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Painting Ideas for Springtime: Build Skill and Creativity While Celebrating the Season

Here are several ideas for artists to shake off the winter blues and get a jump on spring paintings.

Start Fresh

Spring is a new beginning, which makes it the perfect time to try a new medium. This can recharge an artist’s creative energy just like the changing season. The switch doesn’t have to major. For example, if an artist is used to using water mediums, then the logical medium to pick up would be another water medium. Here are some medium switch ideas that will refresh creativity without being a drastic change:

  • Soft pastels to oil pastels
  • Watercolor to acrylic
  • Oil paint to oil pastels
  • Egg tempera to tea or coffee painting

Plein Air

En plein air is the act of painting landscapes outside. Many masters, including Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, took advantage of outdoor painting because of the clarity of light and vibrancy of color that an artist just can’t get indoors. The mild weather conditions and soft light of spring make it an ideal time for plein air painting.

Great places to paint outdoors are places where the artist can get some privacy, open sky and plenty of room to spread out gear. Parks, lakes, fields, backyards and beaches are all classic plein air locations.

Here is a list of items that come in handy when painting outdoors:

  • Baby wipes or paper towels
  • Sturdy backpack with lots of pockets
  • Light collapsible easel
  • Airtight jar of water
  • Cloth to roll brushes in to protect them from damage (felt is ideal)
  • Bulldog clips to secure items during sudden winds
  • Airtight jar of turpentine or mineral oils (if using oil paints)
  • Brush soap or an airtight bag to carry brushes until they can be washed

Change Your Perspective

Since spring makes things new, the artist’s can get a new perspective, as well. For example, if painting a flower seems cliché, the artist can strive to find a new way to paint a flower that seems new and fresh to them. This can mean painting the flower from below, as an abstract, in an unusual color, in macro perspective, etc. The same can be done when painting “typical” spring subjects such as clouds, barns, rainbows, sunsets and blooming fruit trees.

The best way to find new and exciting subjects this season is to keep an open mind and an eye for the beauty that the season provides.