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How to Mix Colors to Paint Distant Mountains

Painting landscapes with mountains in the distance provides an opportunity to use atmospheric or aerial perspective. This means that the farther the mountains are from your point of view, the less detail and color warmth they have. Using cooler colors for farther mountains helps create the illusion of depth. Mixing colors helps you prepare for painting the mountains, and it requires little work and materials. Adding blue helps cool colors, and adding white helps lighten colors.

Things You'll Need:

  • Paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Palette
  • Paints

Pick the color you want the closest mountains to be. Painters often start with a green color.

Place an ample amount of this color paint on your palette. Have two sections on the palette with this color: one for painting the closest mountains and the other for mixing colors for the farther mountains.

Add a small amount of blue paint to the paint on your palette that you will be mixing. This will make the color cooler.

Continue adding blue paint to your color and mix it with your paintbrush until you are satisfied with the hue.

Add white paint and mix it in with your paintbrush until the color is as light as you want.

Create multiple color gradations by repeating steps three through five, leaving each color you create as a separate section on your palette.

Continue mixing the colors until you are satisfied with the colors on your palette, ranging from the starting, pure color to the lightest, coolest color.

You can mix colors while you paint. Paint the closest mountains first, then add blue and white to all the remaining color on your palette until you get the color you want for the next mountains you paint. Paint the next set of mountains. Once you complete painting those mountains, add more blue and white to get the next color. Continue until you complete the mountains.

Create the different colors in a line across the palette, providing a gradient of the color from which you can choose which color to use and create more of any color you want, comparing it to the color in the gradient that you wish to use.

If you make the color too cool or light, you can add more of the original paint color.

Add water to the paint if it begins to harden or get too thick.

Try our virtual color mixer to get your blend just right:

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