Watercolor Tropical Beach | Daniela Mellen | Skillshare

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Watercolor Tropical Beach

teacher avatar Daniela Mellen, Artist & Author

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

14 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Watercolor Tropical Beach Class Intro

    • 2. Class Supplies

    • 3. Using the Template

    • 4. Step 1: Painting the Sky

    • 5. Step 2: Painting the Water

    • 6. Step 3: Painting the Sand

    • 7. Step 4: Painting the Palm Trunk

    • 8. Step 5: Painting the Palm Fronds

    • 9. Step 6: Painting Details in the Water

    • 10. Step 7: Painting Details in the Sand

    • 11. Step 8: Painting the Seafoam

    • 12. Step 9: Painting Details on the Palm Trunk

    • 13. Step 10: Painting Details on the Palm Fronds

    • 14. Class Wrap Up

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About This Class

Paint a landscape of a lush palm tree, blue sky, and lovely turquoise water in this Tropical Beach Painting Class. 

This Intermediate level class works on creating gradients, texture, and shadow. Using 10 steps, we'll create a lovely painting featuring brilliant colors and peaceful imagery. Instead of filling the entire page, we will create our painting n a circle with palm fronds spilling over.

Using watercolor paints and 8x10 paper, try your hand at this landscape painting.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Daniela Mellen

Artist & Author


I'm an artist and author living in coastal Florida and surrounded by plants, animals, marine life, and the warm sun - all things that inspire me.

I am drawn to creating things and love to get lost in projects. Each day is an opportunity to learn something new, build on existing skills, and branch out to new ones. I was formally trained as an educator which is my passion and incorporating art into teaching makes my life complete.

As of April 2022 I upload classes monthly on Skillshare, but have a catalog of over 180 existing classes. You'll see handmade books, memory keeping, watercolor, acrylic paint, unique art supplies, and photography composition. Thanks for joining me and I look forward to seeing your work.

Check out my blog for additional info on my website dan... See full profile

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1. Watercolor Tropical Beach Class Intro: Hello. I'm Daniella Melon and author and artist here on skill share. Today's class isn't exercise in creating a tropical beach landscape. Using watercolor paints, we'll create a beautiful scene, complete with clear blue waters, a sandy white beach in a palm tree waving in the breeze. We'll focus on using bold colors and simple layers to create radiance in the sky and water . Then we will create texture on the palm fronds and sand. This intermediate watercolor project is created in 10 steps, using shapes and color. To achieve our image, we'll use basic painting supplies like water color pigments in eight by 10 watercolor paper . I've included a template of a Leinart drawing, which you can download and print onto a piece of copy paper. Use this as a template to make your pencil sketch for your class project. Create your own tropical beach using the steps shown. Vary the color choices. To get interesting results. Take a photo of your artwork and posted in the project section. Be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes, and please consider leaving every view. Thanks for watching. Let's get started 2. Class Supplies: the class supplies for our watercolor tropical beach class includes some eight by 10 watercolor paper. And here I have £140 watercolor paper. I have my template, the watercolor tropical beach template which you can find in the project section. You just download this and print this onto a piece of standard copy paper and it has our image here. You'll need a pair of scissors if you're gonna cut out the template. Um, a pencil. An eraser. Here I have a small jug of water. I also use a large jug of water when I'm doing my painting. So I have one to clean my brush and want to make sure my brushes pristine. And then I have my watercolor paints. I'll include a list of those in our class supply sheet in case you want to know the exact colors that I'm using. But any colors within that family will work or use your own. In the next chapter, we'll talk about using the template 3. Using the Template: to use the template. There are a few ways you can just use it as a reference and sketch out your image accordingly. Freehand. You can take it and cut along the outer edge. The silhouette trace along that and then cut the individual parts and trace along them. Another method you can use that I like to use is I use a light pad, but you can use any light source a glass table with a light underneath it, or even a window would work. So what I do for that? As I take my light pad, which is just my light source, and I turned it on, I set my template down, and then I put my image, my paper on top off where I want the image to be drawn. So I have some wiggle room. I can make it at the top of the page bottom of the page in the center of the page, and likewise, I can alter where I wanted, um, on the side of the page this way. So once I have my image where I want it, I'll just take a pencil and lightly go over those lines, and here I'll speed this up and you'll see the image as it's being made, but in a much quicker fashion. Once my I have my image all traced out, I'll remove the template and the light source and then with my eraser, all race, any parts that I don't want to keep or any stutters I made with my pencil. And this part is best. If you take your time and make sure you have the image that you want. You can still modify it somewhat, but it's nice to have a nice starting base, so once we have that done, we'll be ready to start painting our image. 4. Step 1: Painting the Sky: to start our painting, we're gonna start with sky and we're gonna create graduated source of color will start with the darkest color up top. Go to the latest color and we'll actually leave a little space of pure white paper on the horizon line. We're also going to have clouds, but they're not gonna be with very distinct lines. It's gonna be like a beautiful blue sky day. So the first thing I'm gonna do with my large brush here my number 10 is I'm just going to saturate the sky area where we want there to be color. I'm gonna be careful around going on the branches here. It's okay if I accidentally get them, but I'm gonna put my intention to did not saturate that part of the paper. And I'm also gonna leave a little spot around the border because I want to make that nice and sharp That circle that we have once I have that gonna take my color take my wet water wet a little spot of my palette and I'm gonna mix my color Good to use some of the cerulean blue and the next to it. I'm gonna mix a darker section, So I'll take some cerulean and I'll take some ultra Marine blue until it's just a little bit darker than that first color. Go back and clean off my brush and that a little more cerulean blue to that first spot of color and a little more of the ultra Marine blue to that 2nd 1 So now we have a nice intensity. I'm going to switch to a smaller brush. So I'm gonna use my number six brush that has a nice sharp point. And I'm gonna take some of that darker color that we have. And I'm just going very carefully trace around the top edge in small little sections. I can always come back in and add more pigment, but I'm gonna work on making that nice shape around the top of the circle here. I'll do that about halfway down. Then I'll come to the top here before that dries. I'm gonna go in there with some of that cerulean blue that we have and put some spots of that as well, takes a more cerulean and just add a little bit of color, leaving some spots white and want no harsh lines. Continual. Take a little of the darker color that we mixed drop in some pigment just here and there. Then I'll go back to that cerulean blue and continue most of the way down the sky, maybe 3/4 of the way down the sky again leaving some splotches of white paper. When I have it like this, I'm gonna go in there with a wet brush and I'm gonna blend out any edges and using because I diluting the brush, the pigment that's on the brush. I get a little graduation. Then I'll go in with a damp brush and just blend out any of these lines. So there's no harsh lines. Well, take a good look. I'll go back in here, add a little bit of darker pigment up top, and then I'll go back in with some cerulean and just let that blend, putting a few drops of civilian here and there, and then I'll let this nice sky layer completely dry. 5. Step 2: Painting the Water: Now that our sky is dry, we're gonna work on the water And in contrast to the sky, even though we're going to use similar colors, we're gonna make it very vivid. So the first thing we're gonna do is wet our paper again with my large brush. I'm gonna wet the area where I want the water to be up until this little phone line here. Then again, once again with my never six brush. I'm gonna go when it makes my color. I'm going to start with this ultra marine blue, and then I'll mix a little section of cerulean blue. And then I'm gonna take a little of this green this veridian, Hugh, and I'm gonna mix that in with our ultra Marine and I'll mix in just a little with the cerulean. So it has a little bit of a turquoise sea color. I'm gonna start with the light color. Um, and I'm just gonna go up to the baseline here again. I'm trying to leave a little white section on the horizon, so just slightly below that baseline, and I'm gonna pull some color. Little jagged spots, something to be in half inch something to be an inch or so just like this, and then I'll put a little kind of in the center in little spots again. The ocean or the Gulf are not solid colors, and I'm trying to depict the different depths the way the light reflects off it, got a rinse out my brush and then take some of the color that we already put on the paper closest to the shoreline here and just blend it out in sections. And that's a very soft look. We're gonna build up layers each time, and our goal was to get some really nice, vibrant layers. So I'm gonna go in with that deeper color that we mixed, um, with the blue, the ultra Marine blue and the Veridian hue, and I'm gonna overlap in some spots and just drag it in others. So we're already starting to see a variation in color in sections. Really? Then I'm gonna go in. There were just some straight cerulean brute blue on my brush and just drop in some little spots. That nice blue color you can see. There's just a short little variation with the color that we mixed with a little bit of green, and then I'm gonna go in there with a little bit of the straight color. The ultra Marine as well. Just drop in little sections of that, creating a little shadow here and there. The only hard edge I want is on the horizon, the top line. So I'm just pulling some color just like this. And then as it gets closer to the shore, just gotta lighten it a little with some water on my brush. Blend that out. We'll go back in there with some cerulean from our first mixture. Then with a cleaner brush. I'll just blend that out and we'll let this first layer of our ocean dry. 6. Step 3: Painting the Sand: So for our next layer, we want to make a nice white sandy beach. We're gonna be sure to keep that little layer completely white, and we'll work on foam on that later. But we want to keep a sandy beach very late, so I'll go in there, which is some water and wet the area, mostly the area where I wanted make my beach now mix of color. Here, I'll put a little puddle of water, do a little yellow Oakar, and then we'll mix a little sepia in with that from there will take a little bit of this ultra Marine blue, and they will dilute that with water further. So there we have a nice little tone toe work with. Go to switch to a smaller brush my number six brush. Make sure that's nice and clean, and then we'll go in there and pick up some of this very light color for the beach, and I'm gonna try and work on the outline first. Well, get a lot of the area that has the dry paper in it, and it'll bleed right into that area that we wet. And then I'll come over here and work on that lower perimeter. Then take my brush and work on that area where it meets the foam of the the ocean. Now, in her sketch, we also included a little section of a little shadow from the palm tree. So for that, I want to really put a little more pigment in there. So it's this section here that will be nice and light and the other areas that will be a little darker. Gonna go in there, just a little sepia on my brush, make a sharp corner and just work on that outline a tad, some sections of the bottom here, Why? Wanted darkest? And then this layer is done. We'll let that completely dry. 7. Step 4: Painting the Palm Trunk: So now work in our tree trunk. Gonna take my number six brush and what it is very carefully with the trunk right to the top Here where I want the branches to connect It's not a very large area I'm gonna take my tiny brush here My number one brush and I'm gonna mix just some yellow Oakar with a little bit of sepia just to take some of that yellow nous out of the yellow Oakar in a little bit of the blue again I would have taken and a drop in the color And this is gonna be my lightest color. So I'm gonna drop it in on the right hand side, creating the outline again. No harsh lines, no straight lines, Just little rounded edges, just like on a palm. It's kind of smooth. I'll get my brush in the water and pull that color. It will be a little lighter on the right hand side. Then I'm gonna reach in here with my sepia and I'm gonna mix morphs that sepia into this portion of the color. We mix the yellow ochre color and I'm gonna create that outline on the left hand side and that's where our shadow is gonna be. So I'll keep going back in there with a little darker color each time with a very thin line and trace the bottom of the tree. And I'm just gonna blend that out slightly. I kind of like some of those ridges, so that will be our first layer of our tree trunk. 8. Step 5: Painting the Palm Fronds: so now will make the first layer of our tree Branches are palm fronds with my number six brush. I'm gonna make some color, Gonna take some of this yellow green and I'm gonna mix it with some deep green over here. Gives me a nice base color Could add a little bit of water So I have a light color from that I'm gonna rinse my brush and it's got a wet the paper in the sections where I want the frond gonna switch to my smaller brush and I'm going to start at the top of each frond. So the part that's closest to the sun and I'm gonna add my color started the center of the tree and and my color out created that line and then just gotta pull color from that center line down. Some strokes will overrun the area that we colored for the sky just slightly. We'll continue that and we'll do this for all the fronds. So we outline the top closest to the sky and then we just pull the color down. Kind of like in the palm fronds strokes. By making these little edges, it doesn't look like a coloring book. It looks a little more organic, and I'll be sure to do that top layer as well, and I'll pull those friends out from the tree. Now, while it's still a little wet, gonna mix in a little more that deep green and I'll go back in in the top of a palm fronds . We'll make that line and I'll add just a few fronds pulling out from it, and I'll do this on all of the branches. This creates a nice texture as well as a more deeper color. Your brush point is kind of two rounded. When you make your strokes, just add a little bit more pigment. Just enough You could control, but not so much that it dries too quickly on the paper, and then we'll let this layer dry, will come back and start adding our detail work. 9. Step 6: Painting Details in the Water: for our detail work. We're gonna start with the ocean here. My very small brush. I'm gonna go in and this is gonna be a wet on dry technique because our papers dry, we're gonna add some wet pigment. So I'll go in there with this dark blue this Prussian blue, and I'll mix in a little bit of my deep green with that. So I get kind of a dark turquoise and I'll play around with the combination and the proportions of blue to green until I get a color that I like. That's a very green. There we go. A little more blue here. So with a very sharp point of my brush, I'm gonna go in here and very carefully create just a little bit of an outline the horizon And then again, with just a sharp point my brush just gonna make some little sections here, not straight lines. This little section is of deep dark color, and I'm gonna try and overlap some of the existing sections that I'm gonna go in and with my Prussian blue alone gonna go over those colors We just added and extend those little dark shadows that we made then I'll have a few. Besides, you know, put a little bit of water on our color and go right into the horizon line as well. Take my Web brush and any lines that are a little too harsh. I'll go over blending out somewhat. I'll go in there with some of my ultra Marine blue, put some sections of that as well, and again, this gives a little intensity in a little interest. Then I'll go in there with some cerulean blue and do the same again. It's nice if I overlap with some existing segments and then with a very sharp point with my cerulean blue, I'm just gonna outline the part of the circle the boundary where we have our ocean. There, any spots that it's too thick where it appears to forestall, just blend it out and we let this layer dry 10. Step 7: Painting Details in the Sand: So now I want to go in here and work on my sand layer. What I want to do is create a little border between the froth of the ocean, and I want to create a shadow for that tree. So with a sharp point of my number one brush, I'm gonna take some yellow Oakar and sepia, and I want a color that's just a little bit darker than the tree. The edge of the tree. They want to happen. I'll make a very sharp point and then barely touching the paper. I'm gonna outline sand here where it comes from the water, and I don't want a straight line at any point. I'd rather have little squiggly lines. From there. I'll rinse off my brush and just with a wet brush, just blend out just slightly. That color that we put on that little line going back in with that same color, I'm gonna create a very light line. So I'm gonna move that color. They're there to the side of my palette at a little water to it, and I'm gonna create a nice, thick base and then make it skinnier as it goes up. And then I'll just feel leading with dabs of water or witness from my brush. It's OK to leave some spots of sand and then I'll create the fronds. So I'll start. I'll use the same for sheet seizure. I'll start with the top of each frond, but I want to put it on just shadow, and then I'll go in and just create the little strokes from here. I want to use that same color, or maybe even just add a little sepia to it. So it's a teeny bit darker and with a very sharp point. I'm just gonna make a few little dots here and there in the sand, and they'll look like either stones or shells can put a few on that shadow and a few up against the water line. And then, other than that, we have a nice, pristine beach. I also go in there with a little darker color, little black in a very sharp point, and I'll just add either five or seven little darker spots here and there, and that adds a little interest in a little texture to our sand, and we'll let this layer dry 11. Step 8: Painting the Seafoam: So now we're gonna add details to our sea foam layer. We're gonna mix a very light grey. So here I have some black on my palette. Just gonna mix it with water. I don't want too much pigment or water on my brush. I'm on a very light color. And the first thing I'm gonna do is outline the top where this little foam meets the the water in the ocean. And I wanted to be squiggly. No straight lines just like that. Then I'm going to take some of that color and pull it aside and add even more water to it. So it becomes even later. And I'm just gonna create a nice little boundary on the base here. Very light. It will dry lighter than it's being painted on, and then we're gonna blend it out. Besides, I gotta go with darker grey further away from the eye. And then as it gets closer to us, I'll just blend that out slightly. And there we have our C phone layer 12. Step 9: Painting Details on the Palm Trunk: toe adds some texture to that tree trunk. What we're gonna do is strengthen that outline, and then we're gonna add little segments to the tree. So with some sepia, I'm gonna mix it in with this yellow Oakar and sepia mixture that we already have on our paper. Get a very sharp point on that brush and just very carefully outline it again. No straight lines on the tree. And we're trying to create a graduated size difference from skinny at the top two. Nice, thick at the bottom. From here, we're gonna just every so often, just pulling a few little lines, some sections, just one line. Others, too. And we'll do that on the left side first. Then I'll go back sharp in my point of my brush. Do the same thing here on the right. Helps create the rounded shape of the trunk. Then I'm gonna go in with a larger brush. This time I'm gonna use a number four brush. Get a wet the brush. I don't want it sopping wet. Just stamp and I'm going to go in and pick up some of that color. I had a little more water, then a little more yellow Oakar and a little more sepia so that I have it on my brush And if I push down on my brush I get a little shape So I'm gonna start at the top push down on my my brush skip the space And each time I make a difference I press down I'm gonna press down a little harder to make the section a little bigger And I'm gonna carry it on throughout the tree Rinse my brush and going there with my number one brush the same color and I'm gonna just create those set segments. I want them taller at the top, almost triangular shaped. And then I'll go in there with some sepia and just pull some color around building on that layer. We already have like to go in with a little black on the tip of my brush that I've watered down. Just add a few little spots of black to bleed into the color, mostly on the left hand side will create more of a shadow and we'll let this layer dry 13. Step 10: Painting Details on the Palm Fronds: for the last detail work that we're going to do. We're gonna work on the palm fronds. So using my number one brush, I'm gonna make some of this deep green and some of the ultra marine green as well. You could make a very sharp point of my brush, and then I'm going to start at the top of each frond and just pull down that color, creating another layer of a frond. I'll go back, do this to all the layers. I wanna have a nice sharp point at the end of each stroke. So starting with a thicker, um, spot and ending with a nice sharp point and then I'll do the other side of the tree again. I'm starting at the top, most top of each frond. So the topic is gonna be the darkest. So here I have my palm frond gonna go in there with some of this yellow green. Just put it on the side of my palette. Here, it's gonna pull again. I don't want too much brush. Too much pigment on my brush. Just gonna pull a few strokes again, trying to keep a nice sharp point at the bottom and this will give me a little bit of a base, almost like a little shadow from the palm fronds with a nice light green. And here we have our watercolor tropical beach scene. 14. Class Wrap Up: So here we have our watercolor beach scene. It's dry. I'm just gonna go around and erase any pencil marks that remain. So here we have the nice blue waters of the Gulf. We have our graduated sky and then are very brilliant tree on a nice sandy beach. It's a very soothing image. There are ways you can take the same template and the same image and create just a variation. And instead of using in the middle of the day, you could do a sunset. So here I had a graduation of color, similar to the one we used here. Except I started at the bottom. I started with my reddish orange and built my way up here to the top, because it's a sunset that the water is no longer turquoise sea. So I just made it kind of purple, with just some elements from the turquoise in it. And because it's evening and the light is much less, the tree looks more dark than it does light and vibrant. Same shape, same silhouette. So it's easily recognizable as a palm tree and the sandy beach. I hope youll try your hand at one of these tropical scenes and post your work in the project section or on social media. Be sure to follow me here on skill share to get notified of future classes and please consider leaving a review. Thanks for watching.