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Abstract Painting Idea With Acrylics

Updated on March 26, 2017
Robie Benve profile image

Robie is an artist who believes in the power of positive thinking. She loves sharing art tips and bringing people joy through her paintings.

Abstract Painting Tutorial
Abstract Painting Tutorial | Source

Painting Abstracts With Acrilics

Acrylic paint is a very versatile medium that can be used in different ways to obtain a wide array of effects.

You can use the paint thick, right from the tube, or thickened even more with a gel or a paste medium. You can also dilute to a watercolor consistency with water or acrylic medium.

The characteristic of acrylic of being fast drying provides a lot of opportunities to experiment with creative techniques and unusual painting tools without having to wait a long time for the previous layers of paint to dry.

Start painting on the canvas
Start painting on the canvas | Source

You Will Need

  • A canvas
  • Acrylic paints
  • A large flat brush
  • A round brush
  • Painter's tape
  • Bubble wrap
  • Water

How to Choose a Color Scheme

First, you need to pick the color combination that you like for the background. You can go different ways with the background colors.

To find ideas and inspirations for the colors to pick look at a color wheel.

On one side of the color wheel, you should find a scheme with all kind of color combinations: monochromatic, analogous, complementary, split complementary, triadic, or tetradic.

Turn the wheel and see how colors combine together. Find a combination that you like, or you can use the one from my example.

The colors I picked for my painting were inspired by the lively triadic color scheme in my neighbor's living room: Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Medium Magenta, and Hansa Yellow Light.

Color palette: Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Medium Magenta.
Color palette: Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue, Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Medium Magenta. | Source
Paint the initial layout of colors
Paint the initial layout of colors | Source

Start Painting on Your Canvas

Using a wide brush, paint the canvas with elongated areas of each color.

Try to use the colors with balance, positioning each color so it complements and balances the others.

Use the brightest color with awareness of how dominant it becomes compared to the others.

In my case the brightest color is yellow, and I chose to use it sparingly.

Fill with paint all the blank areas
Fill with paint all the blank areas | Source

How to Create an Abstract Geometrical Pattern

Keep adding paint, dilute it a little with water to make sure it penetrates in the white canvas and covers all areas.

Once you are happy with your background you can start to create a geometric pattern with the masking tape.

I used 1 inch painter's tape.

The goal is to create a pattern with tape and then paint a color over the tape.

When you take the tape off it will leave the background untouched under the tape and the paint will be visible only in the gaps between tapes.

To made the zig-zag pattern cut the pieces of tape of the same length and place them on the canvas with a 90 degree angle.

Warning: this part is quite time consuming and requires patience.

Background painting
Background painting | Source
Start applying the masking tape
Start applying the masking tape | Source

Using Masking Tape With Acrylics

When the tape is all placed, you can paint over with a color of your choice.

I picked the same pink I used on the background, but a yellow or even a bright white would have looked great.

You could also go dark and use a black for your geometrical pattern.

The more contrast the more your pattern will stand out.

Painting over the tape, don't dilute the paint too thin or it will seep under the tape.

Apply tape creating a zig-zag pattern
Apply tape creating a zig-zag pattern | Source
Completed tape application
Completed tape application | Source
Paint over tape, covering all the gaps between pieces of tape
Paint over tape, covering all the gaps between pieces of tape | Source

When the paint is dry, peel off your tape and reveal the pattern.

I could have stopped here, this is already a nice abstract painting, but I went the extra step adding a random dotted pattern using bubble wrap as painting tool.

Take off the tape and reveal the geometrical pattern.
Take off the tape and reveal the geometrical pattern. | Source

Using Bubble Wrap With Acrylic Paint

To make the composition less geometric, I added a polka-dot pattern using the same colors of my background, and applying the paint with bubble wrap.

To keep the pattern looking more organic and less geometric, I cut the bubble wrap with curvy lines.

Water down your paint, rub the bubble-wrap on it, bubble side down, then apply on your painting, pressing down.

Again, try to balance colors and sizes of the dotted areas, in order to make a pleasant color combination.

Use the bubble wrap to paint polka dots
Use the bubble wrap to paint polka dots | Source
press the bubble wrap on the canvas, rubbing gently with your hand, then lift it off.
press the bubble wrap on the canvas, rubbing gently with your hand, then lift it off. | Source

Manually Adjust Color Balance With Your Brush

After I did this, my geometric pattern tended to "disappear" and blend with the background, and my yellow bubble marks seemed too bright in comparison.

To balance it out I traced some of the pink zig-zag pattern with yellow paint, using a thin round brush. That helped bringing the geometric lines forward and the masses of yellow dots less overwhelming.

Abstract painting
Abstract painting | Source

© 2013 Robie Benve

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    • Robie Benve profile image
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      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Hi Glimmer Twin Fan and Shyron E Shenko.

      Thanks a lot for the compliments, I'm happy you liked the hub. :)

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 4 years ago from Texas

      How awesomely beautiful!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      This is really beautiful. It could be a piece of fabric and looks like fun to do. Great hub. Up, awesome, beautiful and pinned.

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Thanks SaritaJBonita, I love your enthusiasm for new creative ideas. Happy painting! :)

    • Robie Benve profile image
      Author

      Robie Benve 4 years ago from Ohio

      Hi carol7777 and europewalker, I love the fast drying time of acrylics too. definitely useful for trying out new techniques. Thanks a lot for your comments and support!

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      SaritaJBonita 4 years ago

      Great Hub! I love the idea of using bubble wrap, it's genius. I can imagine a whole variety of ways to use these tools. Thank you, voted up, shared, and pinned!

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      Nice hub and photos. I like painting abstracts and prefer acrylic paint only because it dries fast. Voted up.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      As always I enjoy your art hubs. Great photos and I love the painting. I do acrylics but have started back with oils. Love them but don't like the long drying time. Voting UP and pinning.