Friday, October 17, 2008

"How to Create an Abstract Painting" from wikiHow

I thought this little "tutorial" from wikiHow was kind of fun.

How to Create an Abstract Painting

from wikiHow - The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Abstract painting might look easy, and it might look as if the artist did not know what they were painting. It might look like it; however, this is far from the truth. Abstract can be more difficult than landscape or scenery, because there is nothing to copy from, and nothing like it has been painted prior to the moment that the artist picked up the brush.


  1. Buy a ready made canvas in a craft store. Buy any size that you feel you would like to work on. A smaller one, 10x10, or 12x12 might be best, if you are just learning and experimenting. The canvas will be ready to work on as is, but if you prefer a colored background, buy a jar of Gesso, to prime the canvas and give it a touch of color. When doing this however, you will have to wait about 24 hours until the canvas dries before you can paint on it.
  2. Decide whether to use acrylics or oil paint. Acrylics have no odor, are easy to wash off surfaces and clothes, dry faster and can be painted over if you make a mistake. Oils are the complete opposite.
  3. Buy a color chart and an easel and paints and brushes. Buy the basic colors at first, and use the color chart to determine which colors belong together.
  4. Start your painting by thinking of an object, or a scene. Do not think of the actual drawing of each, just dwell on the thought. Look at a vase, not at how it actually would be sketched, but how you would think it would look. Your imagination, and your feelings will create what you paint on the canvas. Remember, you are interpreting, not drawing.
  5. Allow the brush to take over painting with one color. When your thought process stops, you stop. Add another color, shade it, make it lighter at any part, or heavier at another. Improve what you see on the canvas and of what you think should be added.
  6. Add a bit of yellow, to a part of the red, blend it and make various shades of orange. Some areas will be darker, some lighter according to the brush strokes.
  7. Remember once you feel that the painting is finished, stop . Do not go back to improve or touch it up. Do not overwork your painting, but learn to finish it, the moment you feel it is finished.

Found this here.


  • Experiment with adding textures to the canvas, and painting over them for added depth to the painting.
  • 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 of a blending 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 afaid to close your eyes and just have fun with it.


  • Wash your brushes with a cleaning solution 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.

Sources and Citations

Article provided by wikiHow, a collaborative writing project to build the world's largest, highest quality how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Create an Abstract Painting. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.

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