30+ Watercolor Painting Ideas for Beginning Artists and Seasoned Professionals

Watercolor Painting

Stock Photos from sashafolly/Shutterstock

Challenging Watercolor Painting Ideas

  • Recreate an old family photograph.
  • A collection of your favorite glass bottles. The more you add, the more challenging the painting will be.
  • A smattering of spoons, knives, and forks. Be sure to pay attention to the reflections in them!
  • A bouquet of flowers—roses are some of the most challenging blooms you can paint.
  • The plumage on a peacock.
  • Pet portraits—these make great gifts!
  • A fire-breathing dragon.
  • Go outside! Sketch a building on location. Can you capture the people around there, too?
  • A beetle with an iridescent shell—try to recreate all of the gorgeous colors you see.
  • Part of the human body. An entire face is the hardest to paint. For something a little easier (but still challenging), try rendering the hands or feet.
  • Your favorite room in your home.
  • What you see from your bedroom window.
  • Paint the monsters living under a bed.
  • Crashing waves on a shore.
  • A magical unicorn.
  • Venture into Surrealism by merging two things into one—such as a bird with leaves in place of its feathers.
  • Your main mode of transportation, whether that is a bike, car, scooter, or public transit. Try showing them in an environment.
  • A bustling underwater scene.


Need more art ideas? Check out our drawing ideas, acrylic painting ideas, and sketchbook ideas.


Once you’re done painting, be sure to share your work in our Art, Design, Photography, and Drawing Club on Facebook!


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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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