canvas painting ideas

Canvas Painting Ideas to Express Your Creative Side

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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If this is your first-time canvas painting, there are some things that you need to know. We'll look at that later. First, however, know that even if you've never touched a paintbrush before, you can still become one of the most proficient canvas painters.

Some advice before we get started; get a clear picture of the painting you want in your mind first before you put it on the fabric.

What is A Canvas Painting?

A canvas painting is painting on a canvas surface. A canvas is a woven cloth often made of linen, cotton, or hemp and is backed or framed to create a surface that you can paint on. If you've ever visited an art gallery and admired the cool works of art displayed there, these are often canvas paintings.

However, don't confuse canvas paintings with canvas prints. Canvas prints are printed while canvas paintings are painted. So today, we'll go through some easy canvas painting ideas you can use to express yourself and make wonderful art.

Fun facts:

  • Canvas as a painting surface was introduced as a better alternative to wooden panels.
  • Canvas prints came to life after the invention of lithography.
  • The mass production of canvas prints came about after the discovery of chromolithography.

Let's dive into the best painting ideas that you can start with.

What Are Some Easy Canvas Painting Ideas?

1. Colorful Landscape

canvas painting

One of the simpler paintings that most beginners start with is a colorful landscape. You can start with some simple landscapes and beautiful trees. Acrylic painting comes in handy here. The best part about this easy painting idea is that you don't need drawing skills.

Having your palette knife handy to break up the monotonous landscape can help. In addition, you can add some crisp highlights and textures to your work.

2. Painted Roses

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Painted roses are great painting ideas for beginners. If your favorite flower is the rose, you're in luck. You can also paint lilies if you prefer them to roses. You can add more details if you want your easy canvas painting to look like a professional canvas painting.

Adding some metallic texture to your rose or lilies can make it pop. Some details like a real-looking stem, leaves, and petals can add some glam. More attention to detail will give your canvas painting a dynamic feel.

3. Abstract Quotes

Another great pick in these easy canvas painting ideas is this abstract quotes painting. Do you know those quotes that you love so much that speaks to your soul? Here's your chance. You can use a mixture of different colors and use large strokes to paint the letters.

To make it easier, stencil the letters on tape and put the letters on your canvas. Once you're done painting over them, remove the tape and marvel at your creation.

3. Geometrical Designs

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This fun painting idea is another one that you can try out without the burden of feeling like you have to be perfect. Instead, be prepared to enjoy your dynamic imagery once you follow these easy acrylic painting ideas.

Once you create your colorful background, you can then place your geometric shapes either randomly or deliberately. You are not prepared for the visual treat you will create.

4. Beach Inspired Painting

canvas painting

Do you love the beach? Imagine having your own canvas painting hanging over your wall to remind you of all those nice memories. These easy canvas painting ideas will come to life with some acrylic painting and a small round brush.

You can bring out the natural lighting of the sunset at the beach, blue of the water, and anything else that catches your eye. The best part about these easy canvas painting ideas is that you can execute them while you're at the beach or do it from memory or imagination.

Canvas painting can be a form of therapy and can help you deal with several issues such as anxiety, overthinking, and as a cool form of therapy. Canvas painting is also a great form of expression. This is why today, we're going through the best canvas painting ideas so that you can bring your beautiful ideas to life.

5. Mountain Landscapes

canvas painting

Here's another epic DIY canvas painting idea for nature lovers. Remember the tip we talked about earlier? To do your best work, you must have the picture very clearly in your mind before you make your first brush stroke.

This is especially true when it comes to these easy canvas painting ideas for beginners. Use your acrylic paint to create depth in your acrylic painting. Don't worry if your first acrylic painting doesn't come out exactly as you want. It'll get better the more you continue to practice these easy canvas painting ideas.

6. Abstract Painting

canvas painting

Abstract art is a great form of expression. This is a type of art where you don't attempt to depict visual reality accurately. While painting with the other easy canvas painting ideas on this list, you'll need to translate what you've seen into something that others can recognize.

However, you use forms, shapes, colors, and other gestural marks in abstract painting to express yourself.

7. Gold Chevron Painting

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A good gold chevron painting can completely transform your bedroom or living room decor. You will have so much fun making these easy canvas paintings, and the result will impress everyone who comes into your room.

You'll need some acrylic paint and painter's tape as you transfer the chevron pattern from your paper stencil to your canvas. If you want things to stand out more, you can design using alternating metal color stripes.

8. Pinwheel Painting

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If you want to create a painting that fits in well with the modern decor in your house, these easy canvas painting ideas are what you need. Creating your own pinwheel canvas will give you so much satisfaction, especially when you see it hanging on your wall.

The great thing about this canvas painting idea is that you don't need drawing skills. Draw the triangular section first. Once this is done, paint each portion with a color of choice.

9. Song Lyric Wall Painting

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These easy canvas painting ideas are similar to the quotes, except you can paint your favorite music lyrics. You can also use these easy canvas painting ideas to create great Christmas and birthday gifts for your friends.

You can use the same technique as you'll use in the abstract quotes DIY canvas painting idea.

10. Splatter Canvas Painting

We finish our easy canvas painting ideas list with a fun one. All you have to do is pick a color and get cracking. You can use bright colors like orange and red to create a bright DIY canvas painting. We're delighted to bring you easy painting ideas that you'll have fun doing as you work on your blank canvas.

Once you're done, you can hang your completed painting on your wall. Then, whenever you see your painting ideas on canvas, you'll be more motivated to continue with the other easy canvas painting ideas on this list.

What Supplies Do You Need for DIY Canvas Painting?

1. Paints

Before you get started on your art, you need to decide what paintings you want to use. Acrylic paints and oil paints work great on canvas. Therefore, you can choose either of these. However, based on many painters' experience, acrylic paint has been seen to work best on canvas.

This is because acrylic paints are easier to work with when painting on canvas. If you are a beginner, we advise that you start with acrylic painting then move on to oil painting after some experience.

2. Paint Brushes

Because we know that many beginners are reading this article to get pointers for their canvas painting journey, we'll advise you to get yourself a curated paintbrush set. A curated paintbrush set is great because it allows you to experiment with various brushes without costing you a pretty penny.

3. Painting Surface

A tabletop that you cover with a newspaper for protection can work if you don't have another option. However, we recommend that you get an easel for better performance. You can ask your local carpenter to make you one or order an affordable one online.

4. Canvases

The star of the show. You can't have canvas painting without the canvases. Although canvases come in various sizes and are made of different materials, we recommend that you get a standard cotton canvas if you're starting.

Ensure that the cotton canvas is stretched for your convenience.

5. Palette

A palette is a surface where you arrange and mix your paint. You can also think of this as your squeeze surface. Pick the best painter's palette that you can use for a very long time.

6. Painter’s Smock

A smock is an article of clothing that you use to protect your outfit from paint and other liquids. You can use a large oversized t-shirt that you never wear or buy one from the store.

7. Cleaning Supplies

Knowing that you'll be able to clean up later efficiently will allow you to focus on your work instead of worrying about the mess you're making. You can have a rag or paper towels close by that you can use to wipe your brushes.

What Should You Know Before Starting DIY Canvas Painting?

The last thing you want is to ruin your blank canvas before you get started. So here are some tips and steps you can follow when executing these easy canvas painting ideas.

1. Prep Your Canvas

To avoid ruining your canvas, ensure that it is pre-stretched and primed before you get started. When priming your canvas, use gesso which is often used to prime your canvas. Oil paint, acrylic, and tempera are some substances you can use while priming.

Do you know how you apply a primer before you paint your rooms? This is the same thing. Gesso will protect the fibers on your canvas and make it easier for you to paint.

2. Apply A Tonal Background

To get better results, set the mood by applying an all-over tone to your DIY canvas painting. For example, if you're painting a moody DIY canvas painting that shows a storm, the white blank canvas will not be suitable.

Having a tonal background that's a light bluish-gray is a better option.

3. Ensure Your Supplies Are in Order

Whether you're painting at an easel or the kitchen tabletop, you want to get everything in order before you start. Decide whether you want your canvas to be upright or on a flat surface before you get started.

It'll be easier if you set up your workstation before you get started. Ensure your palette, paint brushes, water, and palette knives are in order.

4. Choose Your Brushes

Having the right brushes can affect how you paint. For example, use acrylic brushes and oil paint brushes instead of watercolor brushes. Having brushes with longer handles and stiffer bristles will also serve you well.

5. Do An Underpainting

As you are doing your DIY canvas painting, creating an underpainting can produce better results. Underpainting involves creating an outline that will add depth to your finished DIY canvas painting. Use an opposing color when doing the underpainting.

6. Mix Appropriately

As you bring these easy painting ideas to life using acrylic paints or oil paints, remember that acrylic paints dry a bit darker than they look. Oil paints dry the same way, so you won't have to adjust these so much.

While doing your DIY canvas painting with acrylic paints, ensure that you use your palette to mix the colors well before executing your painting ideas.

7. Leave to Dry

Once you are done creating your masterpiece, please leave it to dry in a safe place away from prying fingers or environmental elements. If you have a non-stick surface to put it, the better.


Which one of these canvas painting ideas for beginners did you love the most? Let us know which one you start with. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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