Easy Painting Ideas for Beginners

As a beginner artist, it can be difficult to find painting inspiration. That is why I have put together some easy painting ideas which are perfect for beginners.

There is often the misconception that as you become more advanced, you will find subjects to paint easily. But honestly, it is always a challenge of painting.

So let’s get into these easy painting ideas for beginners.

Simple Landscapes

If you are looking for simple painting ideas then the first place to look is nature.

Inspiration is all around you. You just need to open your eyes!

If your local area is not particularly scenic, then you may need to go for a bit of an adventure to find scenes to paint. Great places to start are:

  • Mountain ranges
  • Parks
  • Vast open plains
  • Sunsets/sunrises (the light at these times can make even the blandest landscape appear interesting)

My best advice for finding great landscape scenes to paint is to get active. You will not find great scenes from the comfort of your home.

Every holiday or trip is an opportunity to get painting inspiration. Make sure you have your camera handy at all times and take heaps of photos.

I find most of my painting inspiration from looking back over my photo reel.

Many of the landscape photos you take will not be any good. But some will just hit home with you and give you the inspiration you need to get painting. If you need inspiration for painting, check out my reference photo library.

Aurthur Streeton, Golden Summer, Eaglemont, 1889
Arthur Streeton, Golden Summer, Eaglemont, 1889
Camille Pissarro, The Chestnut Trees at Osny, 1873
Camille Pissarro, The Chestnut Trees at Osny, 1873
Claude Monet, Winter Landscape at the Val de Falaise (Giverny), 1885
Claude Monet, Winter Landscape at the Val de Falaise (Giverny), 1885

Simple Seascapes

I would say seascapes are slightly more difficult than landscapes, merely due to the troubles of rendering water.

The trick with seascapes is to simplify the detail in the water. Use paint brushes which are larger than you are comfortable with.

You are trying to give the illusion of form, nothing more. To do this you could use long strokes of varied colors, with some definition to outline contours in the water.

The sea is fantastic for inspiration. Every few months I will make a trip to the beach to get more painting inspiration.

Typical seascape scenes to look out for are:

  • Fishing boats/yachts
  • Local fisherman
  • A jetty
  • A crowded surf beach
  • Sunsets/sunrises, with the light reflecting on the water
  • Stormy sea scenes (for a very evocative painting)
Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872
Claude Monet, Impression, Sunrise, 1872
Arthur Streeton, Sydney Harbour, 1907
Arthur Streeton, Sydney Harbour, 1907

Flower Vase

The flower vase is a classic painting subject. Almost all the old master painters seem to have painted at least some flower vase subjects.

Why is it a popular subject to paint?

Simply because it portrays light well, can have great color and has variance in shape which is appealing in a composition.

Ari Targownik, Flowers,
Ari Targownik, Flowers

Other Still Life Scenes

You are not limited to painting flower vases for still life scenes.

You can paint pretty much anything in your still life as long as you have great lighting and a well-set-out composition. Other still life scenes include:

  • A fruit bowl
  • Worn boots
  • Wine bottle
  • Glasses and cutlery
Henri Matisse, Dishes and Fruit on a Red and Black Carpet, 1901
Henri Matisse, Dishes and Fruit on a Red and Black Carpet, 1901
Paul Cezanne, Still Life with an Open Drawer 1867
Paul Cezanne, Still Life with an Open Drawer 1867

Pet Portraits

Have a pet dog or cat? They can be great subjects for your next painting.

Pet portraits are considerably easier to paint than human portraits, once you have learned how to render fur (which can be difficult as a beginner painter).

My advice for painting fur is not to try and paint every single hair strand. You should be using bold strokes and very little blending to give the illusion of fur. Utilize the texture created by your paintbrush. Some subtle highlights should be all the additional detail needed.

Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Head of a Dog, 1870
Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Head of a Dog, 1870

Easy Painting Ideas Summary

I hope these easy painting ideas give you some inspiration for your next painting.

Some of the more difficult subjects to paint are portraits, cityscapes and complex still lifes. You can tackle these once you are more advanced.

If you have any easy painting ideas feel free to share them in the comment section below.

Want to Learn More?

You might be interested in my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.

Thanks for Reading!

I appreciate you taking the time to read this post and I hope you found it helpful. Feel free to share it with friends.

Happy painting!

Dan Scott

Draw Paint Academy

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Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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5 comments on “Easy Painting Ideas for Beginners”

  1. Hey this is good thank u for the ideas.now tell me that which paper I should paint because normal papers are not good to Carry the paint
    Please tell me.iam from India.

  2. Thanks for for the best of your experience shared in touch of Art as Water. Colour painting
    .I also self learn er.But a student myself.

  3. I found your ideas very instructive for all kinds of artists. As an artist, I love to do image editing. I have found a way to turn scenes I found on Google Earth into ideas for budding and advanced artists. I have compiled a collection of 300 photographs that are ready to supply artists with wonderful subjects from around the world. I would like your opinion on what would be the best way to make these ideas available to stymied artists. I would be glad to send you samples of my work.


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