Oil Painting Tutorial – Sunset at Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island

Welcome to another quick oil painting tutorial.  This is an older painting I did back around 2015 based on Kingfisher Bay, Fraser Island.

I painted this in oils but the process would be much the same for acrylics.

The scene involves silhouettes of the long jetty and boats with the vibrant sunset in the background. The light glimmers accross the water, which contrasts nicely against the darker areas.

For this painting, I drew inspiration from Monet’s painting:

Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872
Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872
Dan Scott, Fraser Island, 2015
Dan Scott, Fraser Island, 2015

Step 1 – Block in the General Shapes and Colors

In step 1 I start to build the foundation of the painting.

This involves blocking in the most dominant shapes and colors of the scene. I am not being particular with any specific details but I am careful to capture all the shapes in the right sizes and places.

Mistakes in this stage can cause issues later in the painting if left unchanged. All my brushwork seems very broad and general, but do not confuse this with being sloppy.

All I am trying to capture in this stage is the general color harmony and the very basic structure of the scene.

Step By Step Oil Painting Tutorial

Step 2 – Refine the Shapes and Darken Areas

Once the general structure of the painting is in place I start to make some adjustments and darken areas up.

I add some detail to the jetty and boats. It is important that I make these subjects dark enough as they will be the darkest areas in the scene.

The reason I want to darken the painting up so much is that I will use this dark base to really emphasize the bright sunset in the background.

There are two ways you could emphasize the sunset:

  • Add more white / yellow / orange to the sunset (make it more vibrant); and / or
  • Darken all the areas surrounding the sunset.

So I want to use a combination of both techniques to really add power to the sunset, which was the reason I painted this scene in the first place.

In general with oil and acrylic painting, you should be painting from dark to light. So I need to make sure my painting is dark enough before I start adding more details in the next few stages.

Step By Step Oil Painting Tutorial

Step 3 – Start Refining and Introducing More Color

After creating a nice dark base for my painting, I start to introduce more color and light to the scene. I use a combination of Naples Yellow and Cadmium Red.

I am using bold strokes with a very loaded brush. This creates a variance in texture which contrasts nicely against the darker and softer areas.

Oil Painting Tutorial

Step 4 – Finishing Details

This stage is basically just taking what I have and refining it. Fixing any edges, colors and shapes as I see necessary.

There is no fixed process here. I basically just jump around the painting making small adjustments.

I will be taking many steps back from the painting and viewing it from a distance as a whole. I am not trying to make every element in the painting perfectly accurate, but rather I am trying to make it all work together in harmony.

I rarely need to look at the reference by this stage. The painting has taken on its own personality and I use it to draw inspiration.

Fraser Island
Dan Scott, Fraser Island, 2015


Thanks for joining me on this simple oil painting tutorial. Please share if you enjoyed it.

You may also enjoy this Noosa Painting Tutorial.

Let me know what you think in the comment section below.

Thanks for Reading!

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I appreciate it! Feel free to share with friends. If you want more painting tips, check out my Painting Academy course.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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