painting tutorial

How to paint palm trees and sand dune

Lately I have been painting in a series of 4 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 art time-lapse video of a beach sand dune with palm trees. This is painted in gouache and watercolor paint.   Number 4 in a series of paintings of the beach. All series paintings are done in gouache paint on watercolor paper. Be sure to follow my YouTube channel for painting tips!


I usually start all paintings with a light pencil sketch. I am working on Arches 140lb cold-pressed watercolor paper. Focusing on composition as I am work on 6 different scenes with a single theme. To help with the composition I often use grey markers to add value to a small sketch done on paper. With a value sketch I can see if the overall composition is interesting.


Most of my paintings start with a light wash. If you notice in the beginning of the video I have a warm orange wash over the entire scene. I added darker paint where the palm trees and dune shadows are located. This beginning wash can set the mood of a painting.


Using a pretty basic list of colors for this small painting I try not to use too many colors. Try to mix colors with paint already on your palette. This creates a continuity to the scene.

  • naples yellow
  • marigold yellow
  • turquioise blue
  • ultramarine blue
  • winsor violet
  • raw umber
  • linden green
  • white

The colors are Winsor & Newton brand of Designers Gouache paint


As you can see from my work I am close to the beach and I love to paint coastal scenes. Paint your favorite subject matter in a series of small paintings. In no time at all you will learn what to do as you are painting to create a pleasing scene. Above all, experiment with these small paintings

Leave a comment below with any painting questions, thanks.