5 Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas for Beginners on Canvas

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When beginners ask me which type of paint they should start with, I generally suggest acrylics. Acrylic paints are inexpensive, and they are relatively easy to work with.

The only drawback I find to using acrylics is the fact that they dry quickly. While this can be a good thing, it can make it difficult to blend colors.

But, you can always use a medium that will make the paint stay wet longer, giving you more time for blending.

Acrylic paints are great for experimenting with, and you can learn a lot about brush strokes and other techniques that can be carried over to oil painting.

Today we are going to take a look at what I think are some of the best acrylic painting ideas for beginners. Let’s get started.

Gather Up Your Supplies

Before you can get down to painting, you will need to have all of the proper supplies. When it comes to paints for beginners, I suggest going to an art supply store and buying a store-brand set of paints.

This shouldn’t cost any more than $10 to $20, and you will get plenty of colors to work with. You will also need to get some brushes.

If it is in your budget, I would advise getting a set of brushes that is mid-range in price. The set should include a flat brush, a liner brush for details, a fan brush, a mop brush, or something similar, and a few extra brushes to play around with.

While you are at the art supply store, be sure to pick up a couple of canvases. You can often get multi-packs for less than $20. You should also get an inexpensive easel and a painting palette.

My Favorite Beginner Acrylic Paint Ideas

Now, let’s talk about some of the easiest and most fun acrylic paint ideas for beginners. I don’t advise getting into the more advanced tutorials at this point.

There may be techniques that you find difficult. If you are unable to recreate the painting from the tutorial, you could end up disappointed in your work and be less inclined to give it another try.

Here are five acrylic paint on canvas ideas that are ideal for beginners.

#1. Waterfalls

One of my first acrylic paintings was of a waterfall. This was also one of my first subjects for pastels and watercolor paints because waterfalls are quite easy and they look awesome in paintings.

You will need to have blue, green white, and black paint to create a waterfall. I like to use greens and black to create a scene that includes rocks and trees.

The flat brush is what you will need to paint the waterfalls. It is best to not wet your brush and to use a dry-on-dry technique using white and light green or light blue paint colors.

Decide where you want the top of the waterfalls to be on the canvas. To give the painting a bit of depth, come at the falls from the side. Draw a line with the edge of the flat brush, and then pull the paint downwards. This is going to give a waterfall effect.

Add some scenery, and you will end up with a painting you can be proud of.

#2. Galaxy Paintings

For many beginners, their first acrylic painting is a galaxy scene. This is so easy to do and the colors are beautiful.

The colors you will be using for this will be blues, purples, and even some dark pinks. Instead of using a paintbrush, I suggest using a sponge.

Dip the sponge into one of the paint colors, and dab it onto various areas of the canvas. Continue working with the sponge using all of the colors on your palette.

You can also use a bit of titanium white to create the Milky Way. As with waterfalls, it is best to use a dry brush so you don’t end up with a solid streak of white. You want it to have an ethereal look.

When you are finished, put some titanium white paint onto a toothbrush. Then you can pull on the bristles to sprinkle dots all over the painting that will look like stars. Another option is to use a whiteout pen and dot the stars onto the finished painting.

#3. Trees

Trees aren’t nearly as difficult to paint as you may think. You will need black paint, as well as shades of brown and green.

Use a flat brush with black or brown paint to create the tree trunks. Next, use the liner brush to draw the branches, making sure to make squiggly lines instead of straight lines. No tree branch is ever straight in nature.

Next, use the mop brush or a stipple brush to create the leaves. You will want to use various shades of green to create depth in the painting. Another option is to use a sponge to create clusters of leaves.

You can also use the mop brush or a sponge to create little clusters of flowers in the trees. Start with dark pink, then do a layer of lighter pink, followed by a layer of white to create depth.

#4. Butterflies

Butterflies are fun and easy to paint. You can choose to create a scenic background before adding the butterfly, or simply add a color wash so the background has a bit of color and isn’t solid white.

If you are an absolute beginner, there is a simple way to add a butterfly to your painting. I like to draw it on paper. Then, I use a piece of carbon paper and trace the outline of the butterfly onto the canvas.

Once the butterfly has been drawn, it’s time to start adding colors. Use a round brush for the main colors, and a liner brush for the smaller details.

#5. Sunflowers

You don’t have to paint an entire garden or even grass to create a beautiful sunflower painting. I often just paint a sunflower against a blue sky.

The first step is to create a blue sky background on the canvas. You can use titanium white to create clouds if you wish to do so. Clouds are super-easy to paint, especially if you are using a sponge. This will prevent any sharp edges so the clouds look soft and fluffy.

Once the background is complete, it is time to create the sunflower. Use medium brown paint to create the center of the flower. You can use some yellow paint to make dots in the center portion to give the flower a more realistic appearance.

Now it’s time to create the petals. Pick up some yellow paint with a round brush. Press down at the edge of the center of the flower, and pull the brush away and up. This will give you a long petal that is a bit pointed at the end.

Continue doing this all the way around. Then, do it again with different shades of yellow to add some depth.


These are just a few of my favorite acrylic painting ideas for beginners that I often teach at paint and sip classes. I also suggest looking on YouTube for beginner acrylic painting tutorials.

There are loads of easy tutorials that range from 10 minutes to two or three hours in duration. Start with the shorter tutorials and work your way up to the longer and more difficult ones. In no time at all you will be creating some beautiful artwork.

Check my guides on acrylic paint techniques and painting with acrylics tips to learn more!

Up next: Easy Oil Painting Ideas for Beginners

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