Abstract Watercolor Rock Stack

design team - julie painting Jul 06, 2021
How to paint an abstract rock stack in watercolor

If you are looking for a meditative, no-stress art tutorial, then scroll no further! We are going to allow the water and paint to ebb and flow while balancing rock upon rock. I find these paintings to be incredibly therapeutic and I hope you enjoy it as well!

My name is Julie Malizia (@harp_and_crow on Instagram) and today we are painting an abstract watercolor rock stack together. Follow along with this two-step blog post, or scroll down to watch the video. Let’s get started!





  • 8 x 10 watercolor paper
  • Watercolor brush - size round 8 or 10
  • Indigo watercolor paint
  • Gold gel pen (or any opaque gold paint or paint pen)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Water



Grab yourself some cruelty-free paint brushes to improve your art practice. There's a cute lil pen pouch for you to store all of your supplies in, too!



Pssst...want to watch the process instead?



Step 1: Paint Your Rocks


Take a brief moment to mark off the center of your watercolor paper. You’ll want about 1.5” of space on the top and the bottom. Use your pencil for this so that you can erase your marks later. You can put your pencil and ruler away after this because we will be free-flow painting with no lines!

Next, fully saturate your brush in the indigo watercolor. The bottom rock in the stack is going to be the largest and in a loose oval shape. 



While the bottom rock is still wet, clean your brush completely in your water. Using clean water on your brush, paint your second rock. You will need to paint the majority of this rock before touching it to the indigo one beneath it. Once your clear water rock touches the indigo rock, the magic will happen! The way the water and paint bleed into each other is going to create some really fun and interesting textures.



You will continue to alternate heavily saturated indigo rocks with clear water ones. You want to make the shapes interesting and organic. I like to mix in long, ovals rocks with heftier, round ones. Remember that even though you are stacking your rocks up vertically, you can create interesting angles and movement with each individual rock.

Once the rocks are painted, let them dry completely! We will meet back here for step 2 when you’re ready.


Step 2: Add Gold Embellishments 


Once your painting is dry to the touch, you can add the gold gel pen detail.

You are going to add an offset gold outline to each of the rocks. Starting with the largest rock on the bottom, add a rough outline slightly up and to the right of your painted rock. This does not need to be an exact outline of the rock. Imperfect is beautiful!



Continue to add the gold outlines to the rocks until you reach the top. Outline some slightly to the left or to the bottom, so that some of the gold outlines overlap.

And you’re done! You have a beautiful piece of abstract art and a new meditative painting technique.



Thank you for painting with me today! If you try this tutorial out, please tag me on Instagram (@harp_and_crow) so that I can see your beautiful work!


Julie is a self-taught artist living in Central California with her husband & three daughters. She rekindled her love of art during the most trying years of early motherhood and has found a passion for helping others ignite their creative spark. Check out more of Julie's tutorials here!


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