Beginner Pink Watercolour Seascape - Step by step | Emily Curtis | Skillshare

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Beginner Pink Watercolour Seascape - Step by step

teacher avatar Emily Curtis, Artist/Painter

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

9 Lessons (26m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Art Supplies

    • 3. Choosing the Colours

    • 4. Wet-on-wet Technique

    • 5. Background

    • 6. Painting the Boat

    • 7. Adding the Birds

    • 8. Paint Splats

    • 9. Class Project

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About This Class

Have you ever watched wondered how to capture the beauty of a sunset? This class is all about how to do just that.

In this class you’ll learn an easy process for painting a warm, pink sunset seascape using watercolours. I’ll guide you step-by-step from choosing the colours to producing the finished piece. By the end of this class you’ll have your very own soft seascape painting and all the techniques you’ll need to recreate the piece in any colours you like.

In this class you will learn:

  • How to select colours for a sunset
  • How to use the wet-on-wet technique with watercolours
  • Step-by-step process of a watercolour sunset

This class is suitable for all skill levels from beginner to professional as everything is laid out easily for you to follow along.

If you like this class, please leave a review to help me improve.

Happy Painting!

E xx

Meet Your Teacher

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Emily Curtis




Hi there! I'm Emily Curtis.

I'm a full-time artist who specialises in acrylic and watercolour painting. I produce work which portrays atmosphere and emotion, often inspired by moments in nature and urban life.

My love of painting began as a child when I was mesmerised by the colours in the fields surrounding my home. I spent hours watching sunsets and soon became obsessed with recreating the beauty of the world on paper. Now, I uses my art to prolong the moments that often feel too fleeting to be observed in everyday life.

I followed my passion into adulthood and gained a Fine Art Foundation Diploma from the University of Arts London. My art has also been seen in magazines such as 'World of In... See full profile

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1. Intro: Hello, my name's Emily Curtis. I'm a full-time artist based in the UK, and I specialize in acrylic and watercolor painting. Today, we're going to paint this beautiful pink seascape using watercolors. This is a quick and easy piece to paint for anyone who's a beginner or just doesn't have a lot of time to paint today. In this class, I'm going to take you through all the art supplies we'll be using and any replacements you can use. Then I'll talk you through all the colors we'll be using and how to mix them. We'll go through an in-depth tutorial on how to use the wet on wet technique and avoid some common mistakes. In the main section of this class, we'll be going through how to paint this lovely pink and yellow sunset. You don't need any prior knowledge of watercolors for this class, as I'll be talking you through all the techniques step-by-step from start to finish. That's begin. 2. Art Supplies: Before we start the class, we're going to go over all the art supplies we'll be using and any replacements you can use. First up, our watercolors. You don't have to have the same set as I do. Just use whatever you've got. Then we'll be using watercolor paper. And you will definitely need watercolor paper for this class because we'll be using a lot of water. I'm using 300 GSM paper, which can be bought in pads like this. You'll want to take that paper to the table to stop it from bending when it gets wet. I recommend using scotch tape. I'll be using three brushes in this class. One is a big square brush and this is about an inch wide. Then I'm using two pointed brushes. One is incised five, and the other is incised three. If you don't have a pointed brush, just to use the smallest brush you have to paint in the details. And now Sydney, we have a water bowl and tissues to wash and dry your brushes. 3. Choosing the Colours: Before we start the class, I'm going to take you through all the colors we'll be using and how to mix them. First, we're starting with the colors I'll be using in the background. The lightest color we'll be using is yellow. I'm using lemon yellow, but any yellow, we'll do mix this with enough water so that it's easy to paint with, but still nice and vibrant. The second color I'm using in the background is pink. And for this, I'm using permanent rose. Again, mixing this with enough water so that it's easy to paint with, but still keeping it nice and vibrant. Next we're going to mix up the colors we'll be using for the silhouettes of the boat and the birds. For this, I'm going to be mixing up my own black out of ultramarine blue and burnt umber. This works because they are complimentary colors, which means that when mixed together, they cancel each other out and make black. I'll also be adding a bit of permanent rose to give that to black as slightly pinky purple tint, which will help to harmonize the silhouettes with the rest of the painting. If you have completed a few of my classes, then you'll know that I prefer to mix my own black whenever possible because it produces a richer color than the blacks that come pre-made. If you are new to watercolor painting and would prefer to use a pre-made black. That's absolutely fine. But I do recommend mixing in a little bit of pink or something with it to warm it up and give it a bit of richness. Finally, we're going to be mixing the colors we'll be using for the paints flats, basically for this, you want to be using the same two colors you used in the background. However, as one of my background colors is yellow, this won't work for the paints flats because yellow is too light and it won't show up over the top of the rest of the painting. Therefore, for the first color, for the paint splatter, I'm actually going to be using Winsor orange. I've chosen this color because if you mix yellow and pink together, it will make orange. And therefore, I know it's going to harmonize well with the rest of the painting. And then the other color I'm using for the paints, bullets is permanent rose. Make sure to mix this up to a consistency that you can actually flick the paint at the paper with. But still tried to keep the color as concentrated as possible so that it shows up over the top of the painting. Here we have our finished color chart. I recommend making your own so that you have it to refer back to during the class. 4. Wet-on-wet Technique: Before we start the main project, I'm going to give a tutorial on how to use the wet on wet technique. I've done a few quick demonstrations in previous courses. However, as this class is slightly shorter than usual, it's giving me a chance to go into more depth this time. Here we're going to be looking at water balance when using the wet-on-wet technique. And what's the ideal amount of water to use to get the best results? As you can see, I've got three strips of paper taped to my table. The paper strip on the right is the one that I will be using to show what happens when you don't use enough water for the wet on wet technique. Here, I'm showing one of the most common mistakes people make when using the wet-on-wet technique. And this is that they cover their paper with water and then they leave it for far too long so that it dries up. And by the time they come back to their paper, it's too dry to use the wet-on-wet technique properly. I'm just applying water to the paper first and then I'm going to leave it while I move on to the next one. The paper on the left is going to show what happens when you use too much water during the wet-on-wet technique, I feel like I should put a counter at the side showing how many times I say the words wet on wet technique. A very easy mistake to make is to apply water to the paper, then immediately go in with your paint, not allowing the water any chance to sink into the paper. What happens here is the water is then still sitting on the top of the paper in a puddle. And the paint just ends up swirling around on the surface instead of sinking into the paper where you want it to go. This is why you might have noticed in my classes, I always make a point of telling you to leave the water to sink into the paper for about 10 seconds before you apply your paint. So why is having too much water a problem? Well, as you can see here, when there's this much water left on the surface of the paper, it ends up settling at the edges of the paper unevenly and then dragging the paint down the paper with it. And this will just get worse as you add your paint. Because every time you add paint, you also add more water to the paper. Too much water also prevents different colors from blending into each other. As you can see here when I'm applying the blue, the blue and the pink end up sitting next to each other or swirling around each other, instead of creating a gradient by blending smoothly into each other. As you can see, the majority of the water ends up pooling in certain areas and this is going to cause the paint to dry very patchy and uneven. Now we're going to return to the paper on the right, which by this point will have dried far too much to use the wet on wet technique properly. As you can see here, in some areas, the paint will spread out a little bit. But what you can also see is that in a lot of places the edges of my brushstrokes are creating a very harsh line. This is because the paper is dry, so the paint isn't going to diffuse outwards and soften those lines. When the paper is dry. It's also going to stop two colors from blending into each other properly. Areas where I've laid the blue directly over the pink will blend together. However, areas where I put the blue next to the pink, the colors will remain separate. Usually in the wet on wet technique, the wet paper would cause two paints to bleed outwards and create a smooth gradient between them. Now let's move on to how to do the wet-on-wet technique correctly. We're going to start by applying the water evenly across the whole of the paper. And then we're going to leave it to sink in for about ten seconds. You can tell when the paper is ready because it should have a light shine across it from the water without having any deeper pools of water. I'm just using my phone taught here to show you the shine on the paper that you're looking for. Now I'm going to start painting. As you can see, when there is the right balance of water on the paper, the paint starts to immediately bleed outwards once it's been applied. Then I'm going in with my blue and I'm just putting this next to my pink. And you can see again, it's immediately diffusing outwards and these two colors are going to soften into each other. We should see a smooth gradient appear between the blue and the pink as the painting dries. Now we're going to leave all three of these to dry and I'll come back with the results. So all of the paper has been left to dry. The one on the left is still a little wet because of the water settling into large pools. But I've decided to call time on it because life is too short. Oh yes, being a full-time artists certainly gives new meaning to the phrase, watching paint dry. We can see that this has created really uneven blending. Particularly at the side where the pools of water have dried. Those have dried with a harsh ring around the edge. The paint in the center of the paper has dried very faintly because it was sitting on top of the water instead of sinking into the paper, which means that it's diffused out a lot. The paper on the right has somewhat mixed results. The paint has blended nicely in the areas where I applied the paint, overlapping. But because the paper was to dry, we can see that it has dried with brushstrokes still visible. Whereas if the paper hadn't been so dry, then those brushstrokes would have been smoothed out, the paint dried. Lastly, let's take a quick look at the one in the middle. As you can see, when we use the right amount of water, the paint diffuses outwards. So almost all of those white gaps have gone and we can't see any brushstrokes because they've all been smoothed out as the paint dried. The pink and blue have also blended into each other seamlessly because the wet on wet technique allows the paint to bleed outwards into each other so that they create a gradient without us having to do that much work. Now we've gone through the basics of using the wet-on-wet technique. We're ready to start on the class project. 5. Background: We're starting our class project by painting the background. I've taped my paper to the table to stop it from bending when it gets wet. And I'm starting off by soaking my paper with water using a big flat brush. Make sure the water is applied evenly and then give it about 10 seconds to sink in before going in with your paint. One thing to remember is that thicker paper will require more water to soak it than thinner paper. So keep an eye out for that shiny surface that we spoke about during the tutorial to see when the paper is ready. Now switch over to your smaller brush. I'm using a pointed brush in size 5, the first color I'm going in with my lightest color, lemon yellow. I'm starting by painting the horizon line just over halfway up the paper. And then painting upwards into the sky in white striped strokes to give the impression of clouds. I've left a few gaps that I'm going to fill in using the pink. Then I'm mixing up my pink. And I'm painting that starting from the top of this guy and gradually coming down in those same stripy brushstrokes. I'm starting at the top and painting downwards so that my paint is most concentrated at the top of the sky and gets lighter as we come down towards the yellow and towards the Sun at the horizon. Imagine in this painting that the sun has just dipped below the horizon. So although we don't have a distinct shape for the sun, we still have an area where the light is most concentrated at the horizon and the sky darkens as we get further away from that. When you're painting your sky, you want to imagine that the yellow is where the light is hitting the clouds and the pink is where there are areas of shadow. Don't worry about blending these two colors together. The wet-on-wet technique will do all the work for us in this painting. These alternating stripes of color are going to blend together through the wet-on-wet technique, which will create really soft looking clouds in the sky. Next, we're going to paint the water. And for this, we're also starting with yellow. First, we're going to paint the yellow over all of the paper, stopping just above the very bottom of the paper. Next we are going in with the pink. We're going to paint from the bottom of the paper going upwards this time. Like with the sky, we're starting from the darkest area where the paint will be most concentrated and then working up the paper so that the paint gets less concentrated as we paint. And that helps us to transition smoothly from dark to light. I'm showing this part of the video in real time so that you can see the brush strokes I'm using in the water to capture the feeling of movement in the water. You basically want to use smooth side-to-side strokes across the paper with your brush as you are doing. So give your strokes a slight curve to them so that instead of painting in straight lines, we're painting slightly wavy lines. You also want to make sure that your brushstrokes get thinner the further up the painting you go, so that we create the illusion of depth. The waves at the front of the painting are going to appear bigger than the waves at the back because they are closer to us. So we want the brushstrokes at the front of the painting to be wider than the brushstrokes we're using at the back of the painting. Now leave your painting to dry before starting on the second layer. We're doing two layers so that we can increase the vibrancy in the painting. The first layer was to get the form of the clouds and the water. And to the second layer is to make sure those colors are nice and bright. We're starting the second layer the same way we did the first one by covering the paper in water to prepare it for the wet on wet technique. Then leave it for about 10 seconds to give the water a chance to sink in. And now we're starting with our yellow and we're going to paint over all of the areas that we painted yellow in the first layer. Use what's already on your paper as a guide and go over the top of that again to increase the vibrancy. You may notice that the horizon line essentially disappears as you're painting. This is absolutely fine in these types of conditions because the water is so calm, it reflects the sky almost like a mirror, which makes it difficult to distinguish where the water ends and the sky begins. And once you've done that, make up your pink and do exactly the same thing and go over all the areas that were pink in the first layer to build up the color. From here, you can go back and forth between your pink and yellow as you want to paint in light and shadows. The only general rule you want to follow is making sure the painting is darkest at the very top and bottom and lightest towards your horizon. Once you're happy with your painting, leave it to dry before starting on the next lesson. 6. Painting the Boat: Before you start this lesson, make sure your painting is completely dry. If it isn't, then the boat will bleed outwards into the background and that will ruin the effect. We're now switching over to using a pointed brush in size three or whatever small brush you wish to use for details. In this class, we're going to be painting the silhouette of a sailboat on top of the water. To do that, first, we are going to be mixing up our black out of ultramarine blue and burnt umber and a bit of permanent rose to black, a slightly purpley pinkish tint to help harmonize it with the rest of the painting. We're going to start by painting the base of the boat to get the position. I'm painting mine on the right side of the painting, just slightly lower down than halfway down the paper. You can paint the base of the boat by imagining your painting addition shape and then filling it in or an upside down trapezium if you're into baths. Our boat has to sales. We're going to start on the larger sale, and we're starting at the top of the sale, placing this about halfway along the width of the boat and drawing downwards from the top to the base of the boat, curving the line ever so slightly. Here. I'm just painting over my line a few times because it wasn't very smooth. If you nailed it the first time, then you don't need to do that. Then we're going to paint at the bottom of the sale, starting where the line we just painted meets the base of the boat and painting outwards to the right-hand side just past the edge of the boat. Then we're going to link these two lines together and fill in the sale. I'm going to say now that this is not intended to be an exact replica of any specific type of boat. So please don't worry too much about whether your boat is correct. All we want to do is create the general impression of a boat with the silhouette. Basically, people just need to be able to look at the painting and go, yeah, that's about they don't need to be able to name the exact model and make of the boat. I'm painting all of this straight off with a brush. If you would feel more confident to using a pencil to draw the shape in and then painted. Feel free to do that. Now we're ready to paint in the second sale, starting from the top of the boat, I'm painting a curved line down to meet the bottom of our other sale. Then we're painting another curved line on the outside of that, which should make a thin sideways triangle shape. And then we just want to paint that in lastName. We're going to add in a little bit of reflection. This is going to help blend the boat into the rest of the painting. At the moment, the boat looks very harsh against the background. So adding some reflection will help to soften that. We can add to that reflection by taking our black and painting tiny little waves using side-to-side brushstrokes with the very tip of the brush. Try to get these nines to look as thin as possible. The line should be widest at the base of the boat and get narrower the further away they get so that they sold to replicate the triangular silhouette of the boat. Once you're happy with your boat, maybe your painting to dry before starting on the next lesson. 7. Adding the Birds: Now we're ready to add the birds, make sure your painting is fully dry. Before starting on this step, you will probably need to lean your hand on the painting to paint the birds. So if your boat is still wet, then you might accidentally smudge it. We're going to paint the birds using the same black we used for the boat, using the very tip of the brush, I'm going to paint a few bird silhouette around the top of the boat. The buds silhouettes are the classic shape you will have seen before. Painted two arches for the wings with a little blob in the middle to show where the body is. Use a very delicate touch when painting the birds, because we want the lines to be as fine as possible as the background is very soft and blended. I decided to add some birds in because these will help to show where the sky is versus where the C is. The buds are also going to help out some depth to the painting. Next, we're going to paint some birds flying in a V formation. Here, we're going to start with the smallest bird at the very tip of the V, which is furthest away from us. And gradually adding the birds either side, they should be getting slightly bigger the further out from the center they are, because those are the ones that are closest to us. As the birds get bigger, you also want to start adding a tiny bit more detail. Nothing too extreme. As you can see, I've painted the smallest bird using the traditional arches as it's very far away. Whereas the bird slightly closer to us, have a more defined shape to the body and a little bit more definition to the wings as well. Try to keep your hold on the brush as gentle as possible. You want to be barely skimming the tip of the brush over the paper so that you're making nice fine lines. Next, we're going to paint the birds on the other side of the V formation. Still making sure that the birds get gradually bigger the closer they are to the top of the painting, because those are the birds that are closest to us. You may notice that unlike with the boat, when not going to add reflections for the birds, you can't do these if you want. I decided not to because it would just look like there are a bunch of black smudges on the sea. And they wanted to keep the painting looking very soft. Once you're happy with your birds, leave the painting to dry before starting on the next lesson. 8. Paint Splats: To finish off the painting, we're going to add some paint splatter over the top. You don't have to if you don't want to. But I thought it would help to enhance the magical field of the scene. First, we're taking our orange and adding enough water so that we can easily flick the paint at the paper. Then soak your brush in the orange on top the stem of the brush against your finger to flick the paint at the paper. I'm trying to keep the majority of the paint splatter at the bottom of the paper so that it looks a bit more like water droplets, OC spray. Then we're going to do the same thing with the pink. Load up the brush with the pink on target against your finger to flick the paint at the paper. Then I decided to put a few largest brands of paint at the bottom of the painting by painting these in manually with the very tip of my brush. Once you're happy with the look of your painting, leave it to dry completely before peeling off the tape. 9. Class Project: Here is the finished piece up-close for your class project. Try creating your own watercolor sunset by following along with my instructions. Don't forget to post your results down below, as I'd love to see them. If you post a result on Instagram, do tag me at art of Emily curtis. Do leave a review as it helps me out a lot. And if there's anything you want me to do a class on, let me know. You can find more of my work on Instagram and Tiktok at out of MIT Curtis. And on my website, WW dot md hyphen Both WW dot Emily curtis dot out. I hope you enjoyed this class and I'll see you in the next one.