How to Paint Abstract Art?

Posted by Robert Lange on

How to paint abstract art? Firstly, get rid of your concerns and formal skills – abstract art is freer, so these can only stop you from embracing it. Secondly, create a figure that you will start from. Make use of the space, consider starting big and don’t be afraid to doodle and let your imagination free. Do you want to learn more? Then read on!

How to Paint Abstract Art: Our Guide for Beginners

Painting abstract art is a completely new experience when compared to more traditional and formal approaches. What you’ve learned before might stop you from releasing your full potential. But do not worry – we’re here to help. Here is our guide on how to paint abstract art on canvas for both beginners and more experienced abstract artists.

1. Forget Your Education

Abstract art is free and creative – there is no “right” or “wrong” when creating it. Therefore, our first advice on how to paint is: forget all your formal education and let your creativity explode.

Why is it so important? Knowing what abstract art is, you need to understand that creating it is all about the right mindset. You need to get loose, forget about any restrictions, and focus on yourself, not the world outside you. Surely, you can look for inspiration in one of the abstract art movements but don’t try to follow them too closely. Instead, focus on developing your pieces in your own way.

2. Start from a Figure

The best way to embark on your journey into abstraction is to create several assets, drawings, or sketches that will serve as the foundation for your works. This serves two purposes:

  • It gives you a starting point for your art, from which you can experiment until you are satisfied with your work.
  • A quick sketch isn’t as detailed, letting you embrace the abstraction and forget about realism.

The Sleep of Reason - 20" x 20" oil and acrylic on canvas Joshua Flint

3. Use Space and Go Big

How to paint abstract art on a canvas? Start with a big one! While it might be tempting to begin with smaller works, especially if you are completely inexperienced, you shouldn’t limit yourself and go for large canvases from the very beginning. Why, you may ask?

Working on a larger canvas will encourage you to experiment more and make proper use of the space. Additionally, it will give you a better perspective on your artwork after it’s done – you’ll be able to clearly see the whole of it and evaluate your efforts.

4. Doodle and Let Your Imagination Free

Abstract art is all about expression, so let your imagination loose. You can start by doodling on your canvas or even embrace the automatism known from surrealism art – a technique involving spontaneous, uncontrolled painting that lets you create a picture based on your subconsciousness.

Don’t be afraid to play with your pieces – you’re not creating art for a prestigious contest (yet!), so you can be playful and explore the possibilities that lie in abstract art.

5. Have a Clear Focal Point

The fact that you’re creating abstract art does not mean that you don’t have to pay attention to positive and negative space, proportions, or composition. But how to do that if your art isn’t fully realistic?

The best way is to determine a focal point – a place on the canvas from which you will start looking at the painting. This way, you’ll be able to ensure that all the artistic principles are in place, even if your work is highly abstract.

How to set a focal point? Generally, it can be in any place. However, avoid finding it in the center of the painting. Typically, choose an element that draws attention the most, as this is the point from which your potential viewers would start exploring your painting.

6. Have a Concept

Unless you’re embracing automation, have a concept in mind. Think about what you want to depict – whether it’s an idea or an image. Keep it simple, but not too simple – you want to have a clear direction on where your painting is heading while not being limited by an overly detailed idea.

The Takeaway

We hope that our guide on how to paint abstract art will help you create your first abstract piece. Remember – even the greatest artists had to practice before becoming widely known, so do not feel discouraged after just a few attempts. Painting abstract art is quite unusual, especially if you’ve been educated in the formal elements of art, so some might catch it quickly, while others need a bit more time to embrace full abstraction – don’t worry if you’re in the second group, we’re sure you’ll find your own style.

Did you like this article? Then we also suggest reading our post on how to frame a canvas painting.

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