paint a beach watercolor on location


My Labor Day was spent at the beach so it is a good opportunity to write on how to paint a beach watercolor. If you want to improve your painting try several small paintings done on location. It will sharpen your observation skills and it requires you to select one area to paint from everything before your eyes.


My first step was to gather all the art supplies that I would need for a 5″x 7″ watercolor. I have a good supply of a rough finish paper in this 5 inch by 7 inch size so I bring several along. I’m trying out a new watercolor palette that folds in half and closes tightly to prevent leaking. It has a removable mixing area that is easy to clean. Before I left the house I added a dollop of about 7 different colors of paint into the paint wells in the palette. My other supplies included 2 brushes: a one inch flat and a number 6 round sable.  I had one sheet of paper towel, a small jar of water, a pencil and a sketch pad. It is nice to have a beach chair and an umbrella to shield you from the blazing sun.

How to Paint a Beach Watercolor

I am able to paint on this paper without too much buckling so I just rest the watercolor paper on my small sketch pad. The 1 inch flat brush may seem too large for this small 5″x 7″ beach watercolor but this tends to prevent over-brushing. The fewer strokes used in a watercolor the better. I quickly sketched a few lines for the water and the man in the beach chair. What attracted me to this area of the beach was the strong shadow under the chair with the waters edge.

I captured the scene before the man decided to go in the water. I painted the water wet into wet leaving the white areas dry. I then worked on the chair details and darkened areas after the paper was dry. I finished up by adding a few details to the waves.

How to paint a beach watercolor should be done quickly without too much detail. Capturing a beach watercolor scene requires the sketching and painting to be done quickly before the scene changes.  Use a camera to record the scene of people and moving water if you want to finish the painting back in your studio. But for this beach watercolor painting I wanted to capture and finish this scene within 20 minutes.

Palette – Martin Universal Airtight Watercolor Palette