8 Easy Oil Painting Ideas for Beginners

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When many people first start painting with oils, they don’t know what they should paint. They may feel that some types of paintings are well beyond their skill levels.

All kinds of easy oil paintings are perfect for beginners. We are going to take a look at some of my favorite types of beginner oil painting ideas in this post.

I will also be talking about the materials you will need to get started, including still-life paintings and landscape paintings.

What You Will Need

Before you can start painting, there are some art supplies you are going to need. I always suggest to beginners that they have a small selection of oil paints, along with oil painting brushes and canvas.

You will also need to have a painting palette, linseed oil or paint thinner, paper towels or cleaning rags, and an easel.

Easy Oil Painting Projects You Can Work On

Once you have the necessary art supplies, you can start painting. But, what are you going to paint?

I tend to encourage beginners to start with still-life paintings because they seem to be the easiest for most people. Boxes and spheres are easy, and a great way to get familiar with using paints and brushes.

You have probably seen many paintings of fruit. This is because these are very easy paintings that are perfect for beginners, and you can use the box and sphere shapes.

Let’s take a look at some more of my favorite oil painting ideas for beginners.

#1. Flowers

Many people think that flowers are difficult to paint. While they can be difficult if you want to go into a lot of detail, they can also be quite simple to paint.

You don’t have to worry about drawing every single petal. I love to use a stipple brush to create clusters of flowers.

This way, you get the look of flowers without having to go into a lot of detail. This type of painting can be quite beautiful.

#2. Simple Landscapes

Landscapes can be a lot easier to paint than you might think. Just as with flowers, you don’t have to go into a lot of detail to make a landscape painting come to life.

Try using various shades of green to create grass and bushes. When it comes to oil painting landscape ideas, use your browns for tree trunks, and then use the stipple brush to create clumps of leaves on the trees.

#3. Fluffy Clouds

Clouds are easy to paint, and oil paint is great for painting clouds. Because oils dry slowly, you can blend the edges of the clouds into the background sky so they look full and fluffy.

Using a wet-on-wet technique can also help to create softer edges. Or, if you want something bold, try using your palette knife and the impasto technique.

#4. Sunsets

Sunsets are among the easiest paintings to do, and this is a great way to get used to creating hombre effects with various shades of the same color.

I love to do an ombre sky, and then use a dry brush to create streaks in the sky that look like thin clouds. Try using blues, purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows to make your sunset painting pop.

#5. Ocean Scenes

There are few paintings prettier than ocean scenes, and they can be pretty easy to create. There are also a lot of different areas you can focus on.

For instance, you may want to use shades of beige to focus on a beach scene. Or, add a lighthouse, which is very easy to draw. You can use shades of blue for the water, and even use other colors to reflect the colors of the sky.

#6. Night Sky

The night sky is a great subject for beginners who are just getting into oil painting. I suggest using various shades of blues and purples to create the night sky.

You can add trees at the bottom of the painting with black paint, so they look like silhouettes against the night sky. Put some white paint onto another brush or a toothbrush, and splatter on some stars to finish the painting.

#7. Abstract Paintings

Abstract paintings are easy and fun to do. This is your chance to go crazy with colors and shapes, and not have to play by any specific rules.

If you have some painters’ tape you can place strips of it all over the canvas so you get a variety of geometrical shapes. Then, paint the open spaces.

Once you remove the tape, you will have nice, sharp lines, and there will be spaces between each of the shapes.

#8. Silhouettes

I already mentioned how you can create silhouettes against the night sky. You can also create silhouettes against other backgrounds.

For instance, you can paint a silhouette of a boat on the ocean at sunset. Or, create a beach scene in silhouette, complete with a couple of palm trees. This is a great way to get creative, get more practice with brush strokes, and practice color combinations without having to create a lot of details.


These are just a few ideas for easy oil paintings for beginners. I also suggest just practicing different brush strokes and other oil painting techniques on an inexpensive canvas.

You may not create a work of art, but you will learn a lot as you go. Who knows? When practicing like this you may even find that you create a cool abstract painting without even trying!

Once your painting is dry, store it properly and make sure you learn the proper way of cleaning an oil painting to avoid damaging it.

See more surfaces for oil painting you can try.

Up next: Easy Acrylic Painting Ideas for Beginners on Canvas

*image by gorgev/depositphotos