Check out the YouTube tutorial for this painting by clicking here.
From the years of being a graphic designer, I love to build paintings from a base of strong design. Whether it is to paint a mountain lake with rocks and reflections — or waterfalls or mountain trails — design is key.
Recognize and Utilize the Design
The book Creative Illustration, an oldy but goody, suggests using letters of the alphabet for designing illustrations. The design for this painting has the following traits:
- an implied ‘H’, or some might call it a frame-within-a-frame
- strong perspective lines provided by the foreground lake and necklace of rocks and boulders.
- interesting angles (necklace of rocks and distant mountains)
- repeating triangles (trees)
So, to paint a mountain lake with rocks and reflections, be sure to maintain the design plan — and to be aware of what it is. One way to make this easier is to do a one-colour study or pencil sketch first. It is a smart thing to do to begin with preliminary design work, even for the simplest painting. Paintings that have great colours lose impact because of poor composition.
Contrasts of Hue and Brightness:
- This painting uses very dull green in the water, which makes the background mountains, sky, rocks and tree shrubs appear brighter by contrast.
- Though the green reflection mixture looks like green pea soup on the palette, it looks right against the orange ground and pink sky reflections.
- The red sky is a complementary contrast to the greens.
- The tinted red sky makes a lovely contrast to the distant blue-green mountains.
- A blue or grey sky would not have had the visual impact of the red.
- Consider creative colour rather than the colours you see when choosing types of contrasts.
- The tinted ultramarine blue mountain crags makes a neutral contrast on top of the blue-green base.
- The tinted ultramarine blue also makes a good optical blend with the foreground sky reflection.
To sum up, have a good design and have fun with surprising colour.
Here’s the drawing template: