How to get fresh new ideas for your next painting

By Nicole Tinkham

Artists go through so many struggles that non artists will never understand. Have you ever stood in the paint supply section for an hour contemplating the best paint for your project? Or those times when you just can’t get a technique right and you’re wondering if you’ll ever understand it? Don’t even get us started on limited art room space and organization! But one thing that’s the most frustrating is lack of creative inspiration. It comes in waves and at moments, you’re on fire. Then all of a sudden you’re staring at a blank canvas with no clue what to paint. Sound familiar? We might be able to help! Here are some fresh ideas for your next painting.

Palette Knife
One way to mix up your painting style is to try working with a palette knife (for use with acrylics and oil paint) if you don’t normally use one. It’s totally different and we think you’ll have a lot of fun with it. Trying something foreign often sparks new creativity. Chances are you’ll end up painting a different subject matter than you’re used to entirely. For more tips on palette knife painting, check out Painting with a Palette Knife

Work in a different environment
If you’re used to working in the art studio do something different and step outside. Changing your surroundings will help you gain new inspiration. You can even bring some of the outdoors inside, such as flowers, if venturing out with all your supplies is a little too much for you. You can find so many new subjects to paint out in nature so explore a little. Also take notice of changing seasons. These are exciting and beautiful times to paint something different.

Play with mediums
Adding texture and shine can take your acrylic paintings to the next level. Achieve this by adding various mediums to the mix. Play with clear gels for a shine effect, molding paste for a raised surface, or pumice gel for a rough texture.

Adjust the size
Every artist has their comfort zone. Typically, they choose to either work on a large scale or a small scale. Whichever size you feel more comfortable with, do the opposite! This will force you to look at your subject differently.

Practice in your sketchbook
We suggest carrying a sketchbook everywhere with you. Start sketching different things that catch your eye in everyday life whether you’re waiting in the doctor’s office or sitting at a coffee shop. If you do this consistently, you’ll train your eyes to focus on unique points of interest that you can use as inspiration for later paintings. If you still have trouble coming up with new ideas, take on a fun drawing challenge with a different task each day. You can find these all over Pinterest and the web.

The bottom line is just to try new things. If the blank canvas is intimidating and you don’t know where to begin, do something completely out of your element. Head outside, pick up some different tools, play with textures, and go out in the world for new inspiration. Isn’t that what art is all about anyway? Experiment and have FUN!

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