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How To Paint Abstract Art

The truth is…there is no "golden rule" approach to learning how to paint abstract art.


In order to properly learn how to paint abstract art... you first must begin to appreciate that a lot of what you are trying to produce on the canvas is governed by the nature of your own technique, intention and of course...your inner vision.  

Stalks by Carl (CAKUart)
"Stalks" by Carl (CAKUart)
Acrylic on Canvas - 121.8 x 91.4cm

Yes…practice plays an important role also. A big role.

But the REAL goal towards developing your ability to paint abstract art is to work hard at discovering your own "voice" on the painting canvas.

Discover Your Own Abstract Art Technique

One of the challenges that some institutionalised schooled artists have after completing their art degree is breaking away from what they have been taught in order to discover their own style and voice in their artwork.

I hope you can appreciate that in many respects abstract art as with most forms of art is somewhat of a personal journey.

Below is a framework of ideas and procedure principals that may help you find your own style and voice.

Consider a Theme You Are Passionate About

What are your interests, hobbies or regular activities you participate in?

Do you ride horses? Do you love to cook? Are you car crazy? Are you a passionate gardener? Play an instrument and love music? Love the country life?

You are more likely to really get your passion across onto the canvas if you incorporate the things you love into your work. You'll also be more enthusiastic utilising a much loved theme into your paintings.

If you love cooking and gardening, then perhaps your abstract art painting could be an amazing agapanthus growing out of a soup pot positioned on a park bench.



You are only limited to your imagination…so imagine big!

"Everything you can imagine is real"
Pablo Picasso

You Don't Really Need a Subject Matter When It Comes To Learning How To Paint Abstract Art

One hot night of passion by Carl(CAKUart)
"One Hot Night Of Passion" by Carl (CAKUart)
Acrylic on Canvas - 121.8 x 91.4cm

The great thing about learning how to paint abstract art is that you don't necessarily require any form of subject matter.

You may be more comfortable with manipulating colours and textures. Some of the greatest abstract art that I have seen has been produced in this very form.

Hot tip: Get passionate about what you are trying to portray in your work -- this will work absolute wonders for your productivity. Don't be too concerned about technique to begin with, it will develop. But make sure you have that passion. 

Don't Know Where To Start? 
Perhaps Consider Your Doodle Art!

Are you one of those doodlers on the telephone – do you scribble a whole lot of abstract lines, shades and figures with your pen on the paper while chatting on the phone?

Now before you have a giggle at my expense, why not consider trying to paint your doodling art.

It could well be a great place to start. After all, you already have a rough sketch to work with – so now just try to enlarge it on a painting canvas, add your colour and texture -- and vavooom -- you now have a great abstract wall painting.

You may just come up with something quite amazing.

Use a Comfortable Painting Canvas Size  

I do agree that bigger the better can be great for abstract expressionism art and really help to enhance your artistic freedom. 

But perhaps consider developing your own paintbrush, palette knife or "finger" techniques before you decide to "go large"…as there will be more expenditure in terms of painting materials.

It can be costly particularly if you produce something you are not entirely happy with (ouch!) – and that does happen on occasions when you are just starting to learn how to paint abstract art.

You'll inevitably use more paint with a large canvas …and the cost of canvas gets more expensive as you go up in size.  

Create Your Blueprint Sketch

Blueprint SketchGet a few rough sketches down on paper. 

Rework them until you are happy with your blueprint.

Blueprint sketches can be a very useful guide without being too regimented.

Some artists would argue that having a blueprint sketch to work from jeopardises the "artistic value" in the work.  

However, it is interesting to note that Picasso in some instances actually spent more time on his preparation work than he did on his painting -- Hmmm, something worth considering you might agree.

I am a believer in having something to work with even if it is a real rough guide. 

Having a blueprint to work from allows you to focus better and eliminates guesswork in terms of using the canvas space. I like to use my canvas space well and having a rough sketch blueprint really helps.

But remember that your blueprint sketch doesn't have to be a detailed drawing. It can just be a simple guide sketch to help you map out your painting on the canvas.  

Believe You Can Do It

Learning how to paint abstract art is probably one of the only opportunities where lying, deceiving and manipulating is a prerequisite (wink).

I believe you can never really learn how to abstract paint. It is just something you do. In other words there is no destination -- no finish line -- you will always be learning and discovering as you go. 

If you can comprehend what I have said and enjoy what you produce then will achieve great things with your art.

If you are still intimidated about making a start then I have a great quote for you that was passed down to me from one of my great mentors that I would love to share with you: 

"You don't have to get it right, you just have to get it going."

So learn to trust yourself, incorporate your self belief and most importantly… learn how to paint abstract art and have fun!




Click here to if you want to know "What Is Abstract Art?"

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