100 Simple Canvas Painting Ideas to Activate the Artist Within

Do you like to combine the pleasant with the useful? One of the ways to do this is to paint and decorate the objects you use or want to offer. An important aspect of decorative painting is that it does not require a high level of talent. Anyone passionate about colors, the art of beauty, can do so if they learn and apply some techniques. In this article I have prepared a few precious tips for those of you who want to dwell into the world of decorative painting, as well as simple canvas painting ideas for your home!

Canvas Painting Ideas – Steps to Begin With

A clean canvas can arise a whole wave of creative ideas. However, it can become a real source of stress as well. This is because you might hear yourself asking questions such as “What do I paint?”, “Where do I start?”, “What materials do I need?”. So, in order to make your life easier, here is a list of useful steps that will help you begin your artsy work!

How to Prepare the Canvas

Stretch the canvas on a wooden frame or buy a support with an already stretched canvas secured on it. Next, you’ll have to remove the plastic foil in which is wrapped. The actual painting process doesn’t begin yet. First, you have to apply a synthetic glue or a layer of gypsum. These are meant to protect the fibers of the cloth and to smooth its surface. The substances that you use may vary depending on the paints you are planning to use.

How to Prepare the Background

After applying the plaster, you can prepare the background for your painting. If you plan, for example, to paint a stormy landscape, you can “dress” the canvas in a light gray shade. If, instead, you intend to paint a sunset landscape, you can paint the canvas in a warm beige hue.

Prepare Your Working Utensils

How do you work better? When your canvas is supported by a stand or when it is lying on a flat surface, with the color palette next to it? None of the variants is wrong, but the whole process would be easier and more enjoyable if you would prepare your working environment before you got started. Prepare your brushes, color palette, water and any other utensils that you will use during your activity.

Choose the Right Type of Brushes

Some brushes are more suitable for painting on canvas than others. The canvas can be too hard, for example, for the brushes you normally use in order to apply the watercolor technique. Therefore, brushes specially designed for the use of acrylic paints and oil colors are recommended.

Choose the Right Colors

The difference between the way oil colors look before and after application is almost nonexistent. However, when it comes to acrylics, things are different. More specifically, after applying acrylic colors, they begin to darken. So, choose the right colors taking these changes into account. You want to make sure the shades that you use won’t end up looking much darker than you wanted them to.

The most commonly used in decorative paintings are acrylics. They are paints that get dry quickly, are cheaper than oils, and which form a durable film. In addition, a great advantage of acrylics is that they keep their colors lively – they do not turn yellow in time. Paints manufacturers have created a very wide range of shades to help those who paint decorations. Thus, you will find pastel shades, metallic shades, bright, fluorescent shades and so on. Besides the classic tubes and jars, you can also find bottles with applicators, or Posca pens, with which you can easily create fine details, points or lines with constant thickness.

Experiment With Medium Oil

Medium is an oil for painting produced from natural binders that can be added in acrylics or in oil colors to create unique effects in the case of paintings on canvas. Medium gives texture, a glossy effect or a matte effect, depending on the chosen type.

Pick a Safe Place to Let the Canvas Dry

Before you start painting, make sure you have an available space where you can leave the canvas get dry. Otherwise, your artwork may be damaged. In addition, paint stains can be quite difficult to clean.

Simple Techniques for Your Canvas Painting Ideas

In order to decorate an object or paint on a canvas, it is not absolutely necessary to apply a certain technique. You can give free rein to your imagination and paint as you wish, guiding the brush to your liking. Flowers are the most common motif for decorations, but simple landscapes look great as well.

If you are among those people who do not have the security of free painting, there are some tips that will guarantee a pleasing result for the eyes. Here are some of them:

Decorative Painting With Traditional Geometric Patterns

If you repeat a geometric pattern on a canvas, you cannot fail, no matter how imperfect the application is. On the contrary, small imperfections will give a more pronounced note of authenticity to your painting. You can find a multitude of ideas everywhere you look.

Canvas Painting with Patterns and Stamps

If you feel that you still want more precision in applying the paint when painting a geometric pattern, you can use templates. Moreover, you will find patterns and decorative stamps that come out of the geometric sphere. For example, you can use a stamp depicting a bird cage. You can add branches with freely painted leaves, as well as other birds. In other words, you can paint an object using only templates and stamps, or you can combine the use of these accessories with free painting.

Paint Using the Dot Technique

The dot technique or pointillism involves painting shapes by making points and points only. The right tools that you can use in order to make the desired dots are the tail of a brush, a nail painting tool, as well as some paint applicators. In addition, remember not to use diluted paint for dotwork. Acrylics, as they are packaged, have perfect consistency.

One-Stroke Decorative Painting Idea

One-stroke is a decorative painting technique that involves loading the brush with two or even three colors. Then, by drawing some loops with the brush thus loaded, for example, flower petals with a gradual transition between the two colors will result. By following the instructions for creating curls for various flowers and leaves, you will be able to create wonderful floral patterns.

Make an Abstract Painting in Only 7 Steps

First Step: Join 7 Points

Randomly mark seven points on the canvas and then join them. After doing so, you have created blank areas that you must fill in. You can do so with various textures and colors. There is no right or wrong way to do this.

Why 7? Because 7 is an odd number large enough to allow you a good coverage of the work surface. 3 or 5 points would not be enough, and more than 7 would already mean an overcrowding of points.

Second Step: Use Your Left Hand

Or, if you are left-handed, you must use your right hand. In this way, without having full control of the movement, you can get unexpected lines and shapes. When you feel your inspiration coming back, you can still use the hand you normally use. This is the moment when you are supposed to see a clear purpose starting from what you randomly obtained in the first phase.

Third Step: Alter the Work Surface

The immaculate and uniform white of the overlay (whether it is paper or canvas) is intimidating. As a first step before starting a painting, you can create an abstract background. There are several ways to do this quickly and easily. Here are some of them:

  • Crumple the paper;
  • Stain the paper. You can even use coffee or tea;
  • Throw paint on canvas by chance;
  • Apply a textured and colored primer;

Forth Step: Use One Color Only

In order to be able to concentrate at the beginning, do not overwhelm your mind with the choice of colors. Take the first step with a neutral color (gray, shadow, sienna) or a basic color that reflects your condition from that moment (yellow, blue). Later on, you can add colors and give life to the painting.

Fifth Step: Use Only One Tool

Start with a single large brush, or a painting knife. Remember that every brush has a classic way of being used, but you can play by testing other methods of applying the paint with that brush.

Sixth Step: Start With Your Eyes Closed

Again, if the white uniform of the canvas scares you, close your eyes and let your hand draw what appears in your imagination. You will notice that it becomes easier to access your imagination with your eyes closed. In addition, the fact that you do not see what the hand does also brings extra confidence.

Seventh Step: Find Geometry in Things

If, however, you are a little scared to start with your eyes closed, look at the scene in front of you, or any image that attracts you, and summarize each object to a geometric shape. Put on paper the geometric shapes only, in relative position to each other as you see them. Then, forget about the image from which you started. Make the geometry of the paper look like something else entirely by using different colors, not those from reality.

Once you have begun to let go, you have to apply abstract painting techniques. These include: stamping, splashing, pouring, scratching. Alternatively repeat these techniques. Moreover, you can twist the canvas and repeat the same techniques from a different angle.

Rules to Apply for All Canvas Painting Ideas

  • Use a sheet underneath the painting area to avoid getting the floor dirty;
  • Paint with an open window. The vapors of some colors can be quite harmful if inhaled;
  • Mix only two colors;
  • Only two things can be done to one color: darkening and lighting;
  • Add the opposite of darkness for shadows and add a more yellowish tone for bright areas;
  • Excess mixing destroys the pigment. So, try not to turn your painting into mud;
  • Paint with a pure color first and add shadows after;
  • Both bright and shady areas must exist in all objects in the painting;
  • The whole range of hues – from light to dark – must be present in the painting;
  • Do not place prominent objects towards the edge of the frame;
  • In every painting there must be both smooth transitions (of color and / or tonality) and sudden transitions. The gradual ones should be placed towards the outside;







More Rules for Your Canvas Painting Ideas

  • Painting without texture is tasteless, as if you were painting inside a drawn frame;
  • To begin with, consider having no more than five colors plus white in your studio;
  • Avoid excessive dilution of colors. Thinning the colors destroys their quality;
  • White is not a color. Too much white ruins the painting;
  • Use a large palette to keep colors away from each other. It would be good for it to be white in order to show the mixes correctly;
  • Large brushes stop you from worrying about odd trifles;
  • If you have painted with oil paints, clean the brushes with a special solution, not with soap and water;
  • Only copy photos that have contrast with brightly lit areas and dark shadows;
  • The room in which you paint must be well lighted in order to apply the tones correctly;
  • Place a mirror in the back, at a distance, to see the painting from a distance while you work on it;
  • Use a dark base in paintings of “still life” in order to give the perspective effect;
  • Less means more – the eye can only see the total impact. Do not load the painting with too many objects;
  • Do not apply another color over an area where the texture is already defined;
  • Paint with confidence, this will be seen with each application of the brush;

Mistakes to Avoid When Painting a Decorative Piece

Regardless of how good your canvas painting ideas are, there are a few mistakes that you should avoid. These refer to the composition itself, as well as other technical aspects.

Not Using Enough Diversity in Your Painting

An interesting painting has diversity. It creates curiosity and provokes interest, and the viewer wants to return again to observe it. So how do you create an interesting painting? Use a wide variety of brushes, techniques and patterns in your paintings. Change the direction of your brush movements or combine different techniques within the same painting.

Using Too Much Technicality and Copying

To really paint a subject you do not have to get stuck in technical details. When I say “really”, I do not mean copying the subject exactly as you see it. I refer to the connection with the model and the arrangement of the real impression that is offered to you by what you see. Thus, your inner creativity leaves its mark on the canvas. This aspect differentiates painters such as Vincent van Gogh and Claude Monet from the others. Each of them inserts their own style and passion in their work. I think your own unique creativity comes to the surface when you no longer rely on the technicalities and theories associated with painting. I’m not saying that theories and techniques should not be studied, but at some point we must put them aside and rely to some extent on our creativity. Whatever you do, do not copy other artists.

Not Using the Right Amount of Paint

Learn how to apply paint on canvas. Many beginners do not refill their brushes often enough. This is understandable considering the cost of materials. But the truth is that your paintings will be more interesting if you apply the paint and refill the brush immediately. Do not try to rub and spread the paint on canvas Otherwise you will get it dirty, you will not paint properly.

You Might Be Thinking Too Much

Don’t criticize or judge your work too hard as you paint. This only leads to discouragement and causes many beginners to become frustrated and give up. Just relax and continue. You trust yourself and your abilities.

The canvas painting ideas presented above go through a wide range of styles and levels of difficulty. Depending on your skills, or on how much you want to learn, you can find inspiration in all! Moreover, once you start painting, you will get more and more canvas painting ideas that are more or less decorative. In addition, if you want to decorate your home, you can start by choosing a theme for every room. In this way, you will have a more organized approach towards painting. Knowing what you are going to paint saves a lot of time and money as well. So, go through the above ideas once more before deciding to start painting!


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