Unleash Your Creativity: 10 Artful Watercolor Painting Ideas

I’m thrilled to share 10 incredibly fresh, easy, and interesting watercolor painting ideas with you today. I’ve dug into my treasure chest, actually it’s my external storage drive, and picked out a wide range of watercolor subjects that will surely have you on chomping on your brush, and excited to paint!

Again, some of easy, while others will be more challenging, but very well suited for beginners. I know you’re eager to scroll down and check out the goods, so I’ll pause right here and let you check them out.

Here are 10 Easy Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginners

Below you will discover some simple watercolor subjects for new watercolorists. To learn more about the techniques, read the summary for each one. This will help guide you in case you need a starting point.

Can we take a moment and talk about materials? If you are here looking for easy watercolor painting ideas I would assume you have the necessary materials. But just to be clear here’s a list of the supplies used to paint each of the following pieces. For more details about the supplies be sure to check out my articles on the best watercolor paint brushes, top watercolor papers and best watercolor setup.

It’s important to mention, and I’m sure you probably are already aware of this, that having the right materials is key to creating quality art. Take some time and check out the articles so you have a better idea of what I’m using, and recommend to all levels. And no, they’re not top of the line stuff.

Easy watercolor idea

Easy Idea #1 – Dining Chair

The first watercolor painting, try a simple chair. This is a great project for beginners because it is fairly easy and the results are always interesting.

  • Start by sketching out a basic outline of the chair on paper.
  • Once you have the basic shape down, begin to add the lighter values, then gradually go darker, finishing with darkest values in the chair.
  • and cast shadow.
  • Don’t forget to add the cast shadow, I kept mine light in value so that it didn’t compete with the dark values of the chair.

Technique: Start with wet-in-wet technique. Pre-wet the surface, but not too much, and started painting the lighter values. The wash was free to bleed and run in whatever direction it wished because the paper was still wet. Here’s an excellent article for watercolor techniques, have a look.

Thicker paint is used for each additional layer. The details, which are the stripes, were added last because you want them to hold their shape. This helps give the chair some volume and shape.

Materials:

  • Paper is Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes used; Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Here are some other chair ideas you can try.


easy watercolor painting idea with silverware

Easy Idea #2 – Silverware

A easy watercolor painting idea is another great option for beginners. It can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, so don’t feel like you have to make it difficult.

  • Start by sketching out the basic outlines of the silverware using a #2 pencil.
  • When finished, start painting the silverware using a light gray. You don’t need much pigment at this stage so more water, less paint.
  • Mix it up by adding some gold cutlery. For this use yellow ochre with a touch of cobalt blue.
  • Add the darker hues while the paint is still wet. This is as easy as adding neutral tint, or a pre-mixed gray that you can create by mixing three primaries.
  • Add subtle reflections using a damp brush, be careful that it’s not too wet, and lift some of the paint.

Technique: Begin on dry paper and add the first wash using light gray. Work wet-in-wet after that. Don’t allow the silverware to dry before adding more. This will tighten up the painting and you will lose that relaxed, fresh look.

Materials:

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

simple watercolor painting idea, abstract squares

Easy Idea #03 – Abstract Squares

One of the easiest things that beginners can do when learning how to paint with watercolors is abstract squares. To get started, all you need is some paint, paper and brush.

  • Start by adding the squares along the top row. It’s okay if they touch each other. Also, be sure your paper is tilted downward so that gravity will help with the fusion of colors and washes.
  • Continue painting rows left-to-right until you reach the bottom. Go back while the paint is still wet and charge the colors using more pigmented hues.
  • Conversely, try using a damp brush to lift paint if needed.
  • One more tip, don’t overwork the washes. This painting is meant to be random and uncontrolled. Allow colors to mingle!

Technique: Start with dry paper and used wet-in-wet technique. Also, work quickly so the top squares don’t dry before reaching the bottom.

Materials

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Simple mountain landscape watercolor idea
Simple mountain landscape watercolor idea

Easy Idea #04 – Simple Mountain Landscape

Another easy watercolor painting idea is a minimalistic mountain scene. It requires more technique but I’m sure you can do it!

  • Start by sketching out the basic outlines of the ground plane and then the mountain top using a #2 pencil.
  • When finished start painting the sky area using cobalt blue and lemon yellow. You don’t need much pigment at this stage so more water, less paint.
  • Gradually change to using a watered down wash using yellow ochre for the ground area.
  • Allow the paint to fully dry. Once it is paint the mountains using ultramarine and a touch of alizarin crimson.
  • Finish it up by adding a few darker ground shadows using yellow ochre with a touch of ultramarine blue.
  • If the mountain or ground shadows need darker values try charging them with more saturated mixture. Use the same hues, just less water.

Technique: start on dry paper and add the first wash for sky and ground plane. Allow it to dry 100%! Then work wet-in-wet after that and be sure to not overpaint the subjects. Just allow it to dry and don’t fuss with it, even if you aren’t satisfied with the result . Watercolor is an imperfect medium.

Materials

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Easy watercolor idea with bananas

Easy Idea #05 – Going Bananas

Here’s another super fun, easy watercolor painting idea you can try. Bananas make interesting subjects for beginners because they’re so simple and easy to draw. But the key is to allow the medium to do some of the work for you. In other words, don’t try to control it too much!

  • Start by sketching out the basic contour outline of the bananas using a #2 pencil.
  • Mix lemon yellow with yellow ochre and plenty of water. The first layer should be very light in value.
  • Work wet-in-wet by adding a more saturated mixture to the shadow side of the banana. Allow this to dry for several minutes before continuing.
  • The darker shadow side of the bananas are done with same yellow mix but with a touch of cadmium red light and ultramarine blue.
  • Add the cast shadows using a blue-gray hue.

Technique: start with dry paper and used wet-in-wet technique.

Materials

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Simple beginner barn idea

Easy Idea #06 – Simple Red Barn

Who doesn’t love an old red barn? A great subject to paint! To keep it inline with easy watercolor painting ideas we will eliminate unnecessary details such as window trim, blades of grass and so on…

  • Start by drawing a low horizon line and add the contours of the barn using a #2 pencil. If you wish you may add the background trees but probably not needed since it’s only a few brushstrokes.
  • When finished start painting the sky area using cobalt blue and lemon yellow. Avoid too much pigment at this stage, so more water, less paint.
  • A watered down alizarin crimson is applied to the whole barn, and use yellow ochre with a touch of burnt sienna for the roof.
  • Use lemon yellow, burnt sienna and cobalt blue for the grass, but don’t do the background trees just yet.
  • Allow the paint to dry.
  • Now use the same red but with a little ultramarine blue for the barn shadow side. And mix a little ultramarine blue into the roof mix for a subtle shadow on the left side of the roof.
  • Paint the background trees with same grass mixture but add a little ultramarine blue. I added a touch of burnt sienna to the background trees on the right-hand side to change it up a bit.
  • Finish the grass by adding cast shadows using same paint as the background trees.
  • Use gray to add the door and window details.

Technique & Materials

Technique: start on dry paper and add the first wash for sky, ground plane and barn. Allow it to dry 100%! Then work wet-in-wet after that and be sure to not overpaint the subjects.

Materials

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Easy ice cream cone idea

Easy Idea #07 – Ice Cream Cone

For this idea I used a scrap piece of watercolor paper. If you look close you’ll see writing beneath the paint. Anyhow, this is an easy but interesting subject and you can explore colors and techniques.

  • Start by sketching out the basic contour outline of the ice cream and cone using a #2 pencil.
  • Add lemon yellow at the top, yellow ochre then alizarin crimson for the bottom scoop.
  • Mix yellow ochre and burnt sienna with a lot of water fr the cone.
  • Allow the wash to semi-dry and add a thicker, more saturated mix of all hues to the shadow side.
  • When the wash is 100% dry add the background using mix of ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Finish with the linear diagonal strokes on the cone using burnt sienna.

Technique: start with dry paper and used wet-in-wet technique. Background was applied on dry paper.

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

watercolor painting idea with makeup

Easy Idea #08 – Makeup

This is a great idea because there’s plenty of room to explore color and technique. My palette is dominant pink and rich reds, but feel free to choose your own hues.

  • Since this is such a simple subject I decided to not draw any contours.
  • Using a watered down mix of alizarin crimson I painted several objects. Then mixed in burnt sienna and added the others.
  • Timing is important so I waited until the washes were almost dry and started adding darker values to some of the areas.
  • Some of them were charged with lemon yellow and violet.
  • Finish it up by allowing the paint to semi-dry once again. Then add the darker hues.

Technique: start on dry paper and add the first wash for sky and ground plane. Allow it to semi-dry, then work wet-in-wet as you add more paint. Be sure to increase the amount of pigment with each wash. The details were added wet-in-dry so that they held their shape.

Materials

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

easy watercolor painting idea with pots and silverware

Easy Idea #09 – Pots & silverware

Let’s revisit silverware but this time up the difficulty. These subjects require more control and timing of the washes, but by now I’m sure you’re skilled enough to pull it off.

  • Start by sketching out the contours of the subjects using a #2 pencil.
  • Mix neutral gray using three primaries. Go thick and dark for now.
  • Once gray mixed wet the brush and add water to the palette. Use a little gray to paint a very light value to all the objects.
  • Be sure to not paint the holes in the serving spoons. It’s tedious work so use a smaller brush in this area.
  • Timing is key here so only add darker values as the wash becomes semi-dry.
  • If the wash becomes flat just charge it with thicker paint, or use a clean damp brush and lift the hue.

Technique: Start with dry paper and paint objects using wet-in-wet technique.

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Easy watercolor idea with tea cups

Easy Idea #10 – Tea Cup

For the final easy watercolor painting idea we will do tea cups. Again, plenty of room to explore color, technique and designs.

  • Start by sketching contour of the cup using a #2 pencil.
  • When finished start painting the tea cup using a very light gray with a touch of ultramarine blue to give it a cool bias.
  • Allow the wash to semi-dry before adding burnt sienna. As you may see some of the browns are applied in dry areas while other areas are wet, or blurry.
  • Allow the paint to fully dry. Once it is paint the details using green and alizarin crimson. Use cobalt blue and lemon yellow to mix greens.
  • Finish it up by adding cast shadows.

Technique: start on dry paper and add the first wash. Allow this to dry about 80% before adding the browns. Details are painted on dry paper.

  • Paper: Fabriano Artistico, 140 lb bright white paper, 5.5″ x 7.5″
  • Brushes: Princeton Neptune pointed rounds #6, #12, Princeton Neptune Rigger 1/2″ for details.

Conclusion

Hopefully, our list of easy watercolor painting ideas helped you in making your decision about what to paint next. Before starting off, make sure you have the right colors. The best quality paints are necessary for a masterpiece that can last long and not degrade over time.

Most importantly, enjoy yourself when practicing watercolor- it is among the most therapeutic experiences for even non-artists! You will definitely be able to create one of your best works by following these tips shared with you in this article.