Learn Abstract Painting Techniques
(Scroll down to see the full list of lessons in this
Abstract paintings often consist of shapes, colors and patterns that communicate something essential. Subjects
can be focused on emotions, ideas and sensations, or something more concrete like people, objects or even light and
In this oil painting lesson section, we are going to
delve into the specifics of abstract painting.
Once you’ve found a subject, sketch your ideas on paper. Constantly look to your subject for inspiration as you
sketch, and (particularly if it is something tangible) keep it in your sight, earshot or (if it is intangible, like
a feeling of fear or love) give it precedence in your thoughts. After sketching a few different ideas, choose one
or more drawings as a basis for your painting.
Decide whether you’d like to use a large or small canvas, a narrow or wide one. The meaning that you’d like to
convey in your painting may rely heavily on the dimensions of your canvas. A fun thing to try is to work on a
series or a triptych – to do this, you may want to work on each canvas separately, or put the canvases together to
form one large surface to work on and split up later.
Create a basic color palette for your painting. Keep things simple using only 2 or 3 colors at first, but when
you feel more confident, try playing with dark vs. light and dull vs. bright colors. Do you want to experiment with
shadows and highlights?
Although 2-D abstract paintings may be easier for beginners to start off with, you don’t have to be confined to
2 dimensions. Don’t worry about color choices too much though, as you can always add and remove colors as you go
If you would like to sketch onto your canvas before painting, feel free to do so. Otherwise, go ahead and start
painting the general idea onto your canvas without guidelines for your paintbrush. Don’t be afraid to deviate from
your sketch, go with the flow and listen to your instinct.
Start off by filling the canvas with a background color. The idea is to work from big to small – begin with the
most dominant color that you want to use in your painting, and fill up every space with it. Then move on to the
second most dominant, then the third, etc. The smallest, finest details should be added last.
Experiment with layering. Use repeated glazes rather
than just laying it out there all at once. Try using thinner and thicker layers of paint: Water down your paint
with medium to make thin glazes, or use a palette knife and other means to apply paint in really thick, textured
layers. Thick, textured layers can help to convey meaning (emotions and ideas) and action.
Play around with having more or less content in your painting. You could go for a minimalist type of approach,
or you could clutter as many details as you like into your painting. You may only paint with two colors, or perhaps
simply use black and white, or you could go wild with a rainbow of colors, feelings and ideas.
The most important thing of all is to remember to let go and not to be afraid of painting what your instincts
and imagination tell you to paint.
List of Abstract Painting
Instructions & Lessons:
- How to Paint Abstract Landscape Art | Oil Paint Abstract Landscape
Painting abstract art is a fun and creative experience, but that doesn’t mean that it’s always easy. Inspiration can be difficult to find, and often a lack thereof can stop artists dead in their tracks.
- How to Paint Abstracts From a Photo | Painting Abstract Art Using Photos
There are many styles to paint abstract. But the most ideal of all is to paint abstract from a photo. Why? The reason for this is that your subjects do not move or complain about anything.
- Finding Meanings in Abstract Paintings That Are Rich in Content
They do not know how to approach it properly; should they be awed by the color splashes, mesmerized by the supposedly nonexistent subject matter, enchanted by the brushwork techniques?
- Interpreting Abstract Art Paintings | Meanings of Abstract Paintings
Abstract paintings are often seen as difficult to interpret. The reason for this is quite simple – the feelings that go into painting abstract art can often not be expressed by the artist in any way other than by the creation of a painting.
- Painting Nature Abstract Art | Learn to Paint Abstract Nature
Many artists choose abstract painting to express themselves, as the absence of content makes it easier to convey (and later interpret) emotion. Interpreting nature in abstract painting is a great way to find inspiration, and often results in very fascinating artworks.
- Where to Get Abstract Painting Ideas
Abstract painting is a fantastic way to express emotions and is a wonderful creative outlet. The only problem is that it can be tricky to decide what to paint, especially when inspiration runs out.
- 10 Mistakes to Avoid When Painting
A multicolored artwork might look interesting enough to a normal viewer, but an art expert or professional definitely cannot be easily enchanted by just the colors.
- Abstract and Realistic Painting Techniques
There is no one way to distinctly define what is an abstract or realistic painting style, since the various attempts to define each technique tends to differ from each other.
Learn Abstract Painting Techniques | Abstract Painting Tips