A Written Art Lesson: Part 5 – The Mountains

A Written Art Lesson: Part 5 - The Mountains

Today we will paint in our horizon line. You may catch up with past lessons by visiting the Blog page on my website.

You were working on a landscape and had just painted the sky. The landscape includes mountains with a tree in a field in the foreground. You should paint in the horizon line and the silhouettes of the mountains while the paint in the sky is still wet.

You don’t want the mountain tops or the base of them (your horizon line) to be halfway down the painting. Remember our composition requires placing the major elements at the third marks. The mountain tops and the horizon should be closer to a third of the way up or a third of the way down your canvas.

I recommend using a small to medium-sized flat brush (perhaps your #5). Just grab a small amount of Cobalt Blue on the tip of your brush using the Grab and Go method. Then drag your brush right through that wet, light blue sky to paint the very tops of your mountain range. Then do the same and make a line all the way across the canvas beneath the mountains where the field begins. That horizon line can be straight or gently curved. It’s your choice.

Now grab some more Cobalt Blue, hold that brush with your Statue of Liberty grip and place the tip at the peak of one of your mountains. Slowly use the wider flat side of the brush to pull down and apply paint to the mountain. Continue to paint your mountains this way. Begin your strokes at the peaks and take them all the way down to your horizon line. Angle the brush stroke to follow the curve of your mountain down into the valleys. Decide which mountains will be in front of the others. The left side of a mountain might be in front of the one next to it. But you could have the right side of the same mountain be behind the one to the right of it. This would give the impression that some mountains are closer and other are farther back.

Decide which direction the sun is coming from. Make that side of the mountains lighter and the shady side darker. Decide whether a taller mountain blocks the sun from reaching the one next to it.

You may also play with colors of course. Add some French Ultramarine Blue to darken the mountains. Like purple? Mix the French Ultramarine Blue with Permanent Alizaron Crimson to make a nice dark purple. Too dark? Add a little Titanium White.

When you like your mountains, drag your brush through that horizon line again where the field meets the mountains. It’s good to get your tree marked in while the mountains are wet. We will work on this foreground during your next “Written Art Lesson”!