Painting the middle distance in a watercolor landscape

Watercolor landscape painting the middle distance

This next stage will establish the middle distance of this watercolor landscape  painting.

Watercolor landscape painting of valley views the middle distance
Watercolor painting of valley views – the middle distance

Again, the first step is to mix the starting colors for this part of the painting.

I mix some Cobalt Blue and Alizarin Crimson for the very soft distant hills on the left hand side.

For the sharper edged hill on the right I mixed some French Ultramarine with Raw Umber.

For the rest of the greens on the plains I use various mixes of Cobalt Turquoise, Aureolin, and Raw Umber. When you use Cobalt Turquoise for mixing greens you have to make sure you do not use too much or they will come out looking too blue.

Once I have prepared my initial watercolor (watercolour) paint mixes I wet the whole of the sky area with clean water using a very soft large brush (I have a two inch squirrel flat brush that I use for this purpose). I wet down to the bottom of the sky area and let the water settle in till the shine just starts to go and then paint in the distant hill on the left hand side –I extend this across the full width of my watercolor paper. This should give you a soft edge to reinforce the feeling of vast distance. At this point there should be a bead of watercolor paint at the bottom of the wet area.

Now, starting from the bead at the bottom of the soft distant hill, I start to paint the ground area with my light green mix. In the distance this will mix softly with the violet hill color to give a nice transition between the hill and the ground. I now pick up more paint and paint the rest of the foreground. I use the side of my brush with quick dry brush strokes to create the broken edge effects that hopefully give the impression of the trees and other objects on the plain below.  I have not tried to paint in the shadows of the clouds as that would have confused the message of the painting – I intentionally left them out.

As I moved toward the front of the painting I added a little Raw Umber to warm up my green paint mix.

Once the ground area is painted in I quickly drop in the dark green hill on the right hand side of my painting.

The ground has to be painted very quickly as you want to be able to paint the darker hill on the right before the ground is dry so it can blend in with it at the bottom. The aim is to try and get some hard and soft edges at the top of this hill.

Let this dry completely.

Continue to: Painting the foreground of this watercolor landscape