David Bellamy – Painting misty mountains in watercolour

Jenny and I have just returned from Austria where we took a group to paint Alpine scenery. It was a great trip, with many memorable scenes, despite rather a lot of cloud and mist. So we had rather a lot of practice in rendering misty mountains in watercolour!

Here I’m doing a watercolour demonstration way above the clouds, with marvellous views all round as the mountains rise out of the inversion. Alas, there were even more clouds above us, so we did get a little rain near the end of the demo, but not enough to spoil things. A cappuccino and an apple-strudel quickly restored morale.

Mist on mountains can, for the artist, sometimes be both magical and a misery. I love the way it can blot out unwanted features, but as we all know, it often blots out the very features we want to see!

There are a number of ways of creating mist in watercolour. In this scene above the Inn Valley in Austria I ran colour into wet areas to create soft edges to the clouds. I had to work quickly as I was painting on a cartridge book. With such a lot of cloud edges, inevitably some dry hard-edged before they can be corrected.

This is not usually a problem as they can later be softened with a damp brush when the paper is completely dry, though the odd hard edge here and there might well enhance the clouds.

Alternatively a soft sponge is an excellent tool for softening off, but take care if you use cartridge paper as it won’t stand too much surface friction. Enjoy your clouds!

6 thoughts on “David Bellamy – Painting misty mountains in watercolour

  1. I really love this painting and it came out wonderful. Did you apply frisket over the fence rails so the paint would not run into them? Would be interested in taking one of your trips one day. Right now am trying to get seizures (grandmal) under control with some new meds and then I will be ready. kat.grau@gmail.com

    • Hi Kat,

      Thank you for your kind comment on the watercolour sketch I did on site in the Austrian Alps. I didn’t use frisket for the fence rails, I simply worked round them, painting in the darker negative spaces in between the fence rails and posts. I don’t usually carry frisket around with me in the outdoors as I like to keep material to a minimum, and I love the negative painting technique, which will come with practice. I have been known to carry around an old candle at times, if I know there’s a good chance that it might come in use – it would work well as an alternative here as it would resist the watercolour. Try it, it’s great fun!

      I hope you get those seizures under control quickly.
      Best wishes,

      • Wow, after all this time I just found this area that lets me read comments and so sorry I never answered this until now! Thank you for your return comment to me. I follow all of your artwork and it is so amazing and beautiful. I am still in the growing process and teaching myself and also learning thru you and others. I get your emails and postings as I am following you. Seizures are doing much better, went from 2x day to 1xweek, so on the road to recovery which includes speech and cognitive therapy! Many thanks for your prior note and now I know where the notes and comments are, lol! One of your special art fans …. always. Kat

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    • Hi

      No one else has reported this problem and it looks fine on all my own devices. However, if anyone else has the same problem I would be grateful if you could let me know so that I can sort it out.
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