7 Ways to Get The Best Sad Painting Ideas

Sad paintings are a thing. I know it’s weird, but they really are everywhere. You see them in homes and businesses all over the world.

They’re hanging on the walls of people who don’t even like sad things or have anything to do with clowns or little girls in fields. So what gives?

7 Original sad painting ideas for you

So here gos, 7 original sad painting ideas for you to copy or use for inspiration are listed below. You can make sad paintings of abandoned animals, dark weather, dreary landscapes, sad self-portraits, sad animals in the rain, animals no one wants to adopt even though they’re cute and sad clowns that went down a dark path because life is cruel sometimes.

#1 Paint a picture of yourself

This sad painting idea can be quite powerful but also difficult to pull off unless you are quite self-aware and can channel your sadness using painting techniques such as color and tone.

To stay away from cliches try not to place your self-portrait in the typical sad pose and look for a different angle or location.

Try to avoid painting tears that are obvious but instead look to incorporate sad imagery in the background or use objects that can symbolize sadness. This was a popular method in the renaissance.

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Be inspired to make an original sad self portrait

#2 Paint a landscape with an emotion in it

Landscapes do not typically appear on the list of sad painting ideas as they are also hard to pull off.

People tend to relate to living things such as people and animals when they look at sadness but landscapes? Yes, you can if you use your imagination and use symbolism in your sad painting. This is how you can convey emotion in landscapes:

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Sad landscape

#3 Draw or paint something sad you saw on the news

The news is full of sad events of the day, this can be of lost children, accidents, natural disasters, and the like. Your job is to interpret one of these sad stories into a painting. Tell a powerful story using imagery that interprets the words the newsreader has been using.

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#4 Re-interpret sad stories from history into your art

One of the things I love to do whether it is sad or not is re-interpreting sad stories from history into my art. These stories can be biblical, they can be from classical literature or folk lore. Add your own spin on the story and paint them. The renaissance was basically artists painting bible stories but they did so using their own imagination and imagery to achieve it. You can do the same but with sad stories. Speak of sad stories, you can paint sad personal stories.

#5 Use sad family histories as inspiration

My family is littered with sad stories from my grandparents during and after World War 2, my mother growing up in an orphanage, the death of her sister aged 3 from an accident, my own brother trying to deal with mental illness.. the list goes on. I could probably focus just on this topic alone and have enough material to paint for the rest of my life.

I am sure you have enough material based on your own family to find sad painting ideas that you can use. Tell a story with these paintings, do the stories justice.

I had a friend who committed suicide and I wanted to paint his story but I am struggling to execute the idea even though I have written down all the details. So be careful you may bite off more than you can chew with this sad painting idea.

#6 Copy sad paintings by other artists

Sad children or sad clown paintings are some of the most popular paintings in the world, so what better sad painting ideas could you have than copying one of them but this time adding your own spin on the idea?

This is a great way to use sad painting ideas that you really love and recreate them yourself. Paintings are always changed when copied because there are different and you should change them rather than copy them.

For example, if you are painting a sad clown then tell a story as to why the clown is sad rather than just painting tears running down their face without any context.

The same applies to the sad little girl, give her a backstory. Use symbolism and imagery to back up why she is sad.

#7 Paint something abstract and let the viewer interpret it as they please

This may be hard to achieve because you will not be painting a sad idea but concepts such as color, shapes, and lines to convey sadness. Use colors such as black, browns, oranges, reds, purples, etc., or use no color at all.

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Vintage sad little girl painting circa 1960s

Painting sad things does not mean you are a depressed artist. When I was growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s there was not a single house that we visited that did not have a cheesy painting of a sad clown or a little girl in a field looking sad.

I used to wonder why would anyone want sad pictures when all I wanted to see were happy images but everyone is different and there are different reasons why. I am not here to judge, so here is my list of the best sad painting ideas to live by.

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A modern interpretation of the sad clown and girl

What are some traditional sad paintings?

In the old days, sad paintings were called Melancholy paintings and they were quite popular. Even well-known artists such as Edvard Munch, Louis-Jean-François Lagrenée, Picasso, and Van Gogh produced their share of sad paintings.

In popular culture, kitsch paintings of sad clowns or crying little girls were the rage. You can probably still pick up a good printed copy at a charity store for pennies.

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Vintage sad clown painting

There were also sad paintings of lost love, death, or images of people alone looking into pools of water.

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