Painting is a fun activity and creative outlet that almost anyone can try. Because there are several different types of paint, all with different qualities and advantages, you can find a medium and a style to suit your interests and skills.  

If you’re a beginner, you might not know where to start, or which medium to try first. Check out these 35 easy painting ideas for beginners, which include watercolors, acrylics, oils, and gouache, as well as some easy canvas painting ideas for beginners in different paint media.

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35 Painting Ideas to Try as a Beginner

Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

1. Color Mixing Dots

paint dots
When it comes to easy painting ideas for beginners, this is one of the easiest!

It’s important to learn how watercolor paints mix together when you’re starting out with the medium. Why not create an attractive work of art while you’re learning about color mixing?

2. Bold Botanicals

botanic watercolor
Watercolor botanicals with a bold and modern twist.

Artist Cat Coquillette show beginner painters how to make the most of watercolor paints’ unique properties to create colorful plants and flowers.

3. Crystals

Colorful crystals are a good watercolor project for beginners.

What are some easy things to paint? These colorful crystals!

4. Cat Faces

Cute cat faces are easy to paint with watercolors.

These three watercolor cat faces allow beginners to practice wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, blending, and fur-like brush strokes.

5. Landscape

A simple watercolor landscape painting. 

Whether you use a photo for reference or you have the scene right in front of you, landscapes make a good subject for easy watercolors.

6. Maple Leaf

The dewdrop adds a touch of complexity to an otherwise simple painting, but it can be left out until you feel more confident with your watercolor painting skills.

7. Monochrome Landscapes

polaroid landscape watercolors
Landscape paintings done with just one color.

These monochrome landscapes are designed to look like painted Polaroid photos.

8. Galaxy

A colorful galactic scene created with watercolors.

The way watercolor paints blend and bloom together makes them an ideal medium for painting galaxies.

9. Anemone Flowers

Pretty anemone flowers painted with watercolors.

These anemone flowers look detailed but they’re quite easy for beginner painters. 

10. Shoes

High-heeled shoes painted with watercolors.

Learning to paint shoes with watercolor paints will give you the chance to practice creating white space, which can be tricky with watercolors.

Acrylic Painting Ideas for Beginners

11. Impressionist Landscape

This is one of the easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas.

Wondering, “What should I paint as a beginner?” Impressionist landscapes are a good place to start with acrylics because you don’t need to worry about fine details looking perfect.

12. Easy Roses

These stylized roses are easy to paint with acrylics.

13. Puddle Pour Paintings

The puddle pour technique creates abstract paintings with acrylics. 

14. Geometric Patterns

geometric patterns
Three different geometric patterns painted with acrylics.

These striking geometric patterns were created using masking tape and acrylic paints.

15. Color-Blocked Tropical Leaf

A tropical leaf color blocked with several shades of blue and green.

Many artists love acrylics for the vibrancy of the colors. A color-blocked leaf project is a good way to practice using bold colors.

16. Cute Duck

By learning brush strokes specifically for acrylic paints you can paint textured scenes and subjects easily.

17. Sunflowers

Student work by Sari Trimberger for How to Paint Sunflowers Using Acrylic Paints.

Acrylic paints are an ideal medium for painting a bold, bright sunflower.

18. Abstract Flowers

Not all flower paintings need to be figurative. These abstract peonies give the impression of the flower without getting bogged down in precise details. It’s one of the best easy acrylic painting ideas for beginners on canvas, but you can also paint it on paper.

19. Colorful Pineapple

A colorful pineapple painted using acrylics.

This pineapple looks striking but is an easy project for beginners.

20. Whimsical Birds

Student work by Eva V. for Whimsical Birds in Acrylic Paint.

By “inventing” your own birds you are free to paint them as you wish, without the constraint of trying to be too accurate.

Oil Painting Ideas for Beginners

21. Elephant Tree Scene

A large flowering tree with an elephant in oil paints.

Some people are intimidated to try oil painting, but this easy flowering tree with an elephant is a good project to begin with. 

22. Impressionist Flowers

Capture the impression and mood of these flowers with oil paints.

23. Finger-Painted Rooster

Create texture by painting with your fingers.

If you don’t mind getting a bit messy, have some fun finger painting this proud rooster.

24. Onion Still Life

A warm-toned onion on a cool-toned background.

Objects as ordinary as an onion can make for great oil painting subjects. When it comes to oil painting, this is one of the best easy canvas painting ideas for beginners.

25. Misty Forest

Student work by Rachel McIntyre for Landscape Oil Painting: Misty Forest Scene.

Oil paints are versatile and can be used to paint a range of effects, including a misty, cloudy landscape.

26. Cloudy Sky

Wispy clouds painted using oil paints.

Unlike watercolor paints, oil paints can be used to directly create white space and forms, such as with these textured clouds.

27. Sunrise

A colorful sunrise.

The rich tones of oil paints can be used to depict colorful natural phenomena, like sunrises and sunsets.

28. Mountain Landscape

A mountain landscape painted with oil paints

Create depth, texture, and shadow in your paintings by learning how to paint mountain scenes.

29. Facial Features

Painting a full portrait can be challenging for a beginner oil painter, so start by focusing on one or two features in a restricted palette, such as this grayscale nose.

30. Puffin Bird

A puffin painted with oils.

Oil paints were used to create this cute puffin, but you could also choose another favorite bird to paint.

Gouache Painting Ideas for Beginners

31. Still Life with Fruit

Student work by Slava Lawson for Beyond Watercolor: Learn to Paint with Gouache.

Gouache paints are favored for their strong pigments, and the vibrant colors of fruit are a good subject to paint when practicing with this medium. This is one of the go-to canvas painting ideas for beginners, but it can be done on paper, too.

32. Teacup

Turn a seemingly ordinary and mundane object, like a teacup, into something special by painting it with gouache. 

33. Cute Critter

Gouache is a good medium for illustrations and graphic images, such as this cute racoon that would be right at home in a storybook for kids.

34. Floral Bouquet

These three different bouquets allow you to practice different painting techniques.

When painting florals, color combinations and composition are both essential. Illustrator Peggy Dean introduces three projects that get you practicing these skills.

35. Fantasy Creature

Let your imagination run wild by creating a colorful fantasy creature. It can be part alien, part octopus… whatever you’d like!

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Written by:

Elen Turner