Learn to paint a beautiful mountain scene using only the three primary colors plus white in this sneak peek oil demonstration from North Light Books. The easy-to-follow instructions will teach you how to use warm colors to suggest sunlit areas and cool colors for the shadowed regions, and how to build your scene in a horizontal or vertical format. For more enjoyable oil painting demonstrations, pick up Oil Painting for the Absolute Beginner here.
9″ x 12″ (23cm x 30cm) primed canvas
Lemon Yellow, Permanent Rose, Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Titanium White
no. 10 or 3/4-inch (19mm) flat no. 2 or 1/4-inch (6mm) filbert no. 8 or 1/2-inch (12mm) filbert no. 4 rigger
palette, brush wash with water, palette knife, rag or paper towels, easel
thinner, medium, palette cups, mahlstick, smock or apron
1. Paint the Sky
Prime the canvas surface with gesso, but leave it white, without a ground. Mix Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) and Titanium White, then thin the mixture with thinner or water. Apply this to the top part of the canvas with a no. 10 flat using vertical strokes. For this stage, the paint consistency should be thin enough that you can see the canvas underneath.
2. Paint the Mountains
Mix Titanium White and Permanent Rose with a little Phthalo Blue (Red Shade). Paint in the shape of the mountains with a no. 8 filbert. Use a somewhat thicker paint consistency than in the previous step.
3. Paint the Foreground and Mountains
Mix Titanium White and Lemon Yellow with Permanent Rose to make a yellow-orange. Add this mixture to the foreground with a no. 8 filbert. The light source is coming from the upper left, so add some of this warm color to the sunlit side of the mountains.
4. Add Green to the Hills
Mix Titanium White, Lemon Yellow and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) to make green. With a no. 8 filbert, add this green to the foreground, following the contour of the hills.
5. Add Cool Colors to the Mountains
Add shadows to the right sides of the mountains with a mixture of Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Permanent Rose and Titanium White applied with a no. 2 filbert.
6. Add Bright Foreground Colors
With a no. 2 filbert, add a yellow-orange mixture of Lemon Yellow and Permanent Rose to the foreground. The bright, vibrant colors will enhance the depth of your painting.
7. Add Darker Green to the Foreground
Mix Lemon Yellow and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) to make a dark green. Add this green to the foreground areas with a no. 2 filbert.
8. Paint the Clouds
With a no. 2 filbert, add Titanium White to the sky to suggest clouds. Use soft, white shapes for the clouds. Sharply defined edges would change the composition of the painting, drawing unnecessary attention to the sky.
9. Add Snow to the Mountains
Add white to the mountains, using the edge of a no. 2 filbert to apply the paint.
10. Paint the Trees
Use a mixture of Phthalo Blue (Red Shade), Lemon Yellow and Permanent Rose for the green of the trees. To paint the small trees, hold the no. 2 filbert so that the narrow surface of the bristles is vertical. Start at the base and pull the brush upward, tapering from thick to thin.
11. Add the Accents
With a no. 2 filbert, add a yellow-orange mixture of Lemon Yellow, Permanent Rose and Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) as accents to the distant hills. Add pink to the mountains with a mixture of Permanent Rose and Titanium White. Add shadows to the foreground and background trees with purple mixtures of Permanent Rose, Phthalo Blue (Red Shade) and Titanium White.
12. Add the Finishing Touches
Take a step back to observe your painting, then add finishing touches and adjustments. At this point, I lightened the dark of the mountains but kept the snow and also added more trees. The painting should feel complete with a depth expressed through contrasts and colors. Let the painting dry, then sign it with a no. 4 rigger.
oil on stretched canvas
9″ x 12″ (23cm x 30cm)
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