Have you been painting for a while and are now looking for some fresh inspiration? Have you finally gotten some hobby time but find yourself just staring at a blank canvas, unsure of what to paint?
Well, you're in the right place.
Whether you're an absolute beginner or a seasoned artist, these unique painting ideas are sure to help break you out of your creative rut and spice up your painting practice.
Outside the Box Painting Ideas
From abstract compositions to mixed media techniques, we'll cover a range of approaches that will spark your imagination and help you create one-of-a-kind works of art.
So grab your paintbrushes and let's dive in:
1. Landscape With Stencils
Landscape paintings bring about a feeling of warmth and a positive relaxing mood that attracts viewers of all ages which is why they're a classic among artists. Whether it's a painting of our first home, the spectacular view from a grand vista, or something we paint from our imagination, odds are we've painted, or at least thought about, a landscape scene.
This painting idea uses all the principles We talk about in NINE ACRYLIC PAINTING TECHNIQUES (and 5 bonus tips) – but with a twist.
Instead of painting everything from scratch, you take each object from your landscape and make a stencil template out of them. We'll leave it up to you if you want to draw them freehand or print them out. Once you have your templates, all you need to do is paint over them with your selection of colors.
You can go with one solid color:
Or leverage color values for more depth:
2. Pop Art
Pop art paintings draw inspiration from mass media stars and objects of popular or commercial culture to blur the lines between "high" art and "low" culture. These paintings use recognizable images, bright colors, innovative techniques, and mixed media combined with irony and satire.
A great example of pop art is Andy Warhol's depiction of Marilyn Monroe, Marilyn Diptych, where the artist used bright colors and a silkscreen to print the actress's face multiple times. In creating the image again and again with the same silkscreen, one analytic reading would be that Monroe's image becomes more and more distorted and simultaneously more iconographic; More seen and less understood as time goes on.
If you don't have access to silk screening tools, you can carve stamps from wood or rubber, and use transparent paints from lightest to darkest for a similar layering effect.
If you have a computer, you can create an image in adobe photoshop, or another digital art program, and add shapes on top of each other(using layers on multiply/screen mode) to create a similar image.
You can think of some of the same things pop artists were thinking about celebrities or you can look at pop culture in a different way as in some ways it's changed since the 1960s, and in other ways, it's stayed the same.
3. Galaxy Painting
If you want to make a truly out-of-this-world painting, then there's no better source than looking to the heavens themselves. Astronomers estimate that there are at least trillions of celestial bodies contained within our field of vision each time we look up at the stars.
The bad news is that with the sheer distance and all the light pollution from artificial illumination, it can be quite hard to make out just how beautiful the night sky is. The good news is it's easy to search online for images from the Hubble space telescope as well as the new James Webb Space Telescope.
Check out and be inspired by some of the most sublime examples captured by this wonder of modern technology:
These can be made in a variety of ways, but blending wet on wet can create those smooth transitions you see from those bright pops of color in the space dust to the void of black.
You can follow it up with multiple layers of stars applied with a stiff bristle brush, like a tooth brush, and flicking the bristles high above the painting. Doing this flicking technique in different colors can help indicate which stars are close and farther away.
You can try glazing with a transparent color over the stars and dust as well for interesting effects.
Since space is pretty abstract, it's a great subject to experiment with new techniques!
4. Dot Art
Dot art uses dots of paint to produce stunning 3D textures or mesmerizing patterns. Use dot art to add some pizzazz to your artwork. The beauty of this art form is in its simplicity: Place dots of paint on your canvas using everyday objects you have at home or that you find outside in nature! Smooth rocks and wide leaves would be perfect for dot art.
The patterns you create can be as simple or as intricate as you want. For instance, try alternating between dots of different sizes and colors, or don't follow a set pattern at all and just let your creativity run wild.
Here are an example to get your creative juices flowing:
Want to give your dot art a more 3D texture? Just thicken your paint with some Nova Gel!
5. Scrape Art
Another simple yet unique painting idea you have to try is scrape art or scrape painting. With scrape art, you place dots of paint on one side of your canvas then, with a card or similar object, scrape the paint across the canvas surface to produce spectacular combinations of colors and subtle textures.
Making scrape art is its own topic but We merely touch on it here. You can delve deeper into this unique painting idea by checking out HOW TO MAKE SCRAPE ART WITH ACRYLIC PAINTS (STEP BY STEP). This article not only teaches you how to make scrape art but also comes with some nice examples you can start with.
Check out What other artists are buying after reading!
6. Drip Painting
Drip painting is a form of abstract art where you drip or pour acrylic paint directly onto your canvas. While you can make this type of painting with acrylic paint straight from the tube/pot, you may want to add in some Novaplex 235 to improve your paints' flow without losing adhesion.
There are several techniques you can try with drip painting. Drip painting techniques can use brush dips, squeeze bottles, Pollock-inspired splatters, and even acrylic pouring. You can read up about these techniques in further detail in 4 ACRYLIC DRIP PAINTING TECHNIQUES.
These techniques are just the tip of the iceberg. Drip painting is dynamic by its very nature so you can create techniques of your own. You're really only limited by your ingenuity and creativity.
7. Collage Art
Collage art lets you take all sorts of ephemera like paper, fabric, photographs, etc, and stick them onto a supporting surface. With this type of art, you aren't limited by your paint and painting techniques but by how you utilize the various materials to express yourself. The constraint of needing to use the above-mentioned materials presents a novel challenge that's sure to stimulate your creative mind.
Nothing is stopping you from also using paints and painting techniques with collage art. In fact, it makes it easier to create unique works of art by combining the two art forms.
You're going to need some strong glue if you want your collage art to last. This shouldn't be a problem, though, as Nova Color's versatile Matte Medium and Gloss Medium Varnish can be used as collage glue.
Paint Something Extraordinary Today
Painting the same way over and over can become tedious. Sometimes you just need to try something new to breathe new life and reignite your artistic passion. We hope the ideas in this article helped you do just that! So go out there and try something new!