How to Create Abstract Art

Abstract art leaves itself open to interpretation.

Abstract art might look as if it were simple to create, with a splash of paint here and a brush stroke there, then framed and hung on a wall. Sometimes it may seem as if the artist takes paints and splatters them on canvas. And that may be the case, but it was done with thought and purpose to convey the artist's feelings. Abstract painting can be more difficult than landscape or scenic art because there is nothing to copy from. The artwork arises from thoughts, vision, imagination and ability to blend colors.

Buy a ready-made canvas in a craft store of any size or shape. A smaller one, 10 by 10 inches or 12 by 12 inches, might seem as if it is easier to paint on, but in actuality a larger canvas may be more in line with your needs.

Decide on colors you wish to use, and whether you prefer to use acrylics or oil paint. Acrylics have no odor, are easy to wash off surfaces and clothes, dry faster and, most important, allow you to paint directly over an area to change a color or fix a mistake. Oils are the complete opposite.

Buy a color chart, easel, paints and brushes. Choose the basic colors first, and use the color chart to determine which colors belong together. Decide if you wish to have paints in tubes or jars.

Think of an object or a scene. Do not think of how it actually looks, just the thought. This is how you create abstract art. Look at a vase, not at how it actually would be sketched, but how you would think it might look. Use only imagination and feelings, and let your hands and mind create. Do not use your thought process. Understand that you are interpreting, not drawing.

Allow the brush to take over as you paint with one particular color. When your thought process stops, you stop. Add another color and shade it; make it lighter at one particular area or heavier at another. Notice that a darker area above a lighter or contracting color will create depth. Experiment with acrylics. If you do not like the feel, just cover it with another color.

Add a bit of yellow to a bit of the red and blend it with a second brush and create various shades of orange. Some areas will be darker and some lighter according to the brush strokes. Use a fan brush to give yet another look to the scene. Expect to use all shapes and sizes of brushes to get different looks. Walk away when you create abstract art. When you return, you will get another perspective.

Stop when you feel the painting is finished. Do not go back to improve or touch it up. Do not overwork your painting, but learn to finish it the exact moment that you feel it is finished. Stop and clean your brushes, then walk away and start another masterpiece.


Use wax paper instead of buying a pallet. It is less expensive.

Use colors according to the feeling you wish to paint. Read about colors and how to use them to express emotions. Reds and yellows will be happy, while blues, blacks and browns will signify darker feelings. The feeling you wish to convey will depend on the colors and brush strokes you use.

Don't be afraid of drips and splatters. At times drips might add texture to your painting and so will splatters -- especially with a blending of color.

Don't wear nice clothes. Wear something you don't mind getting paint on. Sometimes the best pictures you make are the ones with your eyes closed. So don't be afraid to close your eyes and just have fun with it.


Wash your brushes with a cleaning solution immediately after you are finished painting to keep your brushes soft and usable.

You can also wrap your brushes in clear film or a carrier bag, and they will stay fresh for weeks.

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