In this course, you will learn how to use big shapes of color and value to design your landscapes for maximum impact focusing on movement, rhythm, variety and unity, and how to employ planning, editing and selection to your reference materials.

Are you...?

  • Unclear about how to compose a landscape painting?

  • Intimidated by the idea of editing and selecting from a landscape in nature? Would you like a process for testing out your compositional ideas before you start to paint?

  • Unclear about the important role of value in composition?

  • Do you want to understand the importance of variety and unity?

  • Do you want to understand the importance of movement and rhythm in your landscape compositions?

What you'll learn in this course

  • See in Shapes

    You’ll learn how to simplify, edit and select shapes for a strong composition.

  • How to Design

    Landscape compositions are designed, not found. You'll learn how to design for variety and unity, movement, and rhythm.

  • The Idea

    You’ll learn how to design with a concept in mind.

Course curriculum

    1. Welcome and Reading Assignment

    2. Materials and Reading List

    3. Carlson's Theory of Angles

    4. Working Methods for Class

    5. Words of Wisdom from Edgar Payne

    6. Composition – Methodology

    7. Why Draw

    8. The Three Uses of Value

    9. Composition Roadmap

    1. What’s A Thumb?

    2. Thumb Technique

    3. Thumbnails – The First Step in Learning to Compose

    4. Composing Thumbs from Multiple References

    5. Format

    6. Horizon

    7. Shape

    8. Some Basic Design Concepts

    9. Drawing Tips

    10. How to BUG

    11. How To Hold Your Pencil

    12. How to Sharpen a Pencil

    1. Assignment #1 - Part 1

    2. Assignment #1 - Part 2

    3. Some Examples

    1. Composition – The Idea

    2. Wyeth Wisdom

    3. Thinking in Shapes

    4. More on Shape

    5. Movement and Focal Point

    6. More on Movement

    7. Value, Color and Movement

    8. Getting In

    9. Getting In - Part 2

    10. Variety – Intervals and Shapes

    11. Speed of the Line and Stoppers

    12. Thou Shalt Not …

    13. Terrible Tangents

    14. Notan and Four Value Studies

    15. Thumbs and Marker Studies

    16. Deconstructing Carlson

    1. Assignment #2 – Part 1

    2. Assignment #2 – Part 2

    3. Assignment #2 - Part 3

    1. Thumbs – Visual Thinking

    2. More on Visual Thinking

    3. Balance by Opposition of Spots

    4. Another Example

    5. Another Opposition of Spots or Counterpoint Example

    6. A Lesson From Corot on Getting In and Out

    7. Variety – Edges

    8. Some Practical Advice

About this course

  • $325.00
  • 59 lessons
  • 6 videos
  • 2 live Zoom calls (also recorded)
  • Course community with instructor feedback


Deborah Paris

Deborah Paris is an American landscape painter, author, and teacher. She is the founder of The Landscape Atelier, her teaching studio, and the author of Painting the Woods: Nature, Memory and Metaphor (Texas A&M University Press 2020). Based on a foundation of intense and close observation, drawing, memory, and imagination, her work explores an intuitive connection to and her experience of nature.

Deborah’s work is represented by galleries throughout the US. She has been featured in Art of the West, American Painting Video Magazine, American Artist, Southwest Art, The Pastel Journal and Professional Artist Magazine. Her work has been shown at the Laguna Art Museum, the Albuquerque Museum of Art, the Panhandle-Plains Museum, the Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, The National Wildlife Museum, and the Gilcrease Museum.

When she isn’t painting or teaching, Deborah is an avid walker, birder, naturalist, reader, and writer. She lives and works in northeast Texas.

Visit Deborah at her website –

For more about Deborah’s teaching philosophy and online learning, you can listen to this podcast.

What Students Are Saying

“When covid hit, I decided to take on-line classes and workshops to elevate my painting skills. I wanted to take a deep dive to fill in the skills I was missing. I have signed up for every class Deborah offers. I am thrilled with what I am learning and how it is advancing my painting skills.”

Susan Powers

“My landscape art has improved so much because of the Landscape Atelier with Deborah Paris. Her classes simplify the complex nature of landscape art. Deborah’s classes helped me breakdown the landscape so I could focus and improve on one part at a time. Deborah’s classes will help you find your visual voice in landscape art.”

Kathy Wood

“After finishing a year of classes at the Landscape Atelier, I can honestly say that Deborah is not only a top-notch artist but also a gifted teacher. She brings her experience as an artist to teaching with a generosity of spirit that make her classes both instructive and fun. The interactive online setting with not just Deborah but also the fellow artists who participate in her classes adds to the overall experience.”

Susanne Jantsch

“Deborah is a world-class teacher. She is thorough, thoughtful, kind, and very skilled. This atelier is the place where week by week you build on your skills and understanding with lesson plans, exercises, video demonstrations and zoom meetings. You have a sense of community with the other students and her platform allows you to see other people’s work for her appraisal and for yours. She replies quickly, kindly, thoroughly.”

Maggie Parkinson

“The Landscape Atelier offers a comprehensive set of courses for developing skills as a landscape artist. Deborah Paris is an excellent instructor who has put together a package of course materials that provides guidance and inspiration. I am on my seventh course, and the way the lessons from each course connect and build on each other has been very powerful in underscoring key concepts.”

Susan J.

“Deborah Paris’ deep appreciation for the fundamentals of her craft, her intimate approach to the natural world, and her enthusiasm for teaching the traditions of landscape painting is what makes the Landscape Atelier such a special place. It is a profound place for artistic development.”

Rob Wellings


  • When can I enroll?

    Full Access courses open for enrollment several months before the scheduled start of the course.

  • Do I retain access to my course?

    Yes, you will retain access to the course materials and videos after the course ends for as long as the site is up.

  • Will I get instructor feedback on my work?

    Yes. For Full Access courses, there is instructor feedback. You will post your work in the course community for feedback from the instructor.

  • Are the live Zoom sessions recorded?

    Yes. The Zoom recordings are made available in the course community - usually within 24 hours of the live class.

  • Can I cancel a course registration?

    Please see our cancellation policy on the “About Our Courses” page.

  • Are the courses just for oil painters?

    The courses on drawing, values, and composition would be appropriate for an artist working in any medium. Other classes involve techniques in oil painting, and all demonstrations are in oil.

  • Are the courses appropriate for beginners?

    The courses in drawing, color mixing, composition, and values would be appropriate for beginners. The other courses require some basic understanding of oil paint and how to apply it. They would be best for those with at least a year or two of experience working in oil. Our Creative Development courses are best for artists with at least two years of experience working in oil.

  • What materials will I need?

    The materials list for each class is available as a free lesson. Click on “Free Preview” above to access that lesson.

  • Can I retake this full access course at a discount?

    Absolutely! You can retake this course for just $130. Contact us at [email protected] for a one-time discount coupon which you can apply to the purchase of the Full Access course. Let us know which course you want to retake in your email, please!

Learn to Compose a Strong Landscape Design! Join us!