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Abstract Painting Tips

An abstract painting is a deconstruction of reality. Abstract compositions can be found in millions of places because reality is everywhere.

The challenging scenario is to deconstruct the reality that you see. It can be intimidating to get started, but for those who put their fear aside and forge ahead, it’s usually an exhilarating experience.

I personally believe that abstract paintings are best executed after you’ve already learned the fundamentals of painting and understand the elements and principles of design.

A great chef doesn’t start out by deconstructing a dish that he doesn’t know how to make. Some of the greatest abstract artists in history started their careers in realism and were well versed in art theory.

It’s great to be inspired by other artists work, but be inspired, don’t copy them. Experiment to find your style and what works for you. There is only one you and your style is just waiting to emerge. 

If you’re ready to try an abstract painting, here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing: 

First, you can create some small studies in your notebook. Make 4”x5” rectangles and fill them in with shapes, lines, or whatever comes to mind.

Use your cell phone or camera to capture the essence of your subject. You can edit that photo in just about any photo app to crop, colorize, distort, or enhance your image. The sky really is the limit on what you can do. I encourage my students to use Pic Monkey. It’s a service you pay for online. You can upload your photo and their editing tools are really amazing.

Consider working with the rule of thirds.

Always be mindful of rabatment (the area of interest).

Use complimentary colors or a monochromatic base with strong value variations.

Review the Elements and Principles of Design.

Use a design that has a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal thrust.

© 2015 - Jill Saur, Jill Saur Fine Art LLC