Gloomy Mountain Drive Easy Watercolor

I posted a short TikTok video on how to do this and got a lot of comments saying "trust the process". So, keep this in mind as you do it, because it all comes together at the end!


This is a great easy beginner watercolor that will surely impress!

It may look complicated, but it is actually pretty simple. You will need some patience to make sure certain layers dry to make sure you can get distinct layers and depth! This tutorial combines some wet-on-wet techniques, with layering and is good practice for your watercolor practice.


The supplies I used for this are:

  • 140 lb cold press sketchbook

  • Spray bottle

  • Masking Tape

  • 2 cups of water

  • Koi Watercolors

  • Hair dryer

  • Flat wash brush

  • Size 12 round brush

  • Rag

I started this painting by taping off a rectangle. This isn't required, but I like how it looks in my sketchbook after I remove the tape.


Then let's prepare some colors for the gloomy sky. I like to mix up a couple different light grays and blue grays to have on hand.


Then wet the entire surface of you painting. I like using a flat wash brush for this because it more evenly places the water and it goes faster. The affiliate like I have placed for the flat wash brush is different than the one pictured, but the one I have here is super old and I can't find it!


You want a nice coating of water, it should glisten but you should be able to see the texture of the paper.


Place a few strokes of the grays and blue grays on the page while it's still wet. This will soften and change as it sits.


While it's still wet mix up a desaturated forest green gray color.

Holding your round brush vertically and tapping the tip down move from the left to the right side moving down while varying the height a little bit. We want to do this on a wet layer so that the top will be softened and not super defined. This is going to help us get some perspective because it will look a little more out of focus and obscured by the rain.

Once you have the dart like shape done wet your brush and soften the bottom down to the bottom of the page so you don't have a definitive bottom to the shape.

Then before moving forward you need this back layer to dry. If you have a hair dryer this will come in handy! If not, this will be a great practice in patience!

Once it's dry we can mark in where the road will go. You can change the placement of this road if you like. However, I have placed it strategically to take advantage of the rule of 1/3s that takes advantage of the brain's tendency to like things that are placed at 1/3 intervals. Notice that the vanishing point is 1/3 from the left and 2/3s from the top.

Fill in your road with a light grey color. You can use one of the colors you mixed up previously for the sky.

While the road is still wet dip into a darker blue color and lightly emphasize or shadow the recessed portions of the road...the ones we'd be able to see if looking at it.

Mix up a nice steely desaturated blue color. This is going to be the mountain in the distance, we want it to be nice and light so that it pushes it to the back.

Out line the top of the range wit the steely blue color.

Then wash your brush and soften that all the way down to the bottom of the page so there isn't a definitive end to the mountain.

Then this all needs to dry completely before moving on. I used a hair dryer to speed up this process.

We're going to be painting some trees next and we need to mix up a nice forest green color.

Paint some trees on the right hand side, don't bring them all the way down to the bottom of the page. Leave some buffer room. Now I realize that saying "paint some trees" is kind of like the "rest of the owl" subreddit, and isn't necessarily something you know how to do. Fear not! I have a fairly short YouTube video that will show you how I paint these. If you need help with that, take a quick detour and watch that.

Add in more trees. I recommend varying the size of the trees to give a bit of visual interest.


You can stop with just nice green trees, or if you want a little variation you can mix up some browns to add in old growth or old dead trees.

Add in a few of those, if you like.

While the trees are still kind of wet take some of that brown and soften the bottom of the trees to help transition into the meadow.

Next take yellows and greens and place them in the meadow.

You want the yellows and greens and maybe some browns to fill in the spaces on the sides of the road. Also, adding some blues will help emphasize some shadows.

Adjust and add more shadows as needed.

You could stop here, or if you want you can add some movement to the road with a few swipes that mimic the shape.

And there you have it!



If you'd prefer, you can watch my YouTube video where I painted this in real time!




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