Top 20 Celebrity Painters


Celebrities who create art as well as sing, act and more!

In researching for our previous post on celebrity art investors, we came across an amazing array of celebrities who not only collect art, but create it as well! We couldn't resist, and had to dedicate a post to some of these multi-faceted artists.

Amongst celebrities, painting seems to be the preferred form of visual art, whether in oils, acrylics or watercolors. Certainly there seem to be more celebrity painters out there than sculptors or even photographers. What is it that is so attractive about painting, that these already-acclaimed artists should feel so drawn to it?

As with all artists, the talent and skill of celebrity painters varies from person to person. In no particular order, here are twenty of our favorite celebrity painters: judge their gifts for yourself!

Please Note: All artwork shown herein is copyright its respective artist.

Lucy Liu

Actress Lucy Liu is also an accomplished painter and holds her own art shows in galleries.

Perhaps best known for her roles in the movies Kill Bill and Charlie's Angels, as well as the TV show Elementary, actress Lucy Liu is also a very talented abstract artist. She has painted for years, under the pseudonym Yu Ling, but has recently been exhibiting at art galleries and finally claiming credit for her impressive work.

See more of Liu's art at her website,

Dennis Hopper

Late actor and director Dennis Hopper was also an incredibly gifted painter.

Legendary wild man Dennis Hopper, in addition to acting in such iconic films as Easy Rider, Rebel Without a Cause, and Speed, was also a gifted painter with a unique vision. His time spent with artists like Andy Warhol also gave him an unrivalled view into the art world of the 1960's.

David Bowie

Avant garde musician David Bowie went to art school before becoming famous, and is recognized as a talented painter.

Before becoming the face of glam rock, musician David Bowie studied art and design, and has been painting ever since. His art evokes a depth and surrealism unsurprising from this avant-garde shapeshifter.

See more of Bowie's artwork at his website,

Johnny Depp

Actor Johnny Depp is multi-talented, and his paintings show just one side of his multi-faceted talents.

Not only is Johnny Depp a talented actor and musician, he is a gifted painter as well. Depp's style is malleable, but he seems to relish painting unique and yet strangely moving portraits of people ranging from Jack Kerouac to Marlon Brando.

See more of Depp's artwork at

Joni Mitchell

Joni Mitchell considers herself a painter first and a musician second, and her artwork has been featured on the covers of her albums.

Singer and songwriter Joni Mitchell is not only famous for her heart-wrenching voice and lyrics, but her absolutely stunning paintings as well — many of which are featured as her album covers. In fact, though she dropped out of art school at age 19, Mitchell has always considered herself a painter first and a musician second.

See more of Mitchell's artwork at her site,

Jim Carrey

Comedian Jim Carrey expresses himself through painting as well as acting.

Always recognized for his comedy, as well as more dramatic roles such as in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, actor Jim Carrey is also an accomplished artist. Last year, he had a solo exhibition, Jim Carrey: Nothing To See Here, in Palm Springs.

See more of Carrey's artwork at his website,

Johnny Cash

Even the Man In Black himself, Johnny Cash, put brush to paper from time to time.

Legendary musician Johnny Cash sketched and painted for years, but never thought his work would appeal to the art world. Nevertheless, his work — exemplified by this painting called Flight — was very much in demand. However, Johnny's heart was always in music, and his touring and recording schedule left little time for painting.

Bob Dylan

Musician Bob Dylan also paints a wide variety of subjects.

Poet and songwriter Bob Dylan's painting style can be described as "freewheelin'", as it were — certainly his artwork has a very impressionistic feel to it. Since 1994, Dylan has published 3 books of his Matisse-influenced artwork.

See more of Dylan's art at his website,

Stevie Nicks

Songstress Stevie Nicks creates dreamlike paintings full of color and detail.

Musician Stevie Nicks was brought to the world of art by a dear friend ill with leukemia, and dedicates her vibrant, ethereal paintings and drawings to her friend who lost her battle.

See more of Nicks' artwork at the website

James Franco

Modern Renaissance man James Franco paints as well as acts and directs.

Actor James Franco — soon to be back on the silver screen in Oz: The Great and Powerful — is a regular modern Renaissance man. In addition to acting, he also does performance art as well as painting.

See more of Franco's artwork at his website,

Rosie O'Donnell

Comedienne and TV show hostess Rosie O'Donnell creates complex mixed media paintings.

Comedienne and TV hostess Rosie O'Donnell has long been known both for her colorful mixed media paintings as well as her charity work. At one time she even had a shop on Etsy, with art sales going to benefit charity.

Learn more about O'Donnell's art and charity works at her website,

Anthony Hopkins

It's no surprise that when Anthony Hopkins turns his hand to painting, he produces superb and slightly disturbing artwork.

It it at all surprising that actor Anthony Hopkins is amazing at anything he puts his mind to? Once having played Pablo Picasso on screen, Hopkins' paintings are clearly influenced by the famous artist, but have a darkness and slightly disturbing feel that one would expect from the man behind Hannibal Lecter.

See more of Hopkins' artwork at his website,

Janis Joplin

Had she had more time, perhaps musician Janis Joplin's paintings would have become as famous as her songwriting.

Music queen Janis Joplin tragically passed away at a young age, and left behind not only a catalog of legendary music, but a portfolio of impressive paintings as well. Perhaps with more time, her painting would have become as famous as her music.

Frank Sinatra

Even Frank Sinatra tried his hand at painting, though nothing rivals his crooning voice.

Even the Chairman of the Board, the leader of the Rat Pack, Frank Sinatra himself has picked up a paintbrush in his day. While not a poor hand at painting, we think we prefer his dulcet singing voice.

Sylvester Stallone

Actor Sylvester Stallone has been known to pick up a paintbrush as well.

Sylvester "Sly" Stallone has been an icon in the film world for decades, but few know that he has been painting for almost as long as he's been acting. His colorful, abstract pieces are both whimsical and imposing — perhaps not unlike the man himself?

See more of Stallone's artwork at his website,

Michael Jackson

The King of Pop, Michael Jackson, displayed incredible talent with this painting of Charlie Chaplin, done when Michael was only 9 years old.

We all know that Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, was a man of many talents and unrivaled in his time. However, few know that when he was just a child, Jackson was already an extremely gifted painter. This portrait of Charlie Chaplin — a big influence of Jackson's — was painted when the singer was only 9 years old!

Marilyn Monroe

Actress Marilyn Monroe created paintings as lovely as she was.

Stunning actress Marilyn Monroe has been the subject of many artworks -- most notably that by Andy Warhol -- but she also dabbled in painting herself. This delicate watercolor of a rose was inscribed by Monroe to President John F. Kennedy.

Ronnie Wood

Musician Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones is also an exceptionally talented and prolific painter.

Musician Ronnie Wood of the Rolling Stones is a surprisingly talented painter in his own right, and his unique and changing style often shows viewers a "behind the scenes" look at the brilliant and bruised world of rock and roll.

See more of Wood's artwork at his website,

Yoko Ono

In addition to music and performance art, Yoko Ono is a gifted visual artist and painter.

Many people know icon Yoko Ono for her music, performance art and film work, but she is also a skilled painter and philanthropist. A recent auction of her puzzle pieces work went to benefit the study of autism.

Learn more about Ono's art and philanthropy at

Prince Charles

Even royalty admires the arts, as evidenced by Prince Charles of England's attraction to painting landscapes.

Surprising though it may be, even Prince Charles of the Royal House of Windsor is himself a painter. Working from many rural and village landscapes in his native Great Britain, the Prince's muted watercolors hearken back to the beginnings of the plein air movement in England.

See more of Prince Charles' artwork at the Belgravia Gallery.

Whew! That was a lot of celebrity painters — and we've only scratched the surface! There are countless others, including Bono of U2, actress Jane Seymour, Viggo Mortenson, and even Beyonce Knowles — all of whom have been known to pick up a paintbrush from time to time. Some of these paintings I wouldn't mind hanging on my wall, that's for sure. Others, well... to each his own, yes?

What do you think? Can you think of other celebrity painters? What's your opinion of the ones we've shown here? Tell us all about it in the comments below!


What Kind of Paint Should I Use


Which paint is right for you? Comparing watercolor, oil, and acrylic

How to Decide What Paint to Use

difference between oil, acrylic paint and watercolrio paint

People often ask: What's the "best" or "most popular" type of paint to use? This is a question that virtually has no definitive answer. Not what you wanted to hear? Don't worry; we're here to give you some pointers!

The fact is that the "best" paint to use depends on the skill and patience of the painter, and also the type of "look" desired. Different paints will give a different type of character to the subject of the painting, and evoke different types of emotions from an audience. For example, watercolor often lends to a more muted, somewhat clouded image. While colorful, it also has a more softened look. The subject can look runny or malleable. Oil paint is very rich and vibrant. Oil paintings usually have a sharper image, but it's also good for colorful pieces that feature a layering of paint. Acrylic is generally always going to give you something in between. Depending on the technique used by the artist, acrylic can look very much like oil or watercolor, and the meshing of the two lends to a style that is uniquely its own. These are generalities; of course, the result depends on the technique and style of the artist.

Aside from the more abstract features of the products, there are fundamental differences between watercolor, oil, and acrylic paint that should be taken into consideration before choosing which medium is best for you.



Pros: Generally the least expensive of the three paints, watercolor makes it easier to paint large areas, or spaces that do not need to be completely filled in (like a painted face on a white background). A small tube of watercolor, mixed with water, can provide yards and yards of coverage. Watercolor offers nice color saturation, and dries pretty quickly.

Cons: While the techniques for using watercolor are fairly simple in theory, they are difficult to master. It takes a special talent and lots of practice. It is more difficult to cover a mistake. It is also a more fragile method in two ways: the paper surface and the fact that one drop of water can ruin details which took hours to create.

Notable Watercolor Artists: Winslow Homer, J.M.W. Turner, and John Singer Sargent.

Recommended Watercolors:





Pros: Oil paints are associated with permanence. They are best to use for demonstrating great detail and the contrast between light and dark. Light refracts through layers of oil paint, creating a luminous appearance of depth. Oil paints are durable and will stay solid over time — many famous masterpieces dating from the Renaissance onward are painted in oils.

Cons: Oil takes a very long time to dry — between 6 months to a whole year. This increases your chances of making a mess or a foreign object (dust, bugs, etc.) getting stuck in the paint. It is the most expensive on the market, and, well, it's also pretty permanent. Oil must be removed from brushes with turpentine, and it is very easy to stain your clothing and other surfaces. Additionally, most oil paint thinners and turpentines are toxic and not particularly safe for prolonged contact.

Notable Oil Artists: Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, and Claude Monet.

Recommended Oil Colors:





Pros: Acrylic is the happy hybrid of the bunch. Like oil, it is well-suited for detail, but it is also easy to use. Artists have classified it as the most "forgiving" of the paints and best for novices. Acrylics are also water-based which means they can be cleaned from brushes more easily.

Cons: On the other hand, acrylics can contain various toxins within their pigments. Acrylic paint dries very quickly and is not easily blended. We're also not quite sure how long they will last. Unlike the other paints, they have only existed for about 50 years.

Notable Acrylic Artists: Andy Warhol, Mark Rothko, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Recommended Acrylic Colors:




If you are still undecided about which paint is right for you, you can better familiarize yourself with the artists and paintings from each category. This may give you some insight on which paint is best for your style and subject. If research fails, you can always just get right to it: Pick up a brush and experiment!

So what's your favorite medium, and why? Are you tempted to try out a new paint? Let us know about it in the comments below! Share your thoughts and experiences as well with which paint you use


DIY - How To Gesso Canvas or Board

Learn how to prime your canvas with Gesso and what Gesso is used for. Gessoing a canvas or priming a board is an easy task to do yourself. Find out what supplies you need to gesso and prime your more


How to prime your own canvas and board for painting!


Have you ever found the perfect painting surface -- be it canvas, paper, panel, board, or even a wall-- but it is bare and unprimed? Never fear! Gessoing a canvas or priming a board is an easy task to do yourself, and you wind up with your ideal painting surface with just a minimum of effort!


Supplies Needed:

  • Raw canvas, wood panel, heavyweight paper... whatever you'd like to paint on!
  • Primer suited to your chosen painting medium: gesso for acrylics or oils, oil primer for oils or alkyds, pastel primer, absorbent gesso for watercolors... take your pick!
  • A wide, soft-bristle primer brush
  • A very small amount of patience!

How To Prime a Canvas Instructions:

  • Step 1: First, ensure your surface is clean and free from dirt or oils. A quick wipe with a paper towel or some rubbing alcohol should be more than enough.
  • Step 2: Take the primer brush and dip it into the gesso -- most primers are ready to use right out of the tub, and so long as you don't drop stuff in it, you can use it straight from the packaging.
  • Step 3: Apply the gesso in a thin, even coat to the surface, working all in one direction (say, all horizontal strokes, or all vertical ones).
  • Step 4: Allow the first coat to dry. (This is where the patience comes in! If your gesso is acrylic, you can speed the drying time with a hair dryer.)
  • Step 5: Lightly sand the dried gesso with regular sandpaper. This both smooths any ridges left by the brush, and allows for a slight "tooth" for good adhesion of following layers.
  • Step 6: Apply a second layer of gesso, working the brush in the opposite direction from the first layer.
  • Step 7: Allow to dry again, sand again, and repeat steps 3 through 5 as many times as you like!

Ta-da! Once your final layer of gesso is dry and lightly sanded, you are ready to paint! Many artists like to go through and prime a large number of canvases or boards at one time, to ensure there's always the perfect surface ready whenever inspiration strikes.

Gessoing your own canvas

For a handy reminder sheet on DIY canvas gessoing, feel free to print out this PDF and keep it in your studio!

Jerry's Best Selling Acrylic Gesso

Jerry's Best Selling Gesso

World's Greatest Acrylic Gesso Primer


Interested in reading more? Check out this post provided by Ampersand artist panels, on how to prime boards for painting.

Artist Joe diGiulio explains how to use some of our favorite primers: Matisse Acrylic Gesso and Grounds. Check out his advice in the video below!

What about you? Do you prime your own panels or canvas for painting? What's your favorite gesso, medium, and priming method?

Tell us about it in the comments below!

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