Free Inspiration for Artists


What should I paint?


We all struggle with what to paint next at one time or another. My advice is don’t worry about trying to paint what will sell (if you are at that stage). Paint what excites you, paint the things you love. Your passion will shine through and your paintings will be better. If it is flowers, for example, start with a specific flower and paint a series of 10 paintings, then move onto another flower.

If you don’t know what subject you love yet, that’s OK no need to worry.  Start by painting your surroundings, do some still life, experiment with different subjects, and have fun, it will come. I love to paint many subjects, as that keeps me excited about my art.



There are many free places online if you are stuck for an inspiring reference photo. These sites have royalty free images that you can use and they are a great place to find inspiration.


Top 5 free places to find inspiring reference pictures


  4. Photos for Artists on Facebook
  5. My last one is not a site it is your own surroundings, set up a still life or get outside, be adventurous, and take some pictures that inspire you. Then get painting!


Happy Painting!



PS – The pictures in this article came from free sites : ) (


26 thoughts on “Free Inspiration for Artists”

  1. Barbara Fennell

    your site was sent to me by a friend and I am thrilled…I am a struggling artist who finds it difficult to decide what to paint have done acrylic and watercolor with little instruction… a lot of tutorials on line which I love….

  2. Thanks for the ideas and links for inspiration. Krista, how do you fit in painting on a daily basis with all the other distractions and duties that get in the way?

    1. Hi Helen, Thank you for the comment and the question it will make a great article. My studio is in my home so I know what a challenge this can be. I have tried many different strategies but writing it down and having times scheduled seems to be the best so far. I will absolutely have to do an article I could really elaborate on this one. Thanks ☺

  3. Sometimes it can be very frustrating when you just don’t know what to paint! Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you Cheryl, they are great sites to bookmark. I have even them often to find a picture of something I wanted to add to a painting. Have an awesome weekend!

  4. Thanks Krista, some new sites to explore, but I like your last suggestion the best. Inspiration from the surroundings.

    1. You are very welcome Muriel. I love looking at my surroundings for inspiration. My garden is one of my main sources. Thank you for your comment have a great weekend!

  5. Thank you for the photo links. I rarely have trouble with finding something to paint but it is always great to have more reference material. I will bookmark these for future use. I thought it was interesting that you suggested doing 10 paintings of the same subject – I think I would get bored with it and never want to paint it again – lol!

    1. Hi Val, You would be surprised at how much you can benefit from this. It doesn’t have to be 10 but try to take one subject and paint it as many different ways as you can plan out. Not only do you get better at painting the subject but it sparks you creativity. If you give it a go let me know how you make out????

  6. Thank you for this readable and concise “inspirational” first article. One question I have is the suggested practice of multiple paintings employing the same subject/technique. Can you please elaborate on the why 10… what typically happens with the artist or her art when multiples are done in a series besides presumably getting “better”. I seem to get bored easily which prevents me from doing more than three or four. What am I after?

    1. You are very welcome Renate. I think 10 would be a good place to start if you knew what subject you wanted to paint. If you painted steady you could build a consistent body of work and then move on to another series. working in a Series usually sparks more ideas, that tends to happen when you are constantly trying put a new spin on the same subject. I tend to get bored easily as well, for me, I want to learn everything I can and I love so many different mediums. Do you feel that you are looking for something you are not finding in your art? Maybe you have the thirst for knowledge like me lol. Maybe you like to try new subjects and mediums or maybe you are going to be like Picasso. I think each journey is unique and you should embrace it and see where it takes you!

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