Step By Step Painting Demonstration – Alpine Mountains

The following is a step-by-step demonstration of a painting of an Alpine Mountain scene.

The painting was created for the May DVD of Month Club members and we filmed the entire process discussing each step in detail. The DVD of this painting will be about 2 hours in length. Along the way I took progress photos of the painting and thought it might be of value to explain the steps to you.


The painting itself was inspired by a quick twenty minute sketch from one of the DVD's on composition from the Get Started Painting – Home Study course. The sketch was to illustrate the S type composition. So I decided it was a great exercise as it also demonstrates ariel perspective and a number of other key compositional elements.

The outline drawing is completed using Ultramarine Blue & Alizarin Crimson mixture. I loosely sketch in the main shapes looking mostly for correct placement and to make sure the composition works.

I start the painting with the distant mountain range to get the value right. It needs to be light enough to show its in distance yet still contrast against the light sky. Both are done with varying mixtures of Ultramarine Blue and Titanium White.

I then add snow caps onto the distant mountain on the light side and some shadow colours on the darker side of the snow capped mountains. This gave these mountains a greater sense of distance. The next two mountains are added in getting darker in value the close they get to the viewer. The closest mountain has Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre in the mix.

I start blocking in the distant fields and the base colour for the river. The fields are just various mixes of Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ocher and Cadmium Yellow.

I continue blocking in the fields getting darker as they get closer. I have started working on the distant trees putting a dark value on the trees closest to us. In the distance I have added highlights to the trees surrounding the house giving them more shape and volume. I have added rocks into the foreground water using Burnt Umber.

The final steps are to finish off with details … all of the trees get highlight colours added. I have varied the colours to keep the trees interesting. The house is painted in and smoke added to create a sense of life. White water is painted into the river especially in the foreground, cows added in and the fence line is used to create even more depth in the painting.

The process we have used is one we call the Moore Method of painting. It is following 3 simple steps:

1/ Drawing – Focusing on big shapes and ensuring you have the right composition and perspective

2/ Blocking In – Establishing base values and blocking in base colours

3/ Highlights & Details – The finishing touches bring the painting to life

If you would like to see the complete film of the painting where I talk you through every step and brush stroke then join the DVD of Month Club and you will receive the DVD of this painting in May.

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3 replies
  1. Patricia Ritchie
    Patricia Ritchie says:

    Finding the step by step very helpful – it certainly makes it less complicated and I am enjoying painting again


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