Bill Alexander Painting Tips: Columbia River Gorge pt 4

We have a special treat for you for all of June! You get to paint along with the legendary Bill Alexander!

Each Saturday we will have tips and instructions from Bill himself as he walks you through “Columbia River Gorge.”

Here is what you will need to get started:

Oil Colors

  • Titanium White
  • Indian Yellow
  • Permanent Red
  • Permanent Orange
  • Alizarin Crimson
  • Phthalo Blue
  • Ivory Black


  • 2 1/2" Blending Brush
  • Alexander Large Fan Brush
  • Alexander Original Palette Knife
  • Alexander Magic White
  • 18" x 24" Canvas
  • Magic White Medium

Let’s Get Started!

Bill Completes His Painting “Columbia River Gorge”

Today Bill finishes up his “Columbia River Gorge.” Notice how the darkness of the distant mountain brings out the brilliance of the sun.

Points to Consider

  • Mountain mixture is Phthalo Blue and Alizarin Crimson
  • He strategically places his mountain so he doesn’t cover up his beautiful light source.
  • He adds more Alizarin Crimson as he gets closer to the light to show a glow from the sun.
  • Bill lets some of the background color show through as he places the mountain.
  • The mountain on the left is lower to create interest.
  • He adds a little bit of paint to his brush to add the shadows in the water.
  • He uses vertical strokes with a light touch.
  • Notice how the streaks in the water, representing the shadows look like a reflection of trees.
  • Waterlines are made with the Palette Knife and the “sunshine” color.
  • Waterlines need to be parallel to the bottom of the canvas to appear straight. The further away something is, the more vertical and horizontal it appears.
  • Bill cleans his brush before he softens the water.
  • He uses a very soft, horizontal stroke to soften the water. The bristles of the brush take off any hard lines to create a realistic water scene.
  • Bill uses the light color for waterlines in the light path. If he added them in the darker areas he would have used a darker color.
  • Bill didn’t have much time. In fact he only had 27.5 minutes to complete the entire painting. If he had more time he would have added detail. We encourage you to add more waterlines and detail if you’d like.

We hope you enjoyed these lessons. We would love to see your rendition of Bill’s Columbia River Gorge! If you painted along, please email a photo to

For more information click HERE


Bill Alexander Painting Tips: Columbia River Gorge pt 1

Bill Alexander Painting Tips: Columbia River Gorge pt 2

Bill Alexander Painting Tips: Columbia River Gorge pt 3

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