How to Paint Gradient Watercolor Mountains

Learn a simple technique to create washes of color, adding dimension to your watercolor paintings.


1. Stretch your watercolor paper by taping it down on all sides.

2. Lightly sketch your mountains and abstract rolling hills with an H pencil.

3. Mix a variety of color washes by adding a different amount of Utrecht Artists’ Watercolor Paint in Indigo Blue to each well of your watercolor palette.

4. Start with your lightest wash with just a dab of paint, filling the rest of the well with water and mixing thoroughly.

5. Repeat with the next two wells, increasing the amount of paint and using the same amount of water.

6. For your darkest wash, use three times the amount of paint you used for your lightest wash and add a touch of Utrecht Artists’ Watercolor Paint in Ivory Black.

7. Start your painting. With your watercolor brush, sweep in your lightest color wash from the side, working quickly so the color dries in one layer. When dry, use the tip of your brush to clean up the edges. Let the layer dry completely to avoid flooding the page.

8. Repeat the process with your next two washes and mountain areas, keeping your brushstrokes loose and making sure each layer is fully dry before moving on to the next.

9. Paint trees in the foreground with your darkest wash, using the tip of your brush to create overlapping branches.

10. Let your painting dry completely before removing the tape.