While preparing for my 6th grader this week, I realized we haven't done anything with landscapes yet. (And I've been itching to get outside for some plein air painting if and when the rain stops!) I thought it would be fun to show her how to break down a scene into big shapes by using photos. I found three images in a Garden Design Magazine and off we went. Here is one of hers!
She really got it! It looks kind of like a John Marin watercolor! No?
Here is the demo I did for her.
I know it is infinitely better to paint from a photo that you actually took yourself, having been "at the scene" to personally experience the sense of place. But I do think this exercise helps you break things down to just the big shapes and allows you to approach it more abstractly.