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DIY Coastal Painting on Wood

Summer is not complete without a beautiful piece of coastal art in your home. Why not make your own to showcase on a wall or on a shelf? Create this delightful little coastal painting on a slice of live edge basswood with this simple acrylic painting tutorial!


This painting comes together pretty quickly, but you need the right materials. Here is a list of everything I used and a link to where you can purchase these items right on Amazon. For the paints, I used the brands that I have currently on hand, which are both Golden and Artist Loft, however for the sake of ease, I have included an Artist Loft set that has a variety of colors. If one color does not match up exactly, you can use a similar color. For example, you could switch out Raw Sienna for Yellow Ochre and still get the same effect.


Once you have all of the materials you need you can now begin your painting. Start by placing your basswood slice securely on an easel. You can also place your piece of basswood on an old towel and paint at a table as well if you do not have access to an easel. Use a larger rounded filbert head paint brush and paint a layer of gesso to prime the surface of the basswood. Use the edge of the filbert brush to carefully outline the edges so you do not go all the way to the edge of the wood slice.


Once your basswood slice is prepped and ready, now you can begin your painting. Follow these step by step instructions

  • First, place a strip of blue painters tape to tape off the top third of the image

  • Next, mix your two blue colors. I used Cerulean Blue, Phthalo Green and Titanium White to make my two shades of turquoise blue for both the water and the sky. You want to mix the shade of blue you want first, and then after that is complete, add in the desired amount of white to create the lightness of both the sky and the ocean. Use your palette knife for mixing all of your paint colors and just wash it off in-between mixing. **Another handy tip is to keep a small water bottle on hand so you can spray your paint periodically to keep the paint moist so it does not dry out. **

  • After you have your colors mixed and the sky taped off, you want to paint in the sky with your lighter shade of blue. Try to match the outlines of where the gesso was painted to make sure you cover up the white from the initial first gesso layer. After you have your sky painted in, you can add in some Titanium White to make the appearance of clouds. Drag your paint brush in a horizontal wisping motion. Since your blue paint is not dry yet, it will blend in nicely to the blue and create a transparency to the white clouds. Once you are satisfied with how your clouds look, you can use a hair dryer to lightly dry your sky. Once complete you can very carefully pull away your painters tape.

  • Once your paint is completely dry to the touch, you can now tape off the rest of your painting. You will want to place a strip of tape now on the bottom third of your bass wood, and another strip to match the perfect line you made with the sky. Don't worry about taping over the paint you already made with your sky. As long as the paint is completely dry you shouldn't have any peeling. With that said, I never press too hard with the blue tape. You want it secure, but not stuck on there so hard that when you peel it won't come off easily.

  • Take the darker shade of blue that you mixed and now paint in the middle section of your painting which will be the ocean. Again, match up the sides to make sure you cover your gesso outline that you made. Use even strokes and a slightly larger sized brush to make sure that the paint goes on fairly quickly. The smaller the brush the harder to fill a larger space. Save your smaller brushes for the detail work. Once completed, go ahead and use your hair dryer again to dry the middle section. Peel off your tape once complete.

  • Once you have your sky and ocean done, now you will paint the sand. For this you want to mix some Titanium White with a little bit of Burnt Sienna, and Raw Sienna ( You can also put a little Yellow Ochre in there if you don't have Raw Sienna ). You can also use Burnt Umber instead of Burnt Sienna if you want your sand a little bit more of a cool tone than a warm tone. A little bit of paint goes a long way, so I would add the color into the white, and then continue to add color as needed to get to the right shade and darkness. After you have the right shade that you desire for your sand, now you can tape off the bottom third with painters tape and tape in the sand section. Use a hair dryer once you are done to finish drying the paint, and then go ahead and remove that last strip of tape very gently.

  • Now that you have the three sections of the painting done, its time to add in the details. For this you will want to mix a sage green color for the grass in the sand dune. I used a little bit of Burnt Umber mixed with Phthalo Green and some white. Go ahead and paint in a sand dune by making a rounded shape at the top of your sand with the original sand color you created ( You should still have some left on your paint palette ) You can spray with a little bit of water if needed to keep the paint from drying out. I used a little bit of the Burnt Umber as a low light to shade on the bottom of where my sand dunes were. There is no wrong way to do this. The general rule to shading is use your low light on the bottom, and you can mix a little bit of white on the top. This will help to create dimension in your painting.

  • Once your sand dunes are created, now you can add in your sage green to indicate some grass. I used a medium flat brush and created upward brush strokes, but you could also just use a fine tip paint brush. I would vary the brush strokes here from a little fatter brush stroke to thinner lines. Also you will want to use more than one color here. I would use the green as base, and then add in some low lights and high lights with your Burnt Umber and your Titanium White. Once your grass looks good, go ahead and add in the top of your cat tails. Just a small stroke with a thin tipped brush is all you need to create the look.

  • Next you will want to add in your flowers. This is the fun and easy part. Find something round and tiny. I used the back of a screw bit, but you could use anything here, a pencil eraser, a q-tip, a small paint pen. Pick what ever is round and tiny that you can dip in paint. Make your flowers by stamping three to four round circles next to each other. Spread out your flowers and make them more organic in nature. Again, there is no right or wrong way to do this. You are going for what looks good to you. Once you have all of the white flowers painted in, now you can add the centers with the tip of a small round brush. Just a dot of paint is all you need. I used Raw Sienna, but again you could use Yellow Ochre also, or how about gold? That would also look nice and add a bit of metallic shimmer.

  • Once your flowers are painted in you can now finish up any last details in the sand or grass. Finish off the painting by painting two small birds and a small sailboat in the distance. The birds are created by making two small arched lines connected to one another. I used a mix of the dark blue color from the ocean mixed with a little bit of burnt umber. For the sailboat, you want to make three simple shapes. Make a small half oval for the bottom, and two skinny triangles that are roughly the same size that are right next to one another. Use straight Titanium White. Make the lines that face one another on the triangles vertical parallel lines. Use a bit of Burnt Umber to make the pole down the center, and to shade on the bottom side. You will also want to add a few quick little lines of white and Burnt Umber to indicate movement in the water. Blend these out a bit to look natural


Once you are happy with your finished painting now you will want to sign it and seal it. You can use a small paint pen to sign your painting, or even a very fine tip sharpy. Make sure everything is super dry before you add the glossy varnish over the top. When you are ready to varnish, use a foam applicator for easy clean-up. The Foam paint applicators apply a nice and even amount of varnish and you can just throw them away when you are finished. Try to add a nice even coat and let it dry thoroughly. I like to add two coats for extra shine.


When your painting is dry and ready to go there are two ways to display it. Since this is a smaller painting, you can display it on an easel and place on a shelf. That always looks nice, and is a unique and original way to display your beautiful work. The other way to display is to hang your painting. I find that the OOK brand sawtooth hangers work great and comes with the nails ready to go. Just center your sawtooth hanger on the back and gently hammer in the nails. Now you are ready to hang and enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this painting tutorial and found it easy to follow. I would love to see what you have created, so please send me photos of your work. You may be featured on our Instagram!! please email images of your work to

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