Paint Your Numbers

7 Painting Ideas: What to Paint When You Have No Ideas

Painting is an artistic expression of ideas and emotions that has aesthetic values and thoughtful meanings. Whether you're skilled in it or not, doing it alone or with company, rest assured it's a fun art activity. But what should you paint when you run out of painting ideas to display on a canvas? 

You can paint abstract patterns, nature landscapes, favorite animals, loved ones, or images inspired by real-life events. Painting any of these is nothing to be ashamed of because even the best artists run out of ideas on what to paint. 

The beauty in painting something you're not typically used to painting is that you improve your strokes and extend your range as either a professional or casual painter. Additionally, you enjoy that creative freedom to paint whatever you want for as long as you wish to explore painting ideas.

In this post, we will share some of the coolest painting ideas you can explore as an artist that’s short of painting ideas. Using these ideas can be an art project that keeps you going for as long as you intend to paint something outside of what you typically paint. 

Let's begin! 

1. Things inspired by real life

Life is full of many events about people, cultures, and places for artists to explore and re-express on a canvas. Many of the most famous paintings in history, which people see in museums and art galleries, were inspired by real-life events. 

It's known that artists travel the world to find painting ideas or inspiration for their art projects in the places they visit. That's how they capture beautiful cultures, fun-filled festivals, and bustling cities on a canvas. Looking at some of these paintings is more like traveling through time and cities to grasp these real-life events.  

Viewers can relive the events of what happened at the place the inspiration came from, the subjects of the events, and the themes the painter wishes to express through these people and places. These are immortalized and debated in art classes, tours, and other places for many years. 

While professional artists travel to get painting ideas, you don’t necessarily have to. You can make custom paint by observing real-life events in your immediate environment, attaching themes, and expressing them through painting. 

Vincent Van Gogh created one of his most famous paintings - The Cafe Terrace  - by observing a cafe at night. Other examples of paintings about things inspired by real life include Paris Street; Rainy Day, painted by Gustave Caillebotte, Water Lilies, painted by Claud Monet; and Christina’s World, painted by Andrew Wyeth, among many others. 

If you feel like painting something different from a real-life event or you’re looking for an easier and faster way to capture the moment, you can take a picture of this event and create a paint-by-number on a custom canvas

This picture would come out as a painting in your color preference and size, which you can hang wherever you want in your home. 

2. Portraits of your loved one  

We journey through life creating memories that endear us to our loved ones. Whether as a professional painter or just for fun, painting portraits of your loved one is a great idea that would look great on a canvas. 

A portrait painting of your loved one makes a fantastic piece on your wall or theirs if you're gifting it. Whether a portrait painting of your lover, sibling, parent, or friend, it is a thoughtful gift many people wouldn't expect whenever you present it. It is you immortalizing a moment of utter joy, installing it in an easy DIY canvas frame, and hanging it on a wall. 

Every time you or your loved one walk past this framed painting, you get reminded of the beautiful bond you all share. You can even combine pictures of multiple loved ones and paint a picture of them. 

Paint with numbers is a great way to create a portrait. If you're painting for fun and have decided to use this idea, you should know that a portrait painting of a loved one doesn't have to be perfect. You'll enjoy painting it and even enjoy looking at it. People value such paintings for the intention and the love put into their creative process.

3. Your favorite animal 

We all have a specific animal we like. Some people even show this likeness by acquiring such animals as pets, and they turn out to be companions providing their owners with love and affection. Short on painting ideas? Paint your favorite animal or pet.

If you're drawing your pet, this painting may serve as a tribute to the companionship you've received. It can also be an expression of admiration for the nature of such an animal. 

Using this painting idea isn't new. It dates back to the first people. In ancient times, people carved images of animals on walls, telling stories of their significance to humans, primarily how they aided human survival. 

You can have number paintings of your chosen animal to make it more fun and eventful. This is super helpful for beginners, as it will help them independently create masterpieces that will amaze whoever sees them. 

Instead of painting directly, you can take multiple photos of your pet or favorite animal, select the best one and convert it into an actual painting. You can even add a pet photo to a family photo and paint it for fun. 

You may also like: 7 Reasons Why Paint by Numbers Is a Good Way to Start Painting

4. Nature landscapes 

Nature is beautiful, and we can instantly confirm it by looking around us. Regardless of whether you live in the countryside or you've never visited, painting nature landscapes is an excellent idea to enjoy the scenery and immortalize it on canvas.  

From deserts to rainforests, oceans to skies, there’s an attraction all over. The best part about exploring this painting idea is that you have more than enough options. 

Nature is a muse that can give endless inspiration and countless painting ideas. You can draw mountains, forests, valleys, rivers, trees, or cliffs in ways that appeal to you. You can depict your vision of the earth differently, expressing different meanings and themes. 

You can do it directly in nature or take a picture of a natural landscape and have it turned into a paint by numbers set.

You don't have to be home to paint a natural landscape that strikes your eye. For instance, if you're out on a nature walk and have a sketchbook and pencil, you can create a lovely custom painting. 

You may also like to read 20 Paint-by-Numbers Tips for Beginners

5. Abstract patterns

Abstract patterns

Painting whatever you want is an expression of freedom, but the best type of this freedom is abstract patterns. It can be random, but this type of painting can offer viewers an emotional experience unique to each of them, making it a great painting idea to try out. 

As relevant as abstract paintings are, abstract art is challenging. While you can conjure any form of abstract pattern painting on a canvas, you must understand color mixing, color values, and composition to create a successful one. 

All easy painting ideas inspired by intuition or vision require good discipline. 

The essence of stating that is not to scare you from this painting idea; it's just for you to know that choosing to paint abstract patterns and successfully doing so isn't effortless.  

To master its technical nature, you can begin by practicing with watercolor as a sidewalk chalk paint. For instance, you can start by trying to paint an abstract flower. Once you've mastered the technique, you can create more elaborate patterns and have so much fun doing it. 

Painting abstract patterns is an ideal option for painting your numbers. The fact that abstract patterns don't contain an identifiable picture but are colorful is an excellent reason to try out paint by number crafts. 

If you are new to painting by numbers, check out How to Paint Using Paint by Numbers

6. Paint what you’re passionate about 

Every individual has something they are passionate about. It could be sports, media, architecture, or anything they can do, irrespective of their state of mind. If you need more painting ideas, painting your passion is a viable option to explore. 

The fact that you already have a strong interest in what you're passionate about makes painting it more fun. Most people indulge their passion because it helps them push through difficult phases. Running out of painting ideas can be tough. 

So if you love painting, painting what you're passionate about is an excellent way to get out of that phase. Doing this has many benefits, including a drastic reduction in stress levels, mastery of painting skills, reconnection with inner-self, and unlocking new levels of creativity. 

Running out of painting ideas might be because of stress, failure to master painting techniques, lack of self-motivation, and low creativity. 

It can even be because you're yet to try new things, like painting something you're passionate about. The good news is once you decide to paint your passion, you're eliminating all these negative feelings while enjoying two hobbies simultaneously.

Painting pictures of what you're most passionate about can set the tone for your next art project. Paint by numbers allow you to practice your brush techniques, strokes, detail orientation, and color theory. 

You may also like Is Paint by Numbers Good for Anxiety?

7. Paint on rocks instead of on canvas 

Canvas has a good texture, lightweight, absorbent, and portable. These, among others, are reasons it's a preferred painting surface. However, you can switch things up by painting on rocks instead of on canvas.  

Painting on different surfaces, like a rock, requires unique painting kits. In this case, your go-to should be acrylic paint, small brushes, paint markers and pens, and sealant. 

Acrylic paint is a washable paint when the paint is still wet. You can use this acrylic paint with small brushes, which are handy for rock painting ideas. These supplies should help you create the image you intend. 

While using canvas is generally preferred as it syncs well with other art supplies, painting on rock is easier than it looks. The best part is once you get used to it, it'll become a habit. If you're hoping to try this out, follow these steps:

  • Ensure you prime the rock. You can buy it at your supply store or use a DIY primer. 
  • After the primer is dried, draw out your sketch using a pencil. You can draw without a sketch if you have the capability. Draw out the contours to achieve great precision on the rock.
  • Paint pictures and all their details, trace the painting outline with a black paint marker.
  • Leave the rock to dry. 
  • Finish up by varnishing the rock to let it shine. 

If you can't find a place to buy rocks for painting, you can carve out some yourself. These flat rocks are good alternatives to natural rocks because they withstand the sun, moisture, and other destructive elements. You can also paint on artificial stones like marble, labradorite, slate, etc. 

You don't need any special tools to manufacture an artificial stone; you can get its materials at the nearest store. All you'll need are household items, including a plastic bucket, a drill for mixing, household scales, a trowel, a table or any flat surface, cement, and sifted sand. 

Ensure you observe safety measures while creating artificial stone by wearing a face mask or respirator to block off harmful building powders.

Takeaway: Try these suggestions whenever you’re short on painting ideas

Try these suggestions whenever you’re short on painting ideas

Painting is a fun activity, especially when you have multiple ideas on what to paint. Having fun while painting is as important as the painting itself. So explore all of the suggestions above for your painting exercises whenever you’re short on painting ideas. 

While picking and trying out any of the easy painting ideas mentioned above promises to be fun, it can be more fun if you paint by numbers. 

Paint by numbers from photos or from imagination evokes fun-filled childhood memories. So it would be best if you prioritized the fun you ought to derive from painting. 

Start your paint-by-numbers journey by ordering our Custom Paint-By-Numbers Kit today!