How to

How To Paint “Palm Tree Bay” – Acrylic Painting Tutorial For Beginners


In this step-by-step acrylic painting tutorial, you will learn how to paint a beautiful scene called “Palm Tree Bay.” This tutorial will guide beginners through the process of painting palm trees in front of a bay with sparkling turquoise waters. The combination of light turquoise blues and dark greens creates a happy and cheerful atmosphere in the painting.

Materials Needed

Before we begin, make sure you have the following materials:

  • Acrylic paints (Liquitex BASICS recommended)
  • Brushes (angle brush, fan brush, flat brush, round brush, etc.)
  • Canvas or painting surface
  • Palette for mixing colors
  • Water cup and paper towels for cleaning brushes

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now let’s dive into the painting process:

Step 1: Paint Background

  1. Apply a thin layer of water to the canvas using a clean wet brush or a fine mist sprayer. This will help with the blending of the background and the first layer of the water.
  2. Load your palette with light blue permanent, titanium white, and bright aqua green.
  3. Use a 3/4″ flat wash brush loaded with the aqua, blue, and white colors. Start at the top of the canvas and paint left and right strokes, covering the entire canvas. Keep the paint thin to maintain the water-like effect.
  4. Use a variety of blues and a higher proportion of white to create streaks and texture in the background. Avoid over-blending to retain the vibrant blue and turquoise colors.
  5. Let the background dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 2: Paint Land

  1. Mix hooker’s green hue permanent and unbleached titanium on your palette.
  2. Use a #8 round brush to paint a bottom land area, around 1/4″ high, with a wavy and uneven top.
  3. Use a t-square ruler or straight edge to create a slightly lower land area in the middle of the canvas.
  4. Mix a lighter green by adding more unbleached titanium to hooker’s green hue permanent.
  5. Use the straight edge to paint a land line across the canvas, ensuring the bottom edge is straight and horizontal. Make the top part wavy and uneven, but not as tall as the bottom land area.

Step 3: Paint Water Texture

  1. Load your palette with turquoise blue and mix it with titanium white to lighten the color.
  2. Use a #8 round brush to paint “water lines” starting from the bottom of the water area. Paint loose, thick left and right strokes.
  3. Paint thinner and denser horizontal water lines in the distance to create depth. Make the lines smaller in the distance and larger at the bottom.
  4. Add white water lines, adjusting the brightness with a bit of turquoise if needed. Paint larger and thicker water lines at the bottom and smaller and thinner ones in the distance.
  5. Keep some areas of the water blank to avoid making the painting look too busy.

Step 4: Paint Palm Trunks

  1. Mix burnt umber and mars black to create a very dark brown color.
  2. Start at the base of each palm trunk, making them slightly thicker. Paint upwards, allowing the edges to be wavy and uneven.
  3. The trunks should go almost to a point at the top and curve inward towards each other. They should reach over halfway up the sky.
  4. While the brown paint is still wet, use a 3/8″ angle brush and unbleached titanium to paint the texture of the palm trunks.
  5. Start at the bottom and paint curved strokes using the angle brush. The beige color should blend slightly with the dark brown. Repeat this process for all palm trunks.

Step 5: Paint Palm Fronds

  1. Use a #8 round brush and hooker’s green hue permanent mixed with a little mars black to paint the center lines of each palm frond.
  2. Start at the top tip of the palm trunk and paint radial lines going in different directions.
  3. Load your 3/8″ angle brush with hooker’s green hue permanent mixed with titanium white (3 parts white, 1 part green).
  4. Use the tip of the brush to drag strokes outwards, creating the leaves on the palm fronds.
  5. Paint a variety of greens on each frond to add color variation and make them stand out from one another.
  6. Repeat this process for all palm fronds, using darker colors for shadowy areas.

Step 6: Paint Sun

  1. Use a #4 round brush and titanium white to paint a small circle in the upper right part of the sky.
  2. Optional: Create “dry brush strokes” around the sun by loading a small amount of white on the brush and wiping off the excess. Paint circular strokes around the sun to add a glowing effect.

Step 7: Paint Reflection

  1. Paint white reflection lines under the sun, creating a bright reflecting area on the water. Paint left and right strokes to simulate a sunlit reflection.

Step 8: Paint Distant Palm Trees

  1. Mix a light brown color (2 parts titanium white, 1 part burnt umber) on your palette.
  2. Paint three small tree trunks on the land in the distance. Make them wider at the base and thinner at the top, with a slight bend/sway.
  3. Mix a light green color (2 parts white, 1 part hooker’s green) on your palette.
  4. Use the #8 round brush to paint palm leaves on the distant trees. Paint small lines in a fanned direction, keeping them less detailed than the closer palm fronds.

Step 9: Paint Reflection & Water Sparkles

  1. Paint reflections of the distant palm trees in the water using the same colors as before.
  2. Paint vertical lines with brown for the trunks, and then paint small horizontal strokes to represent the palm leaf reflections.
  3. Once dry, paint small white horizontal lines over the reflections.
  4. Add “sparkles” in the tree branches and water using titanium white. Use the #8 round brush for fine details and paint little stars and plus signs.


Congratulations! You have successfully painted “Palm Tree Bay.” Feel free to share your artwork and enjoy the process of creating more beautiful paintings. Happy painting!

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Alexia Young

Hello and welcome to the world of Alexia. I am a passionate and dedicated artist who loves to create beautiful, mesmerizing art for everyone's walls. I believe in the importance of encouraging people to express their creativity and be happy.

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