How To Paint A Flamingo Sunset

How To Paint A Flamingo Sunset

Learn how to paint a sunset with water, palm trees and flamingo silhouettes. This painting looks like it might be hard for the beginner but it is so easy! It may be classified as a Christmas painting because there are lights and Santa hats but you can definitely omit the hats and replace the Christmas lights with clear white bulbs! This tutorial includes a full video, materials list and step by step picture directions. Make sure you click on the “I tried it” pin on the bottom to upload your painting and see everyone else’s painting as well! 

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Acrylic Paint (To get the deep magenta and red tones in this sunset, I felt it was appropriate to use Liquitex acrylic paint and not craft paint. I used the brand Liquitex Basics. The 30 piece comes with that beautiful magenta color. Honestly, I never buy this 30 pack. I buy the simple 12 pack and then the magenta separately at a craft store.)

Paint Colors (Parentheses are if you’re using Apple Barrel craft paint):

  • Mars Black (Black)
  • Deep Violet (Purple Iris)
  • Quin Magenta (Fushia or Bright Magenta)
  • Cad Red Medium (Flag Red)
  • Cobalt Blue (Too Blue or Bright Blue)
  • Titanium White (White)
  • Primary Yellow (Bright Yellow)
  • Light Green (green was used for some of the lights)

Canvas (I used a 16″ x 20″ canvas. Use whatever size or object you want! I love my users that paint theirs on rocks!!!!)

Various Size Brushes (Including a large flat brush/base-coating brush .)

Protected work space 


Tabletop Easel (I always recommend painting on an easel for best perspective. I’ve mastered painting flat for video/photo purposes. If you do paint flat, make sure you take ten steps back once in awhile to look at your painting!)





Quick note: my horizon line is about 7″ from the bottom. I didn’t take a picture of this but I measured and made a little mark so I knew how far my sky was going down.

I used a large flat brush and painted the very top of my canvas with mars black (about a half inch).

1/2″ of Mars Black


Then I rinsed off my brush and loaded the tip of it with deep violet. I painted about six inches down with this color. I also blended it up into the black.

Deep Violet – Blended with the black


My strokes did not stay completely horizontal. I started going in an “arc”. You can do this or keep it straight! 


Then I rinsed my brush and added Quin Magenta on the tip of the brush. (With this large brush, you don’t have to load the entire thing with paint, just the tip)

Add Quin Magenta



Then I cleaned the brush again and added Cad Red. I went all the way down to where the horizon line will be

My horizon line is about 7″ (1/3) of the way up!


Paint the stars next!  I used a smaller flat brush, watered down white paint and I “flicked” the brush for the stars. You’ll get tiny dots of splatter paint on the sky.

Smaller flat brush and white paint
Flick the star splatters on the canvas.


Then I painted the sun. This was kept white for now…

Paint half circle for sun


Next I painted the water in horizontally with cobalt blue. I never worry about water reflections or anything until I get the whole base covered.

Cobalt blue and a 1/4″ flat brush

All cobalt blue. Bottom 1″ blank.


Allow that blue to dry! Next I got my smaller flat brush back, loaded it with white and painted the reflection under the sun. These are just small horizontal/zig-zag lines. 


Then I made little horizontal dashes in the water to give some indication of water texture. I used white, then magenta, violet and red for these lines. 


Add more lines in the water with red, magenta and violet.


I painted the sun in yellow as well as the reflection lines just below the sin. I think it can also work as a moon if you want to leave it white instead!  


The bottom of the canvas was painted black. I also made the land look kind of “bumpy”.



Next I used chalk to draw the palm trees.  Follow along with my chalk drawings below.

Use chalk to draw the trees


Then I painted in the trees! Use any brush you’d like for this, just make sure it’s small enough to get those small lines. I used a small flat brush.



I used a small flat brush for the leaves. Start from the main line and “wisp” each palm leaf line to a point. One line at a time.


Then I added some white on the leaves. This will make the palm tree “pop” a bit more because of the dark background.   

Add some white to the leaves


I painted the second palm tree the same way.    



Then I used a tiny brush to paint the line for the lights. 


I painted the lights. They are simply a tiny oval shape not touching the line. I painted each color separately. (Green, blue, yellow, red-white)


To make the red lights show up, I mixed red & white together. 


The lights are connected to the string line by just a small black line. 


I added white highlight to the lights as well. This is just a tiny white line on the left side of each light.


Next I did the flamingos!!! I drew these all out with chalk first. I recommend practicing on a separate piece of paper first! Follow my chalk drawings below. Or you can come up with your own flamingo poses!













Then simply paint the flamingo silhouettes in with black! You’ll need a tiny brush and a steady hand to do this. 


I painted Santa hats on the flamingos (the best part in my opinion!).


Finally, I added some white highlight lines like I did on the palm trees. I did this on the flamingos and on the ground. 




How did yours turn out? Share it on Pinterest or Facebook for us to see! 

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