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Easy Canvas Painting Ideas – 30+ DIYs for Beginners


Want to create something with a blank canvas? Try one of these easy canvas painting ideas, perfect for beginning artists and a great way to start with acrylics.

No need to feel intimidated, painting with acrylic paint is not scary at all! The paint is inexpensive and mostly washable. It blends and mixes nicely, and is a lot of fun to play with!

I’ve written an extensive post on how to get started painting with acrylics on canvas. I share all my supplies and links, plus all the tips I’ve learned along the way.

Self Taught Artists

I am definitely a self-taught artist. Back in college, a friend let me paint with her oil paints and I was hooked. I loved watching the colors mix and blend and morph into awesome abstract paintings.

Later, I learned that acrylic paints are just as fun, and a tiny fraction of the hassle. They dry in a reasonable amount of time, the brushes wash clean with just water and they cost a lot less.

Painting with acrylics is perfect for beginners and self taught artists.

ideas for painting on canvas

Step by Step Acrylic Painting Tutorials

Some people want a step by step tutorial, and other people just want ideas to get their juices flowing. I am definitely the latter, but sometimes it is nice to learn new techniques by watching someone.

Below, I have linked up over 20 EASY acrylic painting tutorials on YouTube. I picked beautiful projects, ones that I would (and plan to!) try to re-create to hang in my own home.

Easy Canvas Painting Ideas

Over 20 EASY canvas painting ideas with STEP BY STEP video instructions. Simple acrylic painting tutorials for beginners!

More Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas

I thought I would also include examples of some of the easy canvas paintings I’ve created in the past. They’re all incredibly simple, and most of them were really quick (and satisfying!) projects.

Mark Rothko inspired

Mark Rothko was an influential American abstract painter in the 1950’s-70’s. His signature style is basically abstract rectangles of color. I fell in love with his art when I was in college, and only can dream about owning a real piece by him someday, as they run in the millions!

But his style is fun and relatively simple to replicate. Choose a few shades and paint some rectangles! The edges are never perfect, and the rectangles can butt right up to each other, or be spaced out, as I have done.

Sunrise/Sunset over ocean

Sunrise and sunset paintings are always fun, and painting them as an ocean scene makes for a lovely warm/cool color contrast. These are easy paintings to do, just do a gradient of warm colors for the sky, and then blues for the ocean.

I once heard in a painting tutorial that there is a barely visible red line at the edge of the horizon, so I made sure to add that in here, along with a dark, dark blue line directly below it.

Desert Sunset with black cactus

Silhouette paintings can be a lot of fun to create, and sunsets and the desert are perfect subjects for it! This painting is created by using yellow, red and blue acrylic paints, and blending them together to make a sunset. Once it has dried, using black paint, create a horizon with mountains, and a few cactus in the foreground and background. Easy!

Layered Mountains

To continue with the desert vibes, to create a painting similar to this, all you need to do is decide on a palette of colors. I chose red oxide for the mountains and yellow ochre for the sky. To create the layered mountain look, begin by painting the sky, then adding the mountain in the back with the lightest shade, and adding in layers of mountains in progressively darker shades.

Abstract Shapes

This painting was so much fun to create. I wanted a heart shape to be somewhat visible, but with lots of laters of abstract strokes and splotches of color. I used mostly warm colors on one side and cool colors on the other, to symbolize me and my husband and our marriage. It hung for awhile above our bed.

This was my first real painting that I sold. Maybe someday I’ll recreate it again.

Tape Resist

This type of painting is fun to do with kids, but also can be done in a cool, abstract way that can be hung in a living room, bedroom or bathroom as well. To create a tape resist painting, start with. a blank canvas, and using painters tape or washit tape, create a design, kind of like a crazy spiderweb. Then paint in the exposed areas, and remove the tape when partially dry.

Abstract Coral

I came up with the idea for this type of canvas painting as I was browsing a furniture store. I thought it would be awesome to paint coral in an abstract way, so I created the first one in a lovely reddish peachy coral. It was a little lonely on its own, so I added in more canvases with the other colors, and I love how it turned out. It is perfect for a bathroom!

To recreate these, begin at the bottom with the base stem and work your way up, with soft right angles and branches.

Match Decor Elements

Painting canvases for my kids nurseries was where it all started for me. I loved to paint matching prints to hand above their cribs. I have a whole tutorial about creating matching canvas decor here.

baby crib with matching art


My favorite style of art for easy canvas painting is ABSTRACT! Anything goes, and mixing colors and textures is so fun. Just pick a few colors, swipe your brush around the canvas and see what happens!

Hopefully this has been helpful for you! All you need to do now is get some paint on that canvas and PLAY!

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