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Need Art Inspiration? 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Start Your Best Painting Now

Do you need new inspiration to get creative and make artwork? Today I'm sharing 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Start Your Best Painting Now. Don't let the white canvas intimidate you with its blankness. Rest assured, the utter lack of creative ideas that you may be experiencing hits most artists hard at one time or another.

Elephant painting in process by artist Rachael Grad 2015

There's no need to give up your studio and art supplies. I've been through dry periods myself with work, family life, and other responsibilities coming between me and my art practice. Like most artists, I know how hard it can be to pick up the pencil or paintbrush and start a new artwork after taking time away from the art-making process.

That's why I'm sharing my best 5 tips for getting restarted and re-motivated in the studio. That way you can avoid trial and error in finding your way to the canvas and get back to making your best artwork yet!

5 Quick & Easy Ways to Start Your Best Painting Now

  1. Work from A Drawing
    • Go through your sketchbooks or storage area. Most artists have tons of old work they haven't looked at in ages. Now is the time to revisit that artwork!
    • Choose one old drawing, painting, or other work that catches your eye, either for features you like or dislike. It doesn't matter if the work is very old or more recent.
    • Copy the elements of the drawing that appeal to you - the lines, tones, colors, or shapes. See how you can make it better than the original.
  2. Outline the Elements of Your Favorite Artwork on the Canvas
    • Artists all have favorite artwork from the history textbooks. Pick one of your favorites and analyze what you like about it.
    • Sketch out the composition of the work on your canvas.
    • Use a different color combination than the original and exaggerate your favorite section of the artwork. Before you know it, you'll have something new and exciting!
  3. Cover the Canvas as Quickly as You Can with Your Favorite Color
    • The shocking whiteness of the black canvas could be intimidating you from making your first mark. An easy way to overcome the fear of beginning is to cover the canvas with a color.
    • Can't pick a color? If you have trouble choosing, try Indian Red or Yellow Ochre. These are colors that Old Masters used as base-coats to begin paintings.
    • Create texture with the paint by using a rough brush or palette knife to quickly cover the canvas with the color. This will give you an interesting pattern and starting point to work from when you're ready.
  4. Meditate in Front of the Canvas
    • Meditation may be new to you but many artists use this technique. Both Eastern and Western artists traditionally spend time softly gazing at their blank canvas before starting to paint.
    • Meditation clears the mind and helps with focus. Remember to turn off your cellphone and anything else that beeps or buzzes.
    • It may sound cheesy but give it try. You may be amazed at how a little silence and stillness brings forth your creative ideas.
  5. Cover-Up an Old Artwork and Exaggerate Its Lines and Tones
    • Choose an old piece of artwork that was never finished or that you just can't stand anymore.
    • Outline the most dominant shapes with a new color.
    • Use that outline on your blank canvas and see how you can fill it in with tone and color.

In summary, it can be difficult to get back to your creative art practice after taking time off. The 5 ideas are starting points to get you quickly and easily back to making your art. You have to find the right inspiration and motivation to get your creative juices flowing again.

That creative sizzle could be ignited by relooking at past projects like drawings and sketchbooks in storage. Or it could come from revisiting a favorite artwork at your local museum or in an art history textbook. Sometimes you need to clear your mind and give yourself some space to meditate and concentrate on new ideas.

Were these 5 tips helpful for you? I hope they help you get back to your creative practice and to making your new, most amazing artwork. What other suggestions do you have for starting a new artwork after a long absence from the studio? Please share in the comments below.

Blue Toy Elephant Painting 1, Acrylic on Panel, 4″ x 4″, 2015 Rachael Grad artwork

Blue Toy Elephant Painting 1, Acrylic on Panel, 4″ x 4″, 2015