Abstract Painting Project Step By Step
New “Abstract Painting Level 1” Course Launching Soon
In this tutorial I will show you step by step how to create a terrific abstract painting in acrylics.
This project is part of the soon to be released ‘Abstract Painting Level 1‘ course. So if you like this project then it would be worthwhile keeping your eye open for details on the early bird pricing offer when we release the course.
Of course this being an abstract painting project from the new Abstract Painting Level 1 course, there are going to be some differences. We will be moving away from a realism approach to a level of abstraction. As a result there will be less effort to paint every detail in through out the course and more focus on capturing the feeling of a place or scene.
Note – This is the first of the four projects being taught in the new course. The other projects will be even more abstract and move further from a realism approach.
We start out (in the above picture) using a 1″ geso brush with bristle hairs. This is the same brush we often use in our projects and courses. The mix of paint is Cereluen Blue with Titanium White. I am using Atelier Interactive Acrylics for this project and painting on a 16″ x 20″ stretched canvas.
After mixing the cool sky colour I start our first step which is to do our basic drawing. In the above I am establishing the horizon line about one third of the way from the top.
After painting in the horizon line I indicated a small land mass to the left hand side of the painting.
When I stood back to check it appeared the horizon and land mass where too high so I lowered it all down about an inch or so. That completed the drawing step.
Step two of the Moore Method is the block in step. Using lots of paint I block in the sky area creating a nice cool sky tone. In the video for this project you will note that I really vary my brush strokes a lot to add interest into the sky.
Next I add Ultramarine Blue to my palette. This is a warmer blue and will be ideal for the larger water area. I mix it with Titanium White. Note that it has to cover two thirds of the canvas so mix plenty of paint up before you start blocking it in.
The paint was drying off fast so I used my spray bottle to just lightly mist the surface of the canvas. By doing so I give myself extra time to blend the water correctly.
Now it is time to block in the land mass.
The mix I use for this is basically a dark. So Ultramarine Blue and Alizarin Crimson work fine. I also have Yellow Ochre on the palette (note this is my standard palette) and a touch would have been added in to darken the mix even further.
I mix it using the palette knife which I also use to then apply it to the canvas and form the shape of the land mass. Do not fuss with this too much … keep it a little random and undefined.
A mix of Yellow Ochre and Titanium White make a great sand colour so I add just a little to the edge of the land mass to create a sandy beach impression.
It’s time to have some fun and beef this painting up a little.
I mix a warm sky cloud colour. To do this I use the Alizarin Crimson, Yellow Ochre and Titanium White together. Don’t overmix this. Keep the colours a little broken in the mix for added interest.
Then I get a scoop of it on the palette knife and start to fashion in some cloud like shapes. You need to be brave at this stage 🙂
After shaping up the clouds a little I then create the cloud reflections.
Load the palette knife edge with the warm cloud colour and then place it on the horizon line. Then drag downwards to the bottom of the canvas. Looks great doesn’t it? The key is not to use too much pressure on the knife. Let the weave of the canvas drag the paint off.
Above I have done something similar with the land reflections. The only difference is I have pushed the dark mix of the land mass a little bluer. Simply add more Ultramarine into the dark mix until it goes bluer. Then use the same technique of dragging the reflection down with the palette knife.
Notice the original blue of the water is still coming through between the reflections.
With almost pure white and slightly smaller palette knife I indicate some sail boats on the water.
I do one main one and then several smaller ones off in the distance.
The reflections are done using the same technique of dragging the paint down with the knife.
After standing back and looking at what we had done so far I concluded it was time to reduce the size of the clouds. This was easy to do simply by mixing the sky colour again and just painting back into the clouds. The good thing was it allowed me to shape the clouds in a more interesting way.
I have also done the same with the original water colour using it to shape up the reflections.
And finally after a few more tweaks I added my signature to it.
Overall a fun project to try at home. Try a few different variations with it and add in your own ideas.
The full video recording of this project will be in the soon to be released Abstract Painting Level 1 course which will be out soon.
Painting abstracts can be a very liberating way to free yourself up, get loose and allow your creative juices to flow freely. By doing so it can only improve all aspects of your painting skills.
Give this one a try or wait until you get the full videos and try it then.
But definitely try abstract painting.
It’s a lot of fun