Acrylic is an easy-to-learn medium that will allow you to create beautiful paintings to impress your friends and loved ones. Acrylic painting is a great hobby that has easily accessible materials. You can pick up anything you need at a local craft or big box store.
The only thing left to do is figure out what to paint. Ideas are hard to come by, whether you are a beginner or an advanced artist, so below is a list of prompts and ideas to jump-start your next acrylic painting masterpiece.
1. Cloudy Night Sky
This acrylic piece consists of beautiful pink clouds against a bright blue dusk sky.
Start by making a subtle gradient of blues and turquoise on your canvas. Apply the paint thickly using a palette knife. Then, with long, sweeping strokes, blend out the paint.
Then, begin layering your clouds. Start with a mixture of pink, white, magenta, and purple. The darker colors should be applied first. Use quick, repeating strokes of a round brush to apply a layer of magenta.
Then, layer brighter pink mixed with white on top. Let the quality of your strokes create texture in the clouds. Careful application of your bright colors will mimic sunlight dappling the clouds, so be sure to pay attention to the lighting in the image to make it realistic.
2 Vase with Roses
Start with a flat black background. Then, establish your foreground. You can do this by layering browns and tans in straight lines across your canvass using a flat brush and a steady hand.
To paint the vase, mix a gradient of light blues and creamy grays. Start by marking a vase on your canvas with a pencil, as you want your vase to be as symmetrical as possible. Shade it with dark gray colors.
The flowers may seem daunting at first, but the key is to use bold strokes and lots of contrast. Establish the colors of each flower with a flat brush. Then, use the same flat brush to add the shadows of the petals, and highlights on the flowers.
Use a small round brush and mix a gradient of light and dark green colors. Use short strokes to fill in the spaces between your flowers. This way you can really fill out your bouquet, making it lush and full.
Galaxies are a beautiful and classic painting technique. To begin this painting, place a series of dots on your canvas. Place some dots of very dark blue and black, like space, but also place dots of blues, purples, and pinks. Use white to create highlights in the clouds.
Using a sponge or makeup sponge, dab at the painting to blend the colors together. This should create a soft, blended background for your galaxy or nebula scene.
To finish this scene, use your paintbrush, toothbrush, or fingers to flick white paint onto the canvas. On your nebula background, these white spots will look just like a field of stars.
4 Mountain Landscape
This mountain scene begins with a gradient for the sky. Use blue at the top of your canvas, light blue in the middle, and orange at the bottom. Once you blend this out with a wide flat brush, it will become a beautiful dusk or dawn sky.
Mountains are natural and rough, so if you make a mistake, you can easily disguise it within your mountain scene. Use light blue in the back of the painting to establish the mountains that are further back in space. Then, use darker blues and blacks for the mountains in the foreground of your painting.
Use a small round brush and a mix of dark paint to create some trees in the foreground. Then, use white paint to place stars at the top of your sky.
This painting of white dandelion puffs uses a lot of layering and interesting brush techniques. To paint the background, dip opposite sides of a flat brush into two different shades of blue. Use broad strokes to cover the canvas.
Then, layer over this with white paint in the same broad strokes with a wide, flat brush. Add brown and green to your painting for some contrast in the background.
For the stems, use black paint and draw long, vertical lines with smaller lines at the top of the flower, where the puffs of dandelion will be.
Now you can use a thick bristled brush to add the white puffs to the dandelions. Any brush with rough, widely-spaced bristles will do the trick, even those used for cleaning dishes. The more rough your brush is, the more natural your dandelion puffs will appear.
6 Acrylic Pouring
Acrylic paint pouring is a popular pastime that produces beautiful results. The crucial part about acrylic paint pouring is making sure your paints are the correct consistency to pour.
To achieve this consistency, you can mix your acrylic paints with some water to liquefy them. Begin with white on the canvas, so that your other colors will flow more freely.
Then, select 3-4 other colors to pour onto your white paint. Pour them in a diagonal line across the canvas, with the colors overlapping each other. Finally, use a hairdryer to spread the paint to the corners of the canvas, or use your breath to more subtly guide color to the white spaces in the painting.
This technique creates an inspiring result with relatively minimal effort. It may also inspire you to try the nearly unlimited color schemes possible with acrylic paint pouring.
7 Abstract Art
If you are overwhelmed by the idea of a more complicated subject, an abstract painting may be the way to go. This is a way you can make your painting look appealing, without worrying about rendering anything realistically.
Begin with a marker or pen, and make many crossed lines across the middle of the canvas. Choose analogous colors, such as yellow and orange, and paint in short strokes that follow the direction of the crossed lines. Surround the perimeter of the painting with a lighter color, like a peach or light orange.
Continue building layers of boxy shapes, following the direction of the perpendicular lines you drew at the beginning of the painting. Pull in dark lines with some black acrylic paint on the edge of your palette knife to continue to define the boxes. You will be left with a textured, geometric pattern in the center of your painting.
This calming ocean sunset painting can be done with only red, yellow, blue, white, and black paints. It begins by creating a gradient on the page, with light blue at the top of the canvas and red-orange in the middle. Where the red-orange ends will be your horizon line, where the ocean meets the sky.
Use broad strokes at the bottom of the canvas to create waves in the foreground. As you near the horizon line, make your strokes smaller to give the illusion that the waves are fading into the distance. Finally, add your sun and use orange mixed with white to place highlights on the wave crests.
9 Rainbow Sky With Clouds
A rainbow sky with dreamy clouds is a cute surreal painting that utilizes an array of techniques. Like with most illustrations of the sky, you will start with a gradient on the canvas. Begin with purple in the corners, and end with yellow, pink, and blue in an arch shape in the center.
Use a sponge to add light, semi-transparent markings for the base of the clouds. As you define the cloud shapes, add more paint to the canvas to make the clouds feel more opaque. Finally, add stars and a crescent moon to your sky to give it a beautiful, dreamlike feel.
Trees are a great addition to any landscape painting or background scene, and painting them is a great way to break out different painting techniques. Begin by gathering your brushes and mixing an array of different shades of green.
Pine trees can be created by using quick, horizontal strokes and a fan brush. Start with darker greens on the base of the tree, and finish with highlights on the top of the branches.
Round brushes are great for drawing the trunks of deciduous trees. Start with a warm brown for the branches and the trunk of the tree. Use your fan brush again to create the leaves, using a mixture of vertical and horizontal strokes. You can create dynamic leaves by gently sweeping the brush back and forth across the page.