Abstract Painting Techniques

In my journey to discover abstract painting techniques, I had to try out a few with these paintings.   This is just a few that I've found fun to do and resulted in some nice pieces.

Click on an image to bring up a larger picture.  Some can be expanded even further by clicking the expand button in the upper right of the image.

These three paintings started off without any color!  Remember, abstracts don't have any rules, but I do keep in mind the longevity of the work, and use materials that are of top quality, and will have multiple generations of viewing pleasure for it's owners.

When I say "no rules", you can still cheat a little and keep a few things in mind while creating.

Here's a list of those three abstract painting techniques things that will make your next painting POP! 

  • Keep color harmony through out the work.  Review my color mixing guide to understand some of those concepts.
  • Keep composition in the back of your mind while creating.  A great compositionally thought through painting will be successful.  Think in terms of thirds, fifths, or even the golden rectangle, Fibonacci Sequence, of a Generic Armature!

  • Depth, yes, there can be a foreground, a middle ground and a background.  The more depth you put into a painting, the longer the viewer will explore the work.  So use the common rules for atmospheric perspective in creating depth.   Things in the foreground will have the most contrast and color value range.  The further you recede into the painting, the grayer, less intense and smaller the value range will become.  Objects will become smaller if objects are part of the work too!

Abstract painting techniques, building texture.

I started each work based on movement.  I wanted to convey a sense of crashing waves within a confined space.  Using a mixture of gesso and modeling paste, about 50% each, and a palette knife, the mixtures were applied to the canvas.

Then using a very old beat up house painting brush, the mixture was manipulated to form the basis of each painting.  Being large canvas's and using a white mixture to build form and texture required the use of a large spot light positioned close to the edge of each painting.  This cast a nice shadow on the texture to show its form and location on the canvas.

You can see the texture quite well with these closeups.  Each closeup is of the painting above it.  The gesso/modeling paste mixture was allowed to dry overnight and actual painting began the next day.  Because I am working in oils, each stage required some drying time in between. 

I did use a dryer, "Liquin" to my mixtures to help dry overnight.

I also worked from dark to light.  With each layer applied, paint was added, then wiped away from the raised areas of the canvas.

A basic color scheme of burnt sienna, yellows, light blues were used.  I did add a bit of green too. 

Of coarse, as each painting developed, they took on a life of their own.  The first is called "Dimensional Shift" and is depicting time breaking between universes.  The stark deep burgundy reds are the 2nd universe breaking through. 

The second had some twirls that were repeated throughout and thus "Spin Splash" was born.

The third shown simply reminded me of a nebula, so with the addition of a few stars, "Nebula Eclipse" was created.

All of these works will be available within my Etsy Store soon.

I hope these ideas will help you in your quest to create abstract works with texture.  Sign up for my e-zine "Easy Oils Blast" to learn when I post my next abstract painting demonstration! Just sign up in the box on this page in the upper right column.

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