Landscapes are one of my favorite things to paint because, well, most people like them. Sometimes as an artist it is easy to get caught up in "your vision" and forget that your ultimate goal is to find someone that wants to put your art on their wall. Much of the population likes clean, organized and well thought out art that they can enjoy looking at for at least a few years. Plus, after doing a few of them you will be busting them out at warp speed, making it easier to part with them for less.
Landscape painting doesn't have to be boring. There are of ways to make them look interesting. You could make the wind look like it is blowing really hard like the above picture (actually a seascape) or do a painting with something on fire. The normal tranquil lake in a forest scene works well too.
What ever scene you decide to paint there are few tricks that will save you tons of time.
1) Paint the background first!
Classic rookie mistake is to jump right into the meat of the painting which is usually located in the middle ground or foreground. Painting anything but the background first is going to leave you spending hours of time painting around everything you foolishly painted first. Paint the background, let it dry , then start on the rest of the image.
2) Paint in layers.
This goes right along with painting the background first. Paint all following "Layers" of the painting as you perceive them getting closer. That means that all objects in the foreground should be painted last and vice versa.
3) Experiment with a wide variety of tools.
Brushes in all their variety, sponges, rollers, palate knives, straight edges, virtually anything can be used to apply paint. Try them all to see what they do. Some will be major time savers or give you an effect you could not have done yourself. You can even scratch through layers of wet paint reveling what is below or let it dry and sand through it. Go crazy!
4) Don't paint super tight.
Expressionistic paintings are really one of the coolest paintings to look at. From a few feet away they look like a 4th grader painted them. From 15 -20 feet away they look photographic. Stay loose and you will probably master that effect. It helps to get some distance on your painting every now and then by walking away and seeing how it looks from afar.
5) Use photographs.
They are quick and easy and you will have all the time you need to do your stuff. Not that you shouldn't go paint from life, Its just more likely you will get a sunburn. Use a projector if you have one. (after you paint the background) This isn't about drawing after all its about painting.
6) Mix colors.
No one likes to see colors straight from the tube. They are super boring. Mix your paints and make a color that has never been seen before! Really!