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21 Ideas on what to Paint. What to paint when you don't know what to paint!

Art Blog how to improve your painting ideas on what to paint Painting Technique personal art journey

Help I don't know what to paint? Having trouble coming up with new painting ideas?

Tui in a Kowhai tree acrylic painting by Goldstarwork, artist Laura Wilson

Tui in the Kowhai Tree

Have those creative juices run dry. Do you have artist block? Or maybe you just want to try something different but can't think of anything new. 

Here I will give you a list of ideas to get you going. 

After all, if you haven't got great painting ideas then all the technical skills in the world are not going to help you create great art. 

These painting ideas are a starting point, not an endpoint. Let yourself start with an idea and expand on it. Working in a series is a great way to do this. Here is a post I have written to help you with that.

10 Steps to Creating a Series of Paintings. Why you SHOULD plan a collection of related artwork.

10 Steps to Creating a Series of Paintings. Why you SHOULD plan a collection of related artwork. Art Blog by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

You also need to think about what style or genre you want to paint in. 

Make a list of the subjects and styles you would like to consider.  Do you want to paint landscapes, figures, Abstracts? what style do you want to paint in? realistic, expressionist etc. Do you want to paint in a limited palette or maybe even one colour? Then narrow it down to two or three subjects or styles.

Too many options can be just as confusing and stop the creative process as no ideas.

1, Paint your life.

It takes courage to paint and share such personal subjects, but the result is often a strong emotional connection with viewers, so it’s definitely worth it!

2, Paint what you are passionate about.

What is your passion? What do you feel strongly about?

Painting your passions is just another way of communicating your ideas, by means of visual language to try to provoke a reaction in the viewer. You will always have passions—so paint them! 

3, Paint whats around you.

There are things all around you! You don't have to travel somewhere new to find something. Make a challenge to yourself to make everyday objects interesting in some way in paint.

There is beauty in everyday objects

It’s easy to feel like some subjects are too ordinary to paint, but actually, any subject can be painted an interesting way. Once you get a solid composition and colour scheme, you can paint any subject.

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4, Paint something abstract

As you paint, Think about your mood, feelings. Try to paint what happiness would look like or excitement. Sadness or serenity. Try to imagine how you would paint that emotion. What colours, shapes, textures. Just keep in mind composition, balance. See how those emotions translate into brushwork or lines and colours.

Oceans Alive abstract painting by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Oceans Alive

5, Try a Painting exercise

Here is a chance to get out that colour theory book and actually do the exercises in them. Just playing around with paint can get your imagination going and jump-start your brain. Also, you might even learn something!

Choosing a Basic Palette and How to use it. Acrylic Painting Tips.

Choosing a Basic Palette and How to use it. Acrylic Painting Tips.

Art Blog

6, Using poetry or a song to paint

Use a song or piece of poetry as a starting point for a painting. Let the words jumpstart your imagination.

7, Painting ideas from sayings and idioms

Everyday sayings could make some interesting paintings. Think about how you can translate the words into a painting.

8, Paint a narrative. 

Tell a story with pictures instead of words.

9, Paint a historical subject

10, Paint flowers

Lavender in summer acrylic painting of flowers and white butterflies by Goldstarwork artist Laura Wilson

Lavender in summer

11, Paint in silhouette

Purple night moon. Moon light on the water acrylic painting by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Purple Night Moon

12, Paint a still life

Set it up and paint in realism, then try the same in abstract

13, Paint a landscape

What's the weather like in your landscape? Paint it stormy and paint it at night. Paint with the sun shining and with northern lights shining in the sky.

Starry Starry Night, Night time scene in purple with Acrylic Paint. By Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Starry, Starry Night

14, Painting people

You can just paint a portrait or paint them in life. At work or play. Do family life snippets. include the pets.

15, Paint seascapes

Waipatiki wave study, Ocean wave acrylic painting by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Waipatiki Wave Study

16, Paint nature

Life cycles of the seasons of plants and insects can make interesting paintings

Autumn Wonder acrylic painting of an autumn tree by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Autumn Wonder

17, Paint city life

Paint city scenes what people are doing.downtown bustle, cafe life. the city at night

Night lights in the city. Original Hand Painted Greeting Card by Goldstarworks, Artist Laura Wilson

Night lights in the city. Original Hand Painted Greeting Card  

18, Try painting your beliefs values spiritually or religion

19, Paint fantasy

Dive into your inner world of your imagination and paint what is there. Or paint mythology or folk tails

Galaxy Girl in Green, fantasy acrylic painting Girl in Space acrylic painting by Goldstarwork, Artist Laura Wilson

Galaxy Girl in Green

20, Have fun when you paint!

Painting should be fun so make sure you are having some. Sometimes we get so bogged down with making things technically correct that it takes the passion and fun right out of the picture.

Those paintings that are full of passion will always appeal to us more than those perfect paintings with no soul. Your passion will show in the painting.

So once in a while, make a painting just for the fun of it—take a few risks, have fun, and see what happens.

21, Look at subjects from different perspectives

Once you choose what to paint, look at it from different angles. From the side, from above, from the inside out. Anyway you can think of. Take your time and enjoy the process.

What excites you? What touches your heart in some way, what speaks to your soul. Look around you and inside of yourself. Find your passion.

If you enjoyed this blog here are some others you may like.

Day 8, Building a daily art habit. Easy backgrounds continued for poppy painting and dealing with artists block. 

How to significantly improve your painting skills. Understanding value and tone.

Happy painting everyone!

 Most of the paintings shown here are for sale if you see something you like head on over to my gallery where you can see many more.



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