Painting Ideas

Painting subjects to try as a beginner. Contains list of topics to be explored for painting. Explanation on how to choose a subject for painting

Facing a blank canvas and not sure what to paint can be pretty disappointing. When your workspace is ready with all the supplies like canvas, medium, brushes, paints, and miscellaneous things, there's only one thing left to do before getting started: choosing the topic.

When choosing an artwork subject, the best way to start is look around as a beginner. See if there is any picture or scene that holds you for a little longer. Ask yourself, if you would like to paint it?  

If the answer is yes, then see what made you select it. Is it the colors, the light effect, or the texture? Did it touch your heart in some way? 

If the answer is no, then move around in your vicinity, see things from different angles and perspectives, and you may find a potential subject near you!

Answering these questions will help make your final painting more powerful and help you make the right, artistic decisions.

Acrylic painting is one of the uncomplicated and easy paintings for beginners to work on. They are suitable for all ages, and it is fun to work with acrylic due to the nature of paints. So as a beginner, you can try acrylic paints. I have put together a comprehensive list of subjects that a beginner can try.

Here are few Suggestions on Subjects To Paint

Painting ideas, inspiration, things to know before you start painting

1. Keep it Simple

If you're just getting started, take simple subjects even though complex topics  look more exciting. Take into consideration what style or genre you want to paint.

  • Choose one or two simple objects at a time
  • Understand the fundamentals through these objects
  • Create still-life or landscape scenes using a reference
  • Briefly learn the concepts such as composition, shadow, light, depth

If you join an art class, you will start painting simpler things like fruit or simple household objects. They work great as subjects. For example, if you choose to paint still life, spend some time looking at it. 

Studying your subject from different angles is important as it gives you good insight. The best paintings are where the artist has captured its essence and felt a connection with it.

2. Trace the steps of History and recreate Old Master Paintings

master painting of girl feeding goat, black background

A great way to find inspiration can be by revisiting some iconic paintings from the true masters of this profession. 

You could study one of those masterpieces and learn important painting lessons that helped the artist make the art.

Either way, brainstorming ideas is equally as important as painting. Visit a local art gallery. Check if there are any art events you could attend and get inspired. 

Their websites allow you to search for almost any artist you want.


3. Transform objects into a Still-Life Painting
Yellow gerbera flower in blue pot, still life

Many established artists that art galleries are presently seeing have started by painting their environment. To make a still-life painting, you would typically take inspiration from everyday items. Even if the topics appear boring and not especially beautiful, they can still help you learn essential facets of painting. 

You can practice painting transparency and distortion by taking bottles or jars as your subjects. Your house is filled with objects that could be on your next painting object, including your art materials.

Try recreating some apples lying around, focus on replicating the shadows and highlights you can notice. To practice blending, flowers would be the ideal subject for it. You will learn how to bring out tones and shades in the painting.

4. Trace the drawing if you can't draw

Take a paper and start tracing on the surface that you need to paint. Tracing or transferring pictures was a method used by artists through the years to save time and ensure accuracy in art. 

Tracing does save a lot of time and effort for those who can't draw but can paint or at least want to paint. For many artists, the finished work of art is more important than thinking about the steps taken.

Speed also plays an important role. So use any tool that saves time without affecting the art. Tracing will help you paint topics you cannot draw and hence have never given a try.  It helps at crucial places where accuracy is essential, like painting human figures.

4. Painting is about Colors - Understand How they Mix

Multi color Swirl Painting

Before you begin coloring your artwork, you should research different types of colors scheme to know how you can set the required mood. For this, you need a little understanding of color theory and how color communicates with each other.

Color theory is a practical guide on how to choose a color scheme. A color scheme is a combination of colors used in a painting, design, or illustration. There are various color palettes already available, and each of them makes us feel different. 

Experiment with color combinations from the color wheel. Take notes and create swatches for future reference. Check how colors influence a painting and how to utilize them best to bring the image to life is important. If you're still unsure about this, check few artwork sites where they offer lessons on color theory and mixing.

5. Get motivated and paint

Newspaper with Art and Culture topic

Thanks to social media platforms for discovering talented artists. Visit their virtual gallery, pages for massive content to learn and create your style.

Instagram and Pinterest are particularly the most prominent sites where artists from all backgrounds display their work.

Follow their pages and accounts to add some creative inspiration to your everyday browse of those programs.


6. Know how your Brush and Surface Interact 

Blue color texture background with multi color stokes

Experiment with various brushstrokes to obtain the effects that would best fit in with your painting. Try using mediums to get different textures.

You are at minimal risk when you're starting since everything is an experiment to find out what works and want not. Nothing should worry you from making bold and beautiful strokes. Every try you made gave you some learning. It is always better to experiment and see that it doesn't work rather than not try.

7. Start Doodling

Doodle owl saying hi

When you are out of inspiration to create something, a drawing may be a powerful icebreaker. 

Doodling means to scribble, draw patterns, shapes aimlessly to improvise idle moments.  

Anything that is created in this idle moment can be very revealing and stress-free.

Doodling helps you keep focused. It enhances your creative thinking and also gives you an emotional outlet. 



8. Network within the Art Community


Artists, by nature, tend to work alone. This solitude can make a temporary deficiency of inspiration which might appear impossible to circumvent. So go out and network.  

Visit gallery openings, network within the art community, and breathe art, and get inspired!

Networking is something you cannot avoid. You have to be social to learn about opportunities. By communicating, you can discuss what improvements your art might need, how they are making the sale, and so on.

You can even meet other artists online, see art sites, leave comments, connect, or sign up for their newsletters.

9. Learn something new

It is entertaining and fascinating to learn something fresh once in a while, try some new technique or kind of craft which you haven't done before. You never understand how this can help you in future projects or life.

10. Paint what you are passionate about

What is your passion? Have a strong feeling about something? Bring that emotion, thought on paper and bring it to life. Painting your passion is only one more method of communicating your ideas. You will always have passion, find it and paint it!

11. Paint something abstract

Abstract Design

Abstract art can be identified as something artist paints of what they think and feel at the moment. This art is quite forgiving. Abstract painting can be anything from a few irregular splashes to any shapes or forms with random colors.

Imagine if you have to paint the emotion of happiness. Try to envision how you'd paint that emotion. What colors, shapes, textures. Just keep in mind composition, balance. See how those emotions translate into brushwork or lines and colors.

Have you ever tried Acrylic Pour Painting? It is one of the most fun and easy painting techniques for a beginner. By mixing colors and pouring them on the canvas with the correct technique, you can create beautiful art!

12. Have fun when you paint!

Painting should be fun, so make sure you are having some. Sometimes we get so bogged down with creating things technically correct that it takes away the passion and fun from this process.

Those paintings full of passion would always appeal to people over those ideal paintings with no soul. Your fire will reveal from the painting. So get art material out and choose any of the subjects above that catch a collectors' eye.

So every time you paint, remember, it is not a task to complete but a fun activity you started to get plain happiness!