Though there are plenty of options when it comes to painting surfaces, many painters choose to stick with traditional canvas. Canvas painting ideas are endless, plus canvas provides a convenient way to preserve your work long term. 

Whether you’ve painted many a canvas or you’re in need of easy canvas painting ideas for beginners, you’re in the right place!

What Do I Need to Start Painting on Canvas?

In a few simple steps, you’ll have your own studio set up.
In a few simple steps, you’ll have your own studio set up.

To begin your canvas painting journey, you’ll need some DIY canvas painting ideas and a few supplies. 

  • Paints: Oil and acrylic paint work best on canvas, but acrylic paints are a bit easier to work with. If you’re new to this medium and working with easy canvas painting ideas, opt for acrylic. 
  • Paintbrushes: Beginners will do well with a curated paintbrush set, which allows you to try different brushes without making a large initial investment. 
  • Canvases: Canvases come in all different sizes and materials, but basic is better when you’re just starting out. You don’t need much more than a standard, cotton stretched canvas.
  • Painting Surface: You will need an easel or painting surface, which can be as simple as a table top covered with newspaper.
  • Palette or Squeeze Surface: Pick up a painters’ palette, which you’ll use to mix your paints. 
  • Cleaning Supplies: Have paper towels or a rag nearby for wiping your brushes. 
  • Smock: Don a painters’ smock, or clothing that you don’t mind painting in, to protect your outfit while you’re working.

35 Creative and Fun Canvas Painting Ideas

  1. Fall Landscape
Create a beautiful fall landscape from a reference photo.
Create a beautiful fall landscape from a reference photo.

This course is a great choice for easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas—you’ll learn how to take a reference photo and turn it into a beautiful fall landscape.

2. Mother and Child Mini Canvas

An adorable idea for mini canvas fans!
An adorable idea for mini canvas fans!

Looking for mini canvas painting ideas? Try painting this sweet mother and child with Skillshare instructor Beatrice Ajayi. 

3. Mushroom

Practice your painting skills by creating a woodland mushroom on canvas.
Practice your painting skills by creating a woodland mushroom on canvas.

This woodland mushroom is one of those easy canvas painting ideas that will also help improve your brush skills. 

4. Dog

Animals are beloved painting subjects. 
Animals are beloved painting subjects. 

If you’re focused on easy canvas painting ideas for beginners, try painting this labrador retriever—or your own furry friend!

5. Floral Meadow

This fun floral meadow looks beautiful on canvas. 
This fun floral meadow looks beautiful on canvas. 

On the hunt for wine and canvas painting ideas? Look no further than Denise Hughes’ course. The whimsical floral meadow is perfect for a relaxing night with art and spirits. 

6. Tulips

You can’t go wrong with florals on canvas.
You can’t go wrong with florals on canvas.

In Elle Byers’ course, tailored for beginners, fill your blank canvas with a bouquet of colorful tulips. 

7. Pumpkin

This pumpkin painting project is great for fall, or for any time of the year!
This pumpkin painting project is great for fall, or for any time of the year!

This pumpkin is easy to create and beautiful to hang on your wall all year round. 

8. Christmas Tree

This festive Christmas tree is a great canvas painting project!
This festive Christmas tree is a great canvas painting project!

If you’re looking for Christmas painting ideas on canvas, this colorful tree fits the bill! 

9. The Moon

Put your paints to good use by creating this beautiful blood moon rising over the forest. 
Put your paints to good use by creating this beautiful blood moon rising over the forest. 

Natural elements, like this blood moon, make for dramatic painting subjects. 

10. Pineapple

How about a pineapple for your canvas?
How about a pineapple for your canvas?

This fun pineapple doesn’t necessarily resemble its edible counterpart, but it will look great on your kitchen wall. 

11. Skyline

Ombre skies allow you to practice blending.
Ombre skies allow you to practice blending.

Create ombre skies and a fun cityscape in this course by mixed media artist Emily Keating Snyder. 

12. Watery Landscape

You can see the texture that oil paint creates within this project. 
You can see the texture that oil paint creates within this project. 

If you’re looking for oil canvas painting ideas and practice with a palette knife, try this course by Skillshare instructor Kellie Chasse. 

13. Mountain Sky

The mountains might be beautiful, but the sky takes center stage!
The mountains might be beautiful, but the sky takes center stage!

Here, Sarah Mckendry shows you how to create wispy clouds to accompany snow capped mountains. 

14. Starscape

The night sky fills the canvas for this project. 
The night sky fills the canvas for this project. 

Artist Suzanne Kurilla teaches you how to take the night stars and translate them onto your canvas

15. Abstract Art

Abstract art always looks amazing on a canvas!
Abstract art always looks amazing on a canvas!

Skillshare instructor Gino Savarino will show you how to begin abstract painting; everything from choosing your canvas to determining when your piece is finished.  

16. Layered Landscape

See how the artist layers oil paint to create texture. 
See how the artist layers oil paint to create texture. 

Practice your oil painting skills in this course, turning typical landscapes into scenes that are textured and full of life. 

17. Wreath

Create a beautiful wreath on your canvas. 
Create a beautiful wreath on your canvas. 

Try painting this wreath, which is festive for the holidays or could be adapted as a springtime floral wreath.

18. Bison in the Mist

These bison look great on canvas!
These bison look great on canvas!

For this project, Skillshare instructor James Corwin teaches students how to blend the bison into the misty background through brush stroke techniques. 

19. Cupcake

This strawberry cupcake and colorful plate make for fun canvas painting ideas. 
This strawberry cupcake and colorful plate make for fun canvas painting ideas. 

Skillshare instructor Maria Morris will tell you everything you need to know to create a strawberry cupcake on a colorful plate using oil paints.

20. Sunset

You can’t go wrong with a sunset on canvas.
You can’t go wrong with a sunset on canvas.

If you’re on the hunt for easy canvas painting ideas for beginners, then this cotton candy sunset will be a lot of fun!

21. Abstract Florals

Floral paintings don’t have to be life-like to be beautiful.
Floral paintings don’t have to be life-like to be beautiful.

Alina Harvi’s course will teach you how to put a different spin on floral painting by creating an abstract bouquet.  

22. Portrait

Portrait painting is a great way to improve your skills. 
Portrait painting is a great way to improve your skills. 

Portraits may seem intimidating, but Skillshare instructor Kristy Gordon has you covered. She’ll teach you how to paint a full oil portrait from a reference photo.

23. Elephant

Animals and acrylic paint go hand in hand!
Animals and acrylic paint go hand in hand!

In this course, James Corwin will show you how to paint this majestic elephant in acrylic paint on canvas. 

24. Seascape

Beach scenes make for painting fun!
Beach scenes make for painting fun!

If you can’t be at the beach, why not paint it? James Corwin will teach you how to paint a seascape, start to finish!

25. Urban Scene

Bring your city to life on your canvas. 
Bring your city to life on your canvas. 

Skillshare instructor Christopher Clark will teach you how to paint an Italian city scene, whether you’re a beginner or advanced painter. 

26. Bear and Hummingbird

Paint in the forest with this sweet bear and hummingbird pair. 
Paint in the forest with this sweet bear and hummingbird pair. 

If you enjoy animals and nature, follow James Corwin’s lesson on painting a bear with a hummingbird friend

27. Blue Heron

If blue is your favorite color, then you will love this painting!
If blue is your favorite color, then you will love this painting!

Skillshare instructor Anastasiya Bachmanova will show you how to create this beautiful blue heron with acrylics on canvas. 

28. Palm Tree

This simple palm tree is a great canvas painting idea!
This simple palm tree is a great canvas painting idea!

If you’re looking for a quick and simple project, Mohini Sinha’s palm tree painting course is perfect for you. 

29. Magnolias

This magnolia would look beautiful in any home.
This magnolia would look beautiful in any home.

Kacie Landis shows you how to paint a large magnolia bloom in a vase as an introduction to floral still-life painting. 

30. Fox

This adorable fox is a fun canvas painting project.
This adorable fox is a fun canvas painting project.

Paint your own whimsical fox with the help of Skillshare instructor Beatrice Ajayi and her easy to follow steps. 

31. Butterfly

Insects make for great painting subjects!
Insects make for great painting subjects!

In this course, you’ll learn how to paint one of nature’s most beautiful creatures.

32. Succulents

Succulents look great in real life and on canvas.
Succulents look great in real life and on canvas.

Skillshare instructor Meghan Stockinger will show you, from sketch to final strokes, how to create a potted succulent painting

33. Desert Vista

Enjoy the warm desert tones as you paint your vista.
Enjoy the warm desert tones as you paint your vista.

If you’re on the hunt for a different type of landscape, paint a desert vista with acrylics in this course by Skillshare instructor Jennifer Keller. 

34. Baby

Painting portraits of children and babies is a great way to expand your painting skills.
Painting portraits of children and babies is a great way to expand your painting skills.

For a fun challenge, follow along as Skillshare instructor Kristy Gordon teaches you how to paint a portrait of a baby with oil paints on canvas. 

35. Cacti

These cacti make a great canvas painting project for beginners.
These cacti make a great canvas painting project for beginners.

Skillshare instructor Jennifer Keller invites you along as she puts a colorful spin on classic cacti!

Tap Into Your Imagination to Improve Your Painting!

Exploring Painting With Imagination For Beginners.

Written By

Sara Glover

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