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Sunset Dunes Painting Lesson

Sunset Dunes DVD
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Paint this sumptuous impressionistic beach scene with ease. Follow along step by step using the resource photos or use the techniques to create something more your own.
Design with large organic shapes
Premixing greys for faster painting
Increasing colour vibrancy
Rich textural brushwork
Step by step video instructions
High quality photo resources
5 comprehensive painting critiques
Student paintings to compare with
Running Time: 60min
View Online or DVD
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Medium: Oil or Acrylic

View Online $35
OR DVD $45
Also allows Download   1-3 week delivery

Paint this sumptuous impressionistic beach scene.


We have a beautiful evening here at the end of summer. I’m going to show you how I approach this, one of my favourite scenes. I’ll be teaching you about designing with large organic shapes, how to use premixed greys to paint faster, using colour variety within those big masses, how I use warm and cool colour contrasts and how to make the colour more vibrant than nature, how to use a variety of brushwork to create really rich textural paintings, which includes using a palette knife and also under-mixing your paint, as opposed to overtaxing it. I’ll also teach you about creating dynamism in your painting using soft edges versus hard edges, and we’ll learn about atmospheric perspective, big light effects and lots more.

First of all lets look at the easel setup. I love painting outdoors, but it is harder than painting in the studio, mainly because you’re racing the sun, or the weather, so whatever setup you use outdoors has to be really efficient to use otherwise you’re making it harder than it needs to be.

So here’s a few things I do to make it easier painting outdoors. First off I have a good sturdy easel that carries my paints and brushes and palette inside it. It’s all there ready to go for when I feel the urge to come out here and paint. This is a french box easel.

The next thing I have is a big mdf board to tape my canvas to. Sometimes I’ll use a canvas board, but usually I use this canvas that I buy in a big roll, cut the size I want and then tape it to the board. There’s another online video showing you how I do that. Using this big board is great for a few reasons. Firstly, if there’s a lot of bright light in the scene this board really helps to cut down the glare into my eyes, so that helps me see the colours on my canvas better. That one’s really very important.

Also, when I’m finished the painting I can carry it around and put it in the car without worrying about paint from the edge of the painting getting smeared over everything.

Lastly, when it comes to photographing your painting to put it on your website or whatever, it helps to have it on this big board because again it blocks light coming from behind the painting causing which would cause the camera to underexpose the shot.

Something else that can help is a painting umbrella to stop sunlight (or rain or snow) from falling directly on the canvas. Great to have, but not good in strong winds. If you do use one of these, a word of warning, ALWAYS remove your umbrella before you step away from the easel for lunch or for a chat. Even on a seemingly calm day. That’s what the wind waits for, for you to step away and then it says ‘Aha!’ Woosh. And then it’s 30 minutes cleaning up your painting and your brushes and your palette.

Ok some other things, I have my plastic bag here for the paper towels that I use. Always tape the bag down or put a rock or sand in the bottom so the wind won’t blow it up onto your palette, which normally sits on the tray of the easel. Also, squeeze the paper towels flat so they find it harder to reel off in the wind.

Oh and here’s the biggy. If you can at all, try to make sure you place your canvas in the shade, so turn it away from the sun or go under a tree, or use the umbrella, whatever you have to do to get the canvas in the shade. If you don’t do that and you’re not used to it your painting will end up very dark, because it’ll look fine on the easel in the sunlight which is really powerful light, but get it back home indoors and it’ll look really dark. Trust me on that one.

Of course you don't need to head outside to learn from this project, but I recommend getting out there at some point. Outdoor painting is scary, but exciting, and in the end, so much more rewarding than studio painting.


  Resource images - click to enlarge
  Resource Photo
  Resource Photo
  Resource Photo

Student Gallery  

Painting Critiques

student painting

"Dunes Workshop65" 9x16 Acrylic on paper by Fernando Vallejos

Great work Fernando. Especially impressed with the background sky and hills - veeeery good. Some of the grasses in the foreground could be simplified a little with a few large strokes to combine small sections into single large clumps. That can help it read better from a distance.


student painting

"Beach Dune" 9 x 12 Oil on Canvas by Kevin Kennedy

Some beautiful work here Kevin - great paint control. A shame you made that foreground clump a perfect quarter of the canvas really - just a little more added to the right side of it will break that rectangular shape and make it look more natural.


student painting

"Beach Dune" 8x16" Oil on Canvas by Laurena Beirnes

Really good work Laurena, good colour and drawing and brushwork. Would suggest you could darken the shadows in the dunes a little with glazing purple on sand and brown on grass. Also could break that big plain shape of beach in shadow by adding a few strips or patches of light. Shape variation. Also a little more colour variation in the shallow water.


student painting

"RR #65, Ruakaka, Dune Grasses, NZ" 600X300mm, water soluble oils on canvas by Mark Price

Very strong work Mark. Bold colour and dynamic shapes, exciting textures in the foreground. Again beware of trimming all the edges of your grasses and making hedgerows. Try to limit your overworking your brushstrokes as this leads to muddy colour. Keep stepping back and viewing it from 10 feet. If a bold stroke looks good from back there, leave it.


student painting

"Sand Dunes" 11x14" Oil on Canvas by Lori Ippolito

Gorgeous painting Lori! Love the different format and what that's done to the foreground shapes. All good. Just take a look at the height of the midground dunes compared to the horizon. They should be higher. Check it in a mirror.


student painting

"June Grass Bay" 9x12" Oil on Panel by Ann Turner

Wow pretty intense in those blues! Kind of fighting with the warms. Would suggest you gray the blues down so there's not such a battle. Perhaps its the photograph though - when taken in low light cameras tend to overcompensate and make the colours too vibrant. Exciting brushwork. Good shapes, if a little symmetrical like a pyramid - beware making straight paths.






Demonstration painting

"Sunset Dunes" 11.5 x 25" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson.

Click to enlarge.
"Sunset Dunes" 11.5 x 25" Oil on Canvas by Richard Robinson.



Annie Hemsley
New Zealand
"Richard Robinson's workshops are a wonderful learning tool. Richard is generous with his knowledge which is bounteous. There is the added advantage of seeing what other artists from around the world produce for each challenge and Richard's critiques are insightful and inspiring. I commend his teaching ability and have learnt much in the art of painting with oils during this course and hope to continue."


All prices are in US Dollars.
View Online requires broadband.
DVD Price excludes shipping.
DVD plays in all regions.
Worldwide delivery in 1-3 weeks.
Full Moneyback Guarantee.

Running Time: 60min
Beginner - Intermediate
Oils or Acrylics

Sunset Dunes DVD


View Online $35
Also allows Download
DVD $45
1-3 week delivery
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