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Classic: How To Paint A Seascape

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Learn from Steve Curl on how to paint a seascape and a lighthouse through careful planning and determining different values before moving to more advanced watercolor techniques, including the variegated wash (“wet-on-wet”) technique and the scumbling (“dry-on-dry”) technique. Want to watch the video version? This tutorial is also available to members of our Watercolor University.

Materials used:

  • Reference picture of a seascape with a lighthouse in the background. You can print one out here.
  • A book of Arches cold press watercolor paper (140lb, size 16″ x 12″)
  • Scrap paper or a sketchbook
  • Two L-shaped “angle bands” made from paper or cardboard (as a viewfinder)
  • Masking tape (width 1″)
  • HB pencil
  • Kneaded eraser
  • Painting palette for watercolor paints
  • A container of water
  • A towel or rag to rest brushes on
  • Tissue or paper towel

Paints (Holbein Artist’s Watercolors)

  • Cadmium Yellow Deep
  • Cadmium Yellow Orange
  • Cadmium Red Deep
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson
  • Permanent Violet
  • Ultramarine Deep
  • Cobalt Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Peacock Blue
  • Sap Green
  • Hooker’s Green
  • Yellow Ochre
  • Burnt Sienna
  • Burnt Umber
  • Sepia
  • Payne’s Gray


  • Mop brush (1″ flat)
  • Fibonacci Kolinsky-Sable: Round brush (size 14)
  • Synthetic round brush (size 8)
  • Synthetic round brush (size 4)
  • Synthetic round brush (size 2)
  • Synthetic round brush (size 1)
  • Cotman synthetic round brush (size 2)