Ideas for Oil Painting on Canvas

Oil painting is a fun & relaxing hobby and offers a wide range of possibilities for creative expression. Artists of all levels use it, from professionals to amateurs. Oil painting can achieve many effects, such as photo-realistic paintings. 

But oil painting is confusing if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. You can paint beautiful landscapes, portraits, and more on canvas. 

Here we’ll discuss the basic ideas for oil painting on canvas so you can get started with this technique. We’ll talk about the different supplies to create different effects.

What Are Some Painting Ideas for Oil Painting on Canvas?

Oil paint is highly versatile, allowing artists to create both thin & delicate layers and thick & textured strokes. If you’re thinking about trying your hand at oil painting, here are a few ideas to get you started.


Capturing the beauty of nature on canvas is a timeless tradition that continues to this day. You should always start with a sketch for landscape paintings to plan out the composition beforehand. Apply thin layers of paint to your drawing to build up colors and textures.


 Unlike landscapes, portraits usually capture a person’s likeness as accurately as possible. When painting a portrait, pay close attention to the individual’s features and proportions. Try different poses and expressions to capture different aspects of the person’s personality. 

Still Life: 

A still life is an arrangement of inanimate objects, such as fruits, flowers, or everyday items like bottles and books. When painting still life, you can arrange the objects however you like and use different color schemes to create an interesting composition. 

Abstract Oil Painting: 

It is another popular option for talented painters. Abstract art isn’t based on reality; rather, it expresses ideas and emotions through color and form. Try different techniques and brushstrokes until you find a style that feels right for you when creating an abstract painting. 


A silhouette is a portrait representing the subject as a dark shape against a light background. To create a silhouette, choose a contrasting color for the background of your painting. Black is a popular choice, but experiment with other colors. Make your subject in the foreground light in color. Once the paint is dry, use a small brush to outline the subject in black paint. Complete the silhouette with black paint.

What are the Supplies Needed for Oil Painting on Canvas?

The supplies you’ll need to get started are relatively simple and easy to find. Here’s what you’ll need:  


Oil paint is made by mixing pigment with a drying oil, such as linseed oil. You can find oil paint at any art supply store. Start with a basic set of colors, and then you can expand your palette as you become a more comfortable painting. 


Canvas is a sturdy primed fabric and ready to paint on. You can also make a canvas by stretching fabric over a wooden frame. 


Oil paint is applied with brushes. You’ll need different sizes and shapes of brushes to create unique effects. Look for brushes made with natural bristles, which work best with oil paint. 


Pencils sketch out your design before you paint. Any pencil will do but invest in a set of good-quality drawing pencils to make sketching easier. 


You’ll need an eraser to correct any mistakes you make while sketching. A kneaded eraser is a good choice, as it can be molded into different shapes to erase small or large areas. 


An easel is a stand that holds your canvas while you paint. It’s not mandatory, but it’s helpful to have an easel so you don’t have to hold the canvas while you paint. 


Palettes are flat surfaces where you mix paints. You can use various materials for your palettes, such as wood, plastic, or metal. 


When you thin oil paint and clean your brushes, you need a solvent. You can use any oil, such as linseed oil, mineral oil, or turpentine.

Do I Need to Prime My Canvas before Oil Painting?

You shouldn’t begin a new painting on white. The highlight color in acrylic and oil paintings is white. Pure white is the brightest, purest color you’ll use on your canvas.  

In most cases, you should add it at the end to add a little extra color. If you start with a white canvas, then all of your other colors will appear dull in comparison.  

Start with a mid-tone color, such as light gray, beige, or light blue. It will make your painting look more vibrant and help your other colors stand out. Don’t paint your canvas white yet; save it for last.

How Should I Draw Oil Painting Ideas?

Taking inspiration from other works of art is one of the best ways to brainstorm oil painting ideas. You can use it as a starting point for your own painting. You can also find oil painting ideas by experimenting with different materials and techniques. 

The world is your canvas in painting. Although we shared some ideas for oil painting on canvas, you can paint anything you want. The paint you use will also play a role in what you can paint on a canvas. 

Whatever you choose to paint, remember there are no rules in art. Just let your imagination run wild and have fun.