How to Paint Mountains in Watercolor for Beginners

Do you love the beauty of mountains, but don’t know how to paint them yourself? In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to create stunning mountain landscapes in watercolor. We’ll start with the basics and teach you everything you need to know to get started. You’ll learn about different types of brushes, paints, and paper, and we’ll give you tips on how to mix colors and create realistic textures. By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to paint your very own mountain-scape masterpiece!

How to paint mountains with watercolor for beginners

How to paint mountains with watercolor for beginners – video tutorial

In this section, we will show you how to paint mountains in watercolor for beginners with a video tutorial. This is a great way to see the process in real-time and get a feel for how it’s done. We’ll be using basic techniques that anyone can learn, so even if you’re a complete beginner, you’ll be able to follow along.

Materials list

Before we get started, let’s take a look at the materials you’ll need for this project. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; just basic supplies that you can find at any art store. For this project, you will need:

  • Holbein paint – Cadmium red light, alizarin crimson, Cobalt blue, ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow lemon, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, neutral tint
  • Brushes – Princeton Neptune pointed round #12, #6, Rigger #3/4″, Silver brush black velvet jumbo (medium)
  • Paper – Fabriano Artistico, bright white, 140 lb. cold press 6″ x 8″

Step-by-step guide

Below is a step-by-step guide with detailed breakdown and supporting images. It may help any questions you have about painting mountains with watercolors. And if you scroll a little lower you will discover how to learn more about painting landscapes.

Add the drawing
Add the drawing

Step #1

First things first, add a light contour drawing using a #2 pencil. If you are loose, and enjoy expressive art, only draw contours and big shapes. If you prefer more realistic art, then you would add more detail.

Try to avoid pressing hard into the surface unless you want the lines to be visible in the final painting.

Add first wash
Add first wash

Step #2

Use a warm gray to tone the paper. Since this is the initial wash, keep the values very light! So, lots of water and very little pigment.

For colors, I used neutral tint and yellow ochre. It’s applied with a mottler brush.

Try to keep the wash even as you wet the paper. Avoid puddling if possible.

Add darker values
Add darker values

Step #3

Working wet-in-wet, add the nest wash using a slightly darker mixture of the same colors. Basically, use less water and more pigment.

Since you are painting into a wet surface, the hue will lose about 20-30% of the value you see as it’s applied.

I used the same Mottler brush to apply the wash.

Paint ground plane
Paint ground plane

Step #4

Paint the ground plane with a saturated, bright green. If it’s too dull the painting will appear flat, and boring.

Since the mountains and sky are gray, the colorful ground plane is a contrast and keeps it lively. Also, by using intense greens the mountains will recede into the distance.

I used cadmium yellow lemon with cobalt blue as my green mixture.

Paint mountains
Paint mountains

Step #5

Now it’s time to paint the mountains using the same gray as before, but this time more pigment and less water. You may even want to cool it off more with ultramarine blue.

Allow some of the white, and light gray wash underneath to show. So, don’t paint the entire mountain. This will make it more airy, and not so distracting.

I used a pointed round to apply the wash.

Add darker values to mountains
Add darker values to mountains

Step #6

Use a darker gray to suggest trees and shadows. I worked wet-in-wet at this stage so the strokes didn’t look to stiff. These details are in the background, and shouldn’t be too crisp as the trees that’ll be painted in the foreground later on.

I used the same gray mixture but less water. This type of paint much thicker than the wash we began with.

Paint trees and details
Paint trees and details

Step #7

Finish the mountain scene with some details. I added some trees and cast shadows. This is very thick paint, like honey! It’s the same green as the ground plane but a little more blue.

I used a 3/4″ dagger for the details. If you don’t have one, try a small pointed round. And that’s it! You have successfully painted mountains with watercolor.

How to learn more

Below are the best online courses for learning more about painting with watercolor, and diving much deeper into landscapes.


In this article, we’ve shown you how to paint mountains in watercolor for beginners. We hope you found this guide helpful and that it inspired you to create your beautiful mountain landscapes. Thanks for reading!

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below.