clean brushes at the end of each day.

How to paint realistic landscapes
John Pototschnik, “Road Trip,” 30 x 30 in.

5. Being disorganized and taking way too much stuff into the field.

The fix: Simplify, simplify. Limit your tube colors to only three; that alone will save a lot of space and weight.

How to Paint Landscapes: A New Video Workshop

Internationally renowned artist John Pototschnik is going to share with you how to enhance the mood of any of your paintings with one simple shift that most artists get wrong.

It’s the “Monochromatic Secret” to emotionally moving, soul-stirring paintings.

Inside the art video workshop “Painting Values & Color,” John Pototschnik will uncover the seemingly “backward” approach that many artists overlook: It’s not just about color, it’s about value. Learn more about how to paint realistic landscapes here!