San Vincente Canyon, Davenport 14 x 14 watercolor on arches
I often get asked how I paint all those shapes. I usually use a high horizon as a starting point. With atmospheric perspective, the distant hills usually (but not always) have the lightest values. Because I paint standing up with a vertical board, painting from top to bottom also helps as a practical matter to allow me to correct the occasional drip. Above are three stages of a painting I just finished painted near Davenport just north of Santa Cruz.