13 Simple Sunset Painting Ideas for Beginners in 2024

Last Updated on Jan 10th 2024
sunset painting ideas

Simple sunset painting ideas are the perfect place to start when exploring what to paint as a budding artist. Sunset paintings often involve smooth, blended brushstrokes, striking silhouettes, and a distant, wide focal point — all features that contribute to approachability from a beginner's perspective. 

Though sunset paintings can be kept simple, we can see by the Smithsonian gallery walls that world-renowned artists throughout history have been captivated by the vibrant allure of dusk and have attempted to capture its essence through art. 

With our guide, now you can, too! Inspire your next work of art with a list of simple yet stunning sunset painting ideas you can create at home.

Jump to Section

13 Best Sunset Painting Ideas for Beginners

1. Practice Sunset Painting in Art Classes

If you're just starting your art journey, then art classes are the best way to build a solid foundation of skills. When you join art classes in Atlanta, art classes in Chicago, art classes in San Diego, or art classes near you, experienced and talented local artists will provide supplies, guidance and time-honored painting techniques as you explore your creativity. 

If you prefer a more relaxed atmosphere, try paint and sip in Los Angeles, paint and sip in Boston, paint and sip in Washington, D.C., or paint and sip near you. You'll sip your favorite beverage as you unwind into your beautiful sunset painting.

practice sunset painting ideas in a painting class
via Classpop!

2. Reflections on Water

For a bit more of a challenge, experiment with light and shadow by painting a reflection of a sunset on water. This is one of the most aesthetic painting ideas as the ripples of water create a sense of movement and peacefulness. 

3. City Skyline

When we think of sunset painting ideas, we often think of tropical beach scenes or wide open fields, making the city skyline an especially unique viewpoint.

There is great potential to depict dazzling reflections of the light of the sun on the windows of skyscrapers. 

4. African Savannah

The roaming prairies of the African savannah have inspired countless landscape painting ideas that take advantage of Africa's vibrant red sunsets, visible heatwaves and awe-inspiring wildlife.

Paint the African sunset skyline with the silhouettes of your favorite African animals, whether you hope to portray the gentle nature of the elephant or the quiet confidence of the lion. 

5. Simple Sailboats

Sailboats are fairly simple for beginners to paint because of their basic lines and shapes. This leaves room for artists to play and experiment with colors, forms and mediums.

If you're into exploring rock painting ideas, glass painting ideas and other mediums, a simple sailboat at sunset is an ideal choice.

abstract painting of sailboat at sunset
via Canva

6. Bird's Eye View

Birds are some of the best subjects to feature in your sunset painting ideas because of their simple silhouette shapes and the sense of movement they add to the canvas when portrayed in flight.

You could paint a gaggle of geese flying over a creek at dusk, a feeding flamingo at the beach in the early evening hours or a serene swan floating across a calm river at sunset.

7. Play With Silhouettes

Artists often gravitate toward depicting the sunset because of the ample opportunities it provides to use stark contrasting light and make use of mesmerizing silhouette shapes. 

As you brainstorm your sunset painting ideas, think of something you love or even just something with a shape you find interesting and paint its black silhouette against a bold and colorful sunset.

8. Crashing Waves

There is a reason so many sunset painting ideas feature tropical beaches — the reflection of light on the water and the movement of the waves make for a painter's playground.

Consider painting a sunset peaking behind the clouds of a storm. Feature crashing waves and desolate beaches for a moodier sunset depiction we don't see as often. 

9. Swinging Hammock

Evoke the sweet feelings of summer with tropical sunset paintings that include a romantic couple swinging on a hammock. For other summer painting ideas featuring sunsets, consider a father and daughter walking on the beach, a 

hammock couple sunset painting ideas
via Classpop!

10. Desert at Dusk 

For this sunset painting idea, think of thorny cacti, red desert mountain ranges, starry skies at dusk and other trademarks of the Wild West West.

Advanced painters may try their hand at depicting a cowboy on horseback or a group of wild horses running against the skyline.

11. Colors of the Rainbow

What colors do you paint a sunset with? Most people think of shades of red, yellow and orange, and maybe pinks and blues, but there are no rules when it comes to choosing a color palette for your sunset painting ideas. 

If you are drawn to more abstract painting ideas, experiment with unexpected colors in your sunset, such as bright green or deep purple. 

12. Hearts in the Sand

Sunsets are oh-so-romantic, which makes them the perfect subject for couple painting ideas. Make side-by-side double canvases that come together to form a heart shape, whether with tree branches, lines in the sand or a flock of birds. 

13. Evening Mountains

For sunset painting ideas on canvas that offer a sense of peace and tranquility, consider painting a mountain range at dusk. These make ideal fall painting ideas, but are a gorgeous addition to your home décor year-round.

painting of mountain range at sunset
via Classpop!

Which of these simple yet stunning sunset painting ideas speak to you? Whether you find yourself interested in portraying a desert landscape or island oasis, we hope this list of tips and ideas has helped guide you on your creative journey. 

For more fun painting ideas, check out other experiences happening on Classpop!