Whether you’re an aspiring artist or someone who wants to explore their creative side, this post will show you loads of easy canvas painting ideas for beginners.
We understand that venturing into the world of canvas painting can seem daunting, especially when you’re unsure of where to begin. That’s why we’ve curated a selection of simple yet stunning painting ideas that cater to beginners, allowing you to unleash your inner artist without feeling overwhelmed.
So, grab your brushes, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to dive into the vibrant world of colors and textures, as we guide you through these easy-to-follow, step-by-step projects.
By the end of this post, you’ll be well on your way to creating your very own masterpieces – one brushstroke at a time!
Must-Have Art Supplies for Your First Canvas Painting Project
As you embark on your journey to explore canvas painting ideas for beginners, it’s crucial to have the right supplies and tools at hand.
Obviously, if you’re just testing the waters at this point, don’t go crazy buying up all the most expensive supplies! When you’re ready, investing in quality materials will not only help you achieve better results but also make your painting experience more enjoyable.
Here’s a list of essential supplies you’ll need to kick-start your DIY canvas painting adventure (supplies in italics are less essential so could be left until you really get into canvas painting as a hobby!):
- Canvas: Canvases come in various sizes and materials, but for beginners, we recommend starting with pre-stretched and primed canvases. These are readily available at most art supply stores and provide a smooth, ready-to-paint surface.
- Paint: Acrylic paints are the most beginner-friendly choice, as they are versatile, easy to work with, and dry quickly. Look for a starter set that includes a variety of basic colors, which you can mix to create an extensive palette.
- Brushes: A selection of brushes in different shapes and sizes is essential for various painting techniques. For beginners, we suggest investing in a basic set that includes round, flat, filbert, and angle brushes.
- Palette: A flat surface for mixing your paint colors is necessary. You can use a traditional artist’s palette or improvise with a disposable plate or plastic tray.
- Easel (optional): An easel provides support for your canvas while you paint and helps maintain the correct posture. While it’s not strictly necessary, having a tabletop or standing easel can make the painting process more comfortable, especially for extended periods. Beginners can opt for an affordable, lightweight, and adjustable easel.
- Palette Knife (optional): Although not absolutely essential for beginners, a palette knife can be a valuable addition to your toolkit. It’s perfect for mixing paints and creating unique textures and effects on your canvas.
- Water Container: You’ll need a container for rinsing your brushes between colors. Any small, plastic or glass container will do the job.
- Paper Towels or Cloth Rags: These are essential for wiping your brushes clean and dabbing up any excess paint or water. You do keep a bag of old rags handy, don’t you!?
- Apron or Old Clothes: Protect your clothing from paint splatters and spills by wearing an apron or dressing in old clothes you don’t mind getting messy.
- Varnish (optional): Once your painting is complete and fully dry, you can protect it with a coat of varnish. This step is optional but helps preserve the colors and prevents dust and dirt buildup.
Now that you have all the essential supplies to make these canvas painting ideas a reality, it’s time to unleash your creativity and start experimenting with colors and techniques. Remember, practice makes perfect, so don’t be afraid to make mistakes and learn from them. Happy painting!
1. Abstract Color Blocks
This idea is perfect for those who love playing with color combinations (as well as being super-simple for those that want to break themselves in gently!)
Choose a color palette, mask off some sections with masking tape and paint blocks or rectangles of various sizes on your canvas. Experiment with layering, blending, and different brush strokes to create a visually captivating piece.
This project is great for practicing color theory and understanding how different colors work together.
2. A Sunset Landscape
Capture the beauty of a sunset by painting a warm, vibrant sky with shades of orange, pink, and purple.
You could add a simple silhouette of a tree, mountains, or a city skyline in the foreground.
Use broad brush strokes and blend colors together for a smooth transition between shades. This idea is ideal for learning about gradients and atmospheric perspective.
3. Monochrome Silhouette of Trees
Choose a monochrome color scheme, such as shades of gray or blue, and paint a gradient background.
Once it’s dry, paint a silhouette of trees, branches, or other nature-inspired elements in black.
This project allows you to focus on composition and contrast while honing your brush control skills.
4. Geometric Shapes and Patterns
Create a visually striking piece using geometric shapes like triangles, squares, circles, or hexagons.
Arrange these shapes in a pattern or random layout, and fill them in with various colors.
This idea teaches you precision and symmetry while working with different shapes and colors.
5. Simple Floral Designs
Pick your favorite flowers, such as roses, daisies, or tulips, and paint them using simple shapes and brush strokes.
Experiment with different color combinations and arrangements to create a unique floral piece.
6. Galaxy Canvas Idea
Use watercolor or diluted acrylics to paint a dreamy, cosmic galaxy on your canvas. Start with a dark background, and apply layers of color in swirling patterns.
Add stars with white paint or a gel pen to create a mesmerizing, celestial scene.
This project teaches you how to work with watercolors or diluted acrylics and explore blending techniques to create depth and movement.
7. A Starry Night Sky
Unleash your inner Van Gogh by painting a night sky filled with stars, constellations, and possibly even a galaxy.
Start with a dark blue or black background, and use a small brush or a toothbrush to splatter white paint for stars. Add depth and dimension with shades of purple, blue, and pink to create a mesmerizing piece.
This idea helps you explore color blending and texture techniques.
8. Minimalist Mountain Ranges
Create a serene mountain landscape using simple lines and shapes.
Choose a color palette and paint layers of mountains, gradually changing the shades to create depth.
This project is an excellent way to practice perspective and learn about creating depth with color.
9. Fruit Still Life
Choose a few fruits, such as apples, oranges, or grapes, and arrange them in a simple composition.
Paint the fruits using basic shapes and colors, focusing on shadows and highlights to create a three-dimensional effect.
This idea helps you learn about form, light, and shadow in a simple and approachable way.
10. The Phases of the Moon
Showcase the beauty of the moon’s phases by painting a series of circles representing the new, crescent, half, gibbous, and full moon.
Use shades of gray and white to create the moon’s texture and craters.
This project is perfect for practicing shading and working with gradients.
11. Ocean Waves
Capture the essence of the ocean by painting a seascape with rolling waves.
Come on, you can do this, you’re literally just dragging different colored brush strokes across the canvas, this must be one of the simplest DIY canvas painting ideas!
Start with a gradient background, blending colors from the sky to the water. Use different shades of blue and white to paint the waves, adding highlights and shadows to create depth and movement.
This idea teaches you about color blending, composition, and capturing the energy of a dynamic scene.
12. Your Favorite Inspirational Quote
Combine art and inspiration by painting a meaningful quote on your canvas.
Choose a simple background color or pattern, and use contrasting colors to write the quote in a font or style that resonates with you.
This project allows you to practice typography and explore various lettering styles.
13. A City Skyline
Depict the iconic silhouette of a city skyline, such as New York, Paris, or your hometown.
Use a simple color scheme for the background, and paint the skyline in a contrasting color.
This idea helps you work on composition, scale, and negative space while capturing the essence of a city.
14. A Beach Scene
Create a relaxing beach scene using soft colors and simple shapes.
Paint a gradient background for the sky and water, and add a sandy beach in the foreground. Incorporate elements like palm trees, umbrellas, or seashells to complete the scene.
This project is great for practicing perspective and layering.
15. A Stylized Portrait of Your Pet
Do you love your pet? Silly question… but would you put a huge mural of them up on your wall? Ok, Ok, so you’re really in love with your pet!
This most personal of all DIY canvas painting ideas is going to go down well among pet owners.
Create a stylized portrait of your beloved pet using simple shapes, lines, and bold colors.
Simplify the details and focus on capturing your pet’s unique features and personality.
This project is excellent for learning about form, composition, and creating an expressive, personalized piece of art.
Paint a bright and cheerful arrangement of sunflowers using bold colors and simple shapes.
Focus on the composition and the contrast between the warm yellows of the sunflowers and the cool background colors.
This idea is perfect for learning about composition, color contrast, and creating texture with brush strokes.
17. A Hot Air Balloon Festival
Capture the whimsical beauty of hot air balloons floating in the sky.
Paint a simple landscape as your background, then add colorful, patterned balloons of various shapes and sizes.
This project is an excellent way to practice working with different shapes, patterns, and colors while creating a fun, imaginative scene.
18. A Mandala Design
Create a meditative mandala design using geometric shapes and patterns.
Start by sketching a simple outline, then fill in the shapes with colors and patterns of your choice.
This idea helps you practice symmetry, precision, and color harmony while creating a piece that is both relaxing and visually appealing.
19. A Minimalist Animal Portrait
Choose your favorite animal and paint a minimalist portrait using simple shapes and lines.
Focus on capturing the essence of the animal with minimal detail, and experiment with color-blocking or monochrome schemes.
This project is great for practicing simplification, composition, and color theory.
20. Raindrops on a Window
Create the illusion of raindrops on a windowpane using shades of blue and gray.
Paint a simple, blurred background that mimics a rainy day, and add droplets of varying sizes and shapes with a mix of transparent and opaque colors.
This idea teaches you about transparency, layering, and creating a sense of depth and texture on a flat surface.
21. A Tranquil Zen Garden
Paint a serene Zen garden scene featuring elements like sand, rocks, and raked patterns.
Use muted, earthy colors and simple shapes to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere.
This project is perfect for practicing composition, balance, and working with a limited color palette.
22. Colorful Abstract Swirls
Unleash your creativity by painting an abstract piece with colorful swirls, loops, and lines.
Experiment with different brush strokes, layering, and color combinations to create a dynamic and captivating composition.
This idea is ideal for exploring color theory, texture, and movement in a free-form style.
23. A Snowy Winter Landscape
Capture the beauty of a winter wonderland by painting a snowy landscape with trees, a frozen lake, or a cozy cabin.
Use shades of white, blue, and gray to create a cool, frosty atmosphere, and add touches of warmth with light sources like windows or lanterns.
This project helps you practice composition, color contrast, and working with cool tones.
24. A Pop Art-Inspired Piece
It wouldn’t be a complete list of DIY canvas painting ideas without a bit of pop art!
Create a pop art-inspired painting featuring bold colors, graphic shapes, and simple subjects like everyday objects or famous icons. Here is a tutorial video on YouTube.
Experiment with contrasting colors and patterns to make a striking statement.
This idea is excellent for learning about pop art, color blocking, and creating visual impact with bold design choices.
25. A Single Feather
Paint a delicate, detailed feather using a limited color palette and fine brush strokes.
Focus on the intricate patterns, texture, and gentle curve of the feather.
This project is perfect for practicing precision, brush control, and working with subtle shading and highlights.
26. Tropical Palm Leaves
Create a tropical-inspired piece featuring palm leaves or other lush foliage.
Use various shades of green and bold brush strokes to capture the texture and dimension of the leaves.
This idea is ideal for learning about color harmony, texture, and composition with natural elements.
27. Textured Canvas
You can use a slightly different medium to create some texture to your art. Here they have used plaster to make a thick mixture to paint onto the canvas and the trowel it to make some patterns.
This is perhaps the most unique out of all the DIY canvas painting ideas.
It’s a great way to think outside the box with your art and create a unique piece.
28. A Field of Lavender
Capture the beauty of a lavender field in full bloom using shades of purple, green, and blue.
Paint rows of lavender plants receding into the distance to create a sense of depth and perspective.
This idea is perfect for practicing depth, perspective, and working with a specific color scheme.
29. An Autumn Forest
Create a warm, inviting scene of an autumn forest with trees displaying vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Focus on capturing the foliage’s texture and the play of light and shadow on the forest floor.
This project is great for learning about color harmony, texture, and the effects of light on a landscape.
30. Underwater Seascape
Dive into the depths of the ocean by painting an underwater seascape featuring colorful coral, fish, and other marine life.
Use shades of blue, green, and other vibrant colors to create a sense of depth and mystery.
This idea is ideal for practicing composition, color blending, and capturing the essence of an underwater environment.
31. Family of Cacti
Paint a collection of various cacti with different shapes, sizes, and patterns.
Use shades of green and earthy tones for the cacti and their pots or planters.
This project is perfect for learning about form, composition, and working with a limited color palette.
32. Geometric Animal
We love the way this DIY canvas painting idea is both cute and simple in equal measures! Combine geometry and nature by painting a stylized, geometric animal using simple shapes and lines.
Choose your favorite animal and break down its form into basic geometric shapes, creating a unique, modern piece.
This idea helps you practice simplification, composition, and working with geometric design elements.
33. Lighthouse by the Sea
Capture the beauty and tranquility of a lighthouse scene by the sea.
Paint a simple seascape background with waves and a sky, and add the lighthouse as the focal point.
This project is excellent for practicing perspective, composition, and working with a limited color palette.
34. A Simple, Colorful Butterfly
Create a vibrant, colorful butterfly using bold colors and simple shapes.
Focus on symmetry and balance while experimenting with different patterns and colors for the wings.
This idea is perfect for learning about symmetry, color harmony, and creating visual interest with patterns.
35. A Minimalist Monogram
Personalize your canvas by painting a minimalist monogram of your initial or a loved one’s.
Choose a simple background color or pattern, and use contrasting colors to create the monogram in a font or style that reflects your personality.
This project allows you to practice typography and explore various lettering styles while creating a customized piece of art.
36. A Modern Take on a Classic Painting
Reimagine a classic painting, such as the Mona Lisa or Starry Night, with your own unique twist. We can’t all afford the munlti-million pound price tags of these artworks, but we can sure create our own versions with a DIY canvas painting!
Simplify the original artwork, use a different color palette, or focus on a specific element to make it your own.
This idea is excellent for learning about composition, color theory, and art history while putting your creative spin on a famous piece.
37. The Four Seasons in One Piece
Create a single artwork that showcases the beauty of all four seasons.
Divide your canvas into four sections, and paint each one with colors and elements representing spring, summer, autumn, and winter.
This project helps you practice composition, color harmony, and storytelling through visual elements.
38. A Vintage Bicycle
Paint a charming, vintage bicycle using simple shapes, lines, and a limited color palette.
Focus on capturing the essence of the bicycle’s design and adding small details, such as a basket filled with flowers.
39. DIY Polka Dot Patterns
Create a playful, polka dot pattern on your canvas using your choice of colors and various dot sizes.
Use circular objects, like bottle caps or brushes, to create uniform dots or paint them freehand for a more organic feel.
This idea is perfect for practicing consistency, color harmony, and creating visual interest with a simple pattern.
40. Abstract Drip Painting
Explore the technique of drip painting to create an abstract piece with vibrant colors and organic shapes. This is perhaps one of the most fun and messy DIY canvas painting ideas we’ve seen!
Drip or pour paint onto your canvas and tilt it to create unique patterns, lines, and textures.
This project is excellent for learning about color interaction, texture, and embracing the unpredictability of fluid art.
41. A Whimsical Treehouse
Paint a whimsical treehouse nestled among the branches of a tall tree.
Use bright colors, imaginative details, and simple shapes to create a magical, storybook scene.
This idea is perfect for practicing composition, perspective, and incorporating fantasy elements into your artwork.
As you embark on your canvas painting journey, remember that the key to success is practice, patience, and exploration.
Embrace your creativity and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – they’re all part of the learning process.
The ideas shared in this post are just a starting point, so feel free to modify them, combine elements, or even come up with your own unique concepts. Most importantly, enjoy the process and have fun discovering your artistic potential!