Blog #13 Abstract Thinking

Here I am about half way through creating ‘Misty Blues’.

It’s always an artistically freeing experience for me when I am delving into painting an acrylic abstract. I am not held captive by the restriction of trying to depict images of the real world. I am not confined to creating a painting from recognizable visual reality. I can play with my paint intuitively. Meaning I place colours and shapes down on my canvas based on what my imagination decrees. That’s not to say that there isn’t any pre artistic planning or composition utilized. For an abstract to be successful there are multiple elements you should incorporate to insure this. As in employing composition, contrast and colour to name a few.

This close up shows the many layers of paint colour along with my use of inks and pastels.

An abstract painting can appear subdued by choosing to use soft muted colours or it can be wild with bold blasting vivid colours all shouting for attention. There is also the use of shapes and forms, they can be organic or geometric in design or both. Repeating those shapes creates patterning. Then there’s the use of texture, the lumps, bumps, ridges and dents created within your painting by using thick gesso or heavy mediums as a background added on your canvas or into your paints before you start to paint can look dynamic. Texture can also be added by using different kinds of brushwork, their bristles can leave behind lines with each paint stroke. Or quickly scraping off some of the fresh paint before it dries with a toothpick, chopstick or other pointy implement. The use of painted lines thick or thin, undulating or stick straight intersecting or looping around brings movement to your painting. Contrast can be achieved by using light to dark colours or extremes in size, a tiny speck beside a huge shape.

Completed! ‘Misty Blues’ Original Acrylic’ Framed 26″x14″. Please refer to my Acrylic Gallery page on my website to see the final image close up.

But don’t stop there, an acrylic abstract can become a mixed media painting once you add inks, crayons, markers, coloured pencils, pastels and chalk. And how you get those materials on your canvas can be varied too. Beyond just using brushes you can apply paint with sponges, rags, paper towels, ink stamps, plastic wrap and your fingers.

Be sure to enjoy the exciting and liberating process of painting your abstract. The goal is not the finished work but the magic of the creative journey you took to create it.