How to paint abstract art. My compositional process consists of leaving a mark, then looking and responding with another colored action. At some point, this pace of work accelerates to a speed that seems automatic, natural, and honest. This flow is the case I inquire about while I paint and hope to share with the viewer somehow. As you learn to paint some cool drawing ideas, look for a rhythmic and responsive flow.
The artist’s toolkit
- SURFACE: linen on canvas 40 × 50 and measure with a medium matte (canvas or wood panel is also acceptable)
- ACRYLIC PAINTS: Guerra Paint, water-soluble acrylic colors (also known as dispersion of pigments) mixed with the Silica Flat or Matte di Guerra medium to create paints in the following colors: golden yellow, phthalic blue-green, titanium white
- OIL PAINTS: Williamsburg madder, alizarin crimson, Indian yellow, titanium white, sap green, phthalo green, phthalo blue, indigo blue
- MEDIUM ACRYLIC: medium opaque
- MEDIUM OIL: linseed oil
- BRAND MANUFACTURERS: house paintbrush, fan brush, palette knife, rags, or paper towels
- COLLAGE MATERIALS: various cutouts, advanced ends, and fabrics
Step 1: surface
Selecting a surface is the beginning of any painting. All other options arise from this decision. I chose thick linen for its color and texture. Subsequently, I dimensioned it with opaque support, which seals the fabric while preserving its natural color. Determining the scale of the painting table is also an important decision. I prefer surfaces 40 to 60 inches on one side; those dimensions are linked to my gestural scale, which tends to be broad and broad brushstrokes.
Step 2: collage
I often use saved endings and clippings from previous paintings and projects for collage elements in a new composition. As you learn to paint abstract art, try starting a picture with a collage to break up the clean, even surface. This step can add a literal change to the floor for subsequent coats of paint. For this painting, I selected the scraps based on color and texture. I used sheer gauze, white chiffon, white velvet, and olive green linen. I played with his arrangement until I found a visual rhythm in the composition. Then I glued the pieces to the linen with an opaque medium, which dries transparently.
Step 3: acrylic on collage
I combined acrylic color in reply to the different colleges. For example, I chose to apply a broad box in white by overlapping the loose weave of the gauze. It emphasized the texture of the gauze. In addition, white brought the gauze, the background linen, and the velvet strip on the left into a chromatic relationship. Then I decided to add analogous colors (close together on the color wheel) to the surface of the raw linen and the collage olive green linen. With green and blue acrylic, I mixed yellow-green, mint green, aquamarine, and light blue.
Step 4: cast acrylic
While studying my work, I saw that I was composing on vertical or horizontal planes. Sometimes, to keep the picture open, I interrupt this kind of fixed order. I decided to pour the paint to create a flow within the composition. Pouring may seem risky as you learn to paint abstract art, but it can also be exciting. Spontaneous movement maintains life in work. I mixed a large amount of golden yellow antra in a deli container, adding equal parts water and half a plate of silica to get a thick consistency. This transparent color shines differently on different surfaces and colors.
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Step 5: gestures with strokes in oil
After the spilled paint smeared and dried completely, I was ready to load a large brush with thick, juicy oil paint. I mixed a light green with a lot of white to keep the fair values and contrast the darker greens washed against the linen background. I wanted the pale color to stabilize on the surface and move forward visually. Using a large house painter brush, I accumulated repetitive and discontinuous movements. In another area, I imitated the broad gestural flow of poured paint. Then I added more yellow to the green mix and worked wet to give the flat dimension a pale green.
Step 6: Turn around and reflect.
At this point, many conflicting elements were fighting for recognition. It had thick and thin paint, different layered surfaces and textures, a range of green, blue and yellowish tones, and light and dark values. It was an excellent place to pause and reflect on where the painting came from and what possibilities it could still reach. After looking at a picture in a specific orientation, seeing it in a new way becomes difficult. To counter this, I shot the painting. I considered the edges and the path that the eye travels within the composition.
Step 7: complementary color
After some thought, I decided to add areas of reds and pinks to compliment the greens. I used several application methods: icing, layering, and wet-on-wet painting. Adding complementary colors to a generally similar color scheme can insert an unexpected sparkle or accent. It can bring all colors together harmoniously. Also, note that the blend of green and red produced a dull color, not unlike ecru linen. In this way, the forces started to make.
Step 8: turn around and reflect (again)
After applying the complementary color, I stopped again to look at the composition as a whole. Sharp and sinuous brushstrokes suggested the image of a duck in the center of the design. I am attentive to this kind of thing. I try not to intentionally or accidentally paint a picture of something imaginary or illustrative. The appearance of a duck seemed less noticeable when I turned the image upside down. However, I noticed a split to the left of the center, which separates the painting into two sections, one curved and the other stack. Wanting to connect these two areas, I came up with the idea of mirroring the sinuous line pointing towards the center. The reflected lines do not touch at all.
Step 9: drops
I explored whether any drip marks should be removed or added to achieve a sense of anchor and gravity appropriate to the orientation of the work I had decided on.
FINAL: Title of the work
For me, the last thing is to name a work, usually after looking at the painting and associating it freely. I try to obtain a name that shows the viewer’s regard to the painting and touches on an idea that expands the physicality of the image. I chose the name Field Comparisons because I relish his suggestion on Einstein’s theory of relativity, which, in turn, points to the relativity of color. I have used the word field in other titles, and the term has many associations. It can refer to both a landscape and the field of imagination in an abstract image plane. The word also signals a historical connection between my work and that of the Color Field artists.
As you learn to paint abstract art, follow all the steps to develop a composition and reflect on what’s working.
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