Tropical Beach

painting tutorial

How to paint a beach sunrise

Lately I have been painting in a series of 6 small gouache paintings with a common theme. Each series is painted on one half sheet of watercolor paper. My first series is from Ft Lauderdale Beach.

Tips and techniques

Below is a full length video of a beach sunrise painted in gouache and watercolor paint.  One of the techniques you will see below is glazing white gouache over the sky area. This gives a softness to the painting that I was looking to achieve. Be sure to follow my YouTube channel for painting tips!


Continuing to paint in a series of small gouache and watercolor paints has improved many aspects of my work. I have focused on composition as I am working on 6 different scenes with a single theme. To help with the composition I make a sketch first and often use grey markers to add value to the sketch.


Painting many small scenes with different moods can be a challenge. From a bright sunny day to a colorful sunset or even a cloudy overcast day can create different moods in a painting.


Using a variety of color schemes for each subject helps to create uniqueness to each small scene. When I painted a Key West Series, all of the scenes had a similar light that is found in that area of South Florida. But in my Boat Series the paintings were from New England to Florida and I was able to match the overall light to each area. Painting outdoors on location is a great way to really see the light in an area of the country.


Sharpen your painting skills quickly by painting in a series of small works. Stay focused on your niche with a set theme instead of jumping all around from subject to subject. An added benefit is that it is fun!

Leave a comment below with any painting questions, thanks.