My First Digital Art Experience – Painting Mystic Mountain Like Bob Ross

We all share that memory of flipping through Television channels on Sunday afternoon and landing on a little art series called “The Joy of Painting” hosted by none other than Bob Ross. You might specifically remember his iconic afro, his melancholic voice or his “easy-does-it” painting style. Although he’s no longer with us today, his spirit, brand and community of followers live on.

Having the opportunity to replicate and interpret one of his most iconic pieces of artwork (Mystic Mountain) digitally, was an exciting experience! (And my first crack at digital art to this degree). I would highly recommend using a stylus for this one folks, it makes painting our happy little clouds and trees much easier and certainly provides a more natural painting sensation.

Want to paint your own Mystic Mountain? Here’s what you need to get started:

Now you are ready to follow along with Painter Master Karen Bonaker as she shows you how to paint like Bob Ross. The tutorial starts off nice and easy by painting the sky and water. We learn how to blend like a pro and create realistic cloud formations and water reflections that set the scene. The hero of the painting comes in next; the mountains. Introduced in this step is the use of one of the newer selections to Painter called Thick Paint. Using the Painting Knife brush, an interesting texture is applied to the canvas creating the look of a mountain slope. The Foliage and Trees brush then takes over as we insert evergreens and shrubs both in the distance and in the foreground.

The key learning techniques in this piece are certainly depth perception and blending. It is an excellent exercise to play with a variety of different new tools and brushes and really have fun with the subjects in the artwork. As Bob used to say; “There are no mistakes, just happy accidents.”

If you’re new to the digital arts world, don’t be intimidated to give it a try! It’s a great alternative to your brushes and palette and the added bonus is you’re guaranteed to stay clean while you work! I won’t lead you on and tell you the transition from traditional painting or drawing to digital was without any adjustment. It came with its challenges, but I was pleasantly surprised at how natural it did feel. I found using my mouse was quite limiting. The natural wrist movements and pressure applied when using a physical brush can’t be duplicated with a mouse, let’s face it. Using a stylus was much more comfortable and natural. A luxury I noticed quite rapidly was to take advantage of the zoom function to get up close and personal with some of the small details in the piece (e.g. the birds soaring through the sky on our Mystic Mountain piece).

Check out the collection of artwork in the gallery below, created with the Mystic Mountain brush pack. Add your paintings to the gallery, or share them on social media and tag #BobRoss. 

All in all, I’d highly suggest giving this one a shot! You’ll learn a great deal of new techniques and in the end, you get an original interpretation of a classic masterpiece. Happy painting!


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