Day 1

Welcome to day 1 of your 3-day beginner landscape exercises! In this exercise, you’ll be painting a very simplified mountain range while practicing your wet-on-dry washes and layering techniques!

Remember, the point of these exercises is to help build a foundation of the basics of watercolor painting so make sure to take your time and have fun!

Let’s get started…


Colors used:

  • Cobalt blue
  • Ultramarine
  • Cadmium yellow
  • Paynes gray

Other materials:

  • Watercolor cold pressed paper (I am using cellulose student paper for this)
  • Watercolor brush size 12
  • 2 jars of water
  • Masking tape to secure your paper and a board

Start by mixing a milky consistency of cobalt blue and ultramarine on your palette.

Using this mixture, paint a wet-on-dry graded wash using the bead technique. Lay the board at a roughly 35-degree angle and start painting across the top of the paper with your brush.

The paint should flow down into a bead. Keep moving the paint downward while adjusting the water-to-paint ratio. You should end up with a graded wash.

For a more detailed explanation of a graded wash read pages 55-56 in the beginner’s map to watercolor painting ebook.

Let the paper dry.

Once it’s dry you can start painting the first layer of the mountain using the same mixture and consistency.

This time, you’ll paint the mountain in a wet on dry flat wash as I showed you in the beginner’s map to watercolor painting.

When you’re done, let it dry.

Now it’s time to paint the second mountain layer, this time, however, use a little less water in the mixture. Make sure you allow the previous mountain layer to peak out in the background.

You can keep layering the mountains on top of each other while gradually reducing the amount of water. Make sure it’s very gradual though, the mixture shouldn’t become creamy or pasty just yet.

For the 2nd last layer, you’re going to create a mixture of green by adding ultramarine and cadmium yellow in a milky consistency.

Paint the next mountain using this mixture.

Allow it to dry then add a little more yellow to the mixture and paint the final layer.

While the layer is drying it’s time to mix a creamy consistency of dark green by adding a touch of Payne’s gray to the green mixture.

After you’ve made sure the paper is completely dry, paint a few trees for the final layer along the bottom. Here’s what it should look like:

You have reached the end of the first exercise!!

Keep an eye out for tomorrow’s email for the second landscape exercise which will be a little more challenging and focus on color mixing and wet-on-wet techniques!