How to Paint a Tropical Beach


March, 2020

Painting Techniques

Original Art

How to paint a tropical beach is my 5th small gouache painting in a beach series I have been working on.

Painting in a series can help you learn about a subject quicker. Painting smaller helps you to produce more paintings in a shorter amount of time and learn faster!

Below is a list of basic painting materials.



  • 140lb Arches cold pressed watercolor paper (6.5″ x 6.5″)
  • Graph Gear 1000 mechanical pencil w/0.7 lead (for sketching/tracing)
  • Variety of gouache paints
  • Painting palette for mixing paints
  • Water
  • Paper towels
  • Flat and round brushes

Pencil sketch of the scene on stretched watercolor paper.

Wet into wet painting technique using Primary Yellow and Marigold Yellow.


  • Winsor & Newton Primary Yellow
  • Winsor & Newton Marigold Yellow
  • Winsor & Newton Naples Yellow Deep
  • Winsor & Newton Venetian Red
  • Winsor & Newton Magenta
  • Winsor & Newton Turquoise Blue
  • Winsor & Newton Ultramarine Blue
  • Winsor & Newton Phthalo Green
  • Winsor & Newton Zinc White

Painting Step by Step

I tend to start gouache paintings with a spray bottle of water to wet the paper. Then add background colors that tend to be transparent because of the wet paper.

From there I add more layers of thicker paint, building up the darker areas first and then adding the lights. Usually letting paper dry between stages.

As you can see in the progression photos of this tropical beach scene how I added paint to each area.

How to paint a tropical beach scene.

Sand dune radiance original painting 9x12 acrylic on canvas

How to paint tip:

I’m painting from the background to the foreground in this small tropical beach scene.

Adding layers of paint as I move toward the foreground.

I continue painting layers of thicker gouache paint.  When I am pleased with the results I let the paper dry then add the details with a liner brush or a small round.

I usually keep small areas of more transparent paint just for the variety of textures .

I added a few vines in the foreground with violet flowers and finished with the shadows

In conclusion, try painting small! When you are learning how to paint you can grasp composition, color and brush techniques so much quicker with multiple scenes instead of just one larger piece. You will be pleased with the results!