Cindy Briggs

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Easy Things to Paint for Beginner Artists

Easy Things to Paint for Beginner Artists

I’ve had beginner artists come to me and ask about easy things to paint in watercolors. Most of them are eager to paint but find themselves out of ideas, overwhelmed with too many concepts, or out of inspiration. I tell them the same thing I tell all my students: take a deep breath, let it out, and then see things in a simplified way. From there, you’ll notice just how so many subjects are around us and how simple it can be to paint them.

Painting Ideas for Beginner Artists

A big secret to painting is to remember that everything is a shape. Recognizable shapes are the easiest and actually the foundation of most art, and using simple recognizable shapes for painting ideas is a great place to start.

Circles

If you can’t think of anything else to paint as a beginner, you can start with circles. Circles are easy to paint, and you can add as little or as much of them as you want on your watercolor paper.  Any simple geometric shape can make a fun design.   Circles1 shapes2

Balloons

Balloons are one of the simplest objects around, and all you need to paint them are circles and squiggly lines. You can choose a simple design or add more details around the balloons as you please. balloons

Leaves

Leaves may look complicated, but beginner artists can paint them. You can paint a leaf shape without focusing too much on the details, and people will still recognize your painting as a leaf. leaves

Flowers

Of course, another wonderful subject that new artists can paint is flowers. They’re beautiful organic shapes and if you stick to keeping the shapes simple, you’ll easily create a beautiful flower painting. flowers1 flowers2

Fruit & Vegetables

A quick look at the market and you’ll find a variety of recognizable shapes to paint. Fruits and vegetables usually consist of recognizable shapes that people can easily draw and paint when paired with the right colors.   fruits1 fruits2 fruits3

Cacti

Next to leaves, flowers, and fruits are cacti. Their repetitive shapes are fascinating.  Once you’re done with their basic shape, you can add more details as you wish or keep them simple. cacti cacti2

Handprints

If the past ideas aren’t inspiring you yet, try using your hand as a painting. You can outline your hand and add paint, or put paint on your whole hand or your fingers and make a watercolor hand print. handprint

Abstracts

Watercolor painting is perfect for abstract art. You don’t even need a specific goal in mind – you can just paint for fun or paint to relax.  Sometimes an abstract painting makes a great base to draw on top with a permanent marker. abstract1 abstract2 abstract3

Landscapes

Some people find landscapes complicated, but in reality you can simplify a landscape into just a few shapes. Try looking at a scene and see if you can break it down into 3-4 main shapes.  Once you do this painting a watercolor landscape is much easier whether you are painting mountains, a seascape, or fields of flowers. landscape1 landscape2

How to Enhance Your Watercolor Painting Skills

The best way to improve your painting skills is to keep painting. I like working in a series to really get to know a subject matter.  For instance, try painting a variety of flowers, soon you’ll discover how much more you see and become comfortable with that subject.  Then maybe switch to painting landscapes for a while.  Follow your heart and paint what you are excited about too.   Continuously practicing allows you to discover your painting style and preferences. It also lets you view how far you’ve come and inspires you to paint even more. I recommend taking classes to learn more about techniques, ask for feedback from your teacher about what you can do to improve. Find instructors that are informative, positive and generous with their tips.  Look for teachers that have a style that you might want to emulate.  Creating art invites fun new discoveries and expands your view of the world. I offer online programs like a five-program package for portrait painting and a year’s worth of quick sketch tutorials. My big packages also include a whole series of beginner tip videos too to help build your confidence.  I also conduct scheduled online “Live” workshops to guide my students step-by-step with the Smithsonian Art Studios, University of Utah, Terracotta and French Escapade, so check this page regularly if you’d like to attend one.

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