Abstracts and Acrylics

I have yet to complete my first “realistic” acrylic painting. I have one in progress, and I’m hoping to finish it soon. My second acrylic attempt turned into my disastrous, but somewhat charming Study in Black and White which will forever serve as a reminder to have fun with art, whatever I’m doing.

But while I haven’t yet done much with realistic scenes, I am having fun with abstracts and acrylics. They seem to go together quite well, and while I’m having fun, I’m also learning a lot —  about color, about composition, and about acrylic techniques.

Instead of fretting over realistic details in painting, I’m letting loose and just painting big bold lines and colors. I’m not thinking about things — my abstract art could be many things all at once. Instead, I’m considering the various elements of art and composition, then figuring out how I can put them to use in abstract design.

  • Lines
  • Value
  • Form
  • Spaces
  • Balance
  • Repetition
  • Harmony

Although I’m still working at learning brush strokes and techniques for the medium, doing abstract designs with acrylics gives me opportunities to try new things without worrying too much about “messing it up.” And without worrying too much about wasting materials!

I love that acrylics are reasonably priced. And for now, I’m working on sheets from an fairly inexpensive pad of canvas. I like that. I can play to my heart’s content and have fun seeing what acrylics can do. Creating abstract art allows me to approach painting from a different place, a place where anything goes, and mistakes can become meaningful elements in a finished piece.

It’s especially fun to play with colors. I loved the combination of colors I put together for this abstract painting:

Spring Bloom

I’m calling this “Spring Bloom” because to me, it felt like a colorful flower. I didn’t begin with the intention of painting a flower, of course. I just wanted to create shapes, so I drew a few organic shapes, starting at the center. As I began applying colors to the shapes, my brush started wandering around a bit, swirling, dabbing, poking.

In the end, I liked what I’d done, and for once, I had sense enough to walk away rather than keep tweaking at it. There isn’t anything “right” or “wrong” with an abstraction, so I could allow it to simply be what it was.

It feels good to look at a painting I’ve done and smile. I do like the bright yellow. I love the lavender. I love the way the teal blue holds all the other colors together.

All in all, I think acrylics and abstracts make a very good pair, don’t you?





      1. I’m not buying the highest-quality acrylics. Just picking up colors from Wal-Mart’s arts and crafts section. I have a better quality set I’m using for my lessons, but for play time, I’m indulging my love of colors with cheapies. 🙂

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      2. Oh, yes, I’m sure I’ll want to start mixing my own colors eventually. For now, I’m more interested in exploring the fun aspects of acrylics. I don’t want to take myself too seriously. 🙂

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      3. Right now I’m really getting into watercolor, and I’m finally starting to learn a few things 🙂 So that’s where most of my “art concentration” is going. Everything else is just a fun thing. I’m actually starting to see real progress with my watercolors, and I’m thrilled about that, especially with “World Watercolor Month” coming up in July. I’m looking forward to taking the 31-days challenge.

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      4. My paintings will be simple — mostly landscapes, I think — and some of them will probably look a lot alike 🙂 But what better way to learn!

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    1. Thank you so much for the follow! I’m a newbie to art — next week I’ll be celebrating my first year of learning to draw — so feel free to offer any advice and suggestions. 🙂


      1. I did’. Two of them but the middle of the big one is a pond and the other one is a view of the Sunflower from the side.

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      2. I saw that, too. So, it’s a flower and a pond, and it can be lots of things! And that’s nice. It was only a random assortment of organic shapes when I started, so I’m very pleased that it grew flowers!

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      3. Funny you should mention geese. To me, they’re like trees…a weird analogy, but what I mean is just like trees, I’m always trying to take pictures of geese. I chase them around, try to sneak up on them. At least trees stand still! I did try doing a quick little watercolor sketch of a goose recently. It wasn’t very good LOL. I guess my abstract geese will have to do for now.

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      4. I can picture that actually. The geese won’t move when I’m hitting golf balls. I am a horrible golfer and have a difficult time getting the ball in the air…it flys about goose walking on the ground chest level and then rolls on the ground. The geese just lift up one foot and let the ball go by. The minute I go to get my ball, they scatter and honk just walking away with their little geese waddle.

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      5. I spent one entire afternoon at Powell Gardens trying to get good photos of the geese. It was impossible! And a few days ago, I was driving on the interstate, and there were geese waddling along at the edge of the highway. One driver had to swerve to miss them. They just waddled right on.

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      6. They are so stubborn! They move when they don’t have to and get all feather ruffled when there is no reason. And I can not tell the difference between girls and boy geese! Apparently you see them in couples….a smaller one with a bigger one usually. If you see one walking alone it may mean he or she lost their mate…I think it was geese I was reading about when I learned that?

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  1. Judith – this is fabulous piece! Good for you, for cutting loose and being all free with it. On Instagram, there’s a well used hashtag called “Do it for the process”, which is what you did, and you had fun, and….the results are so pleasing! And I’m pleased for you, your pleasure at doing this came across in your post. Knew you’d like acrylics – they really are so versatile, and affordable. In fact, you’ve made me want to get some out now and explore….

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    1. I’m still devouring Debora Stewart’s book, and so many of her exercises are just so perfect for acrylics. Working on abstracts with acrylics is helping me “loosen up” a little with watercolors, too. I’m seeing more “illusions” now and not focusing so much on all the difficult details of a scene. That’s a huge step forward for me.

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    1. I love looking at “good” abstract paintings. It’s really hard to explain, of course, what makes an abstract “good” — it’s so subjective, really. I’m learning and loving it, but at the same time, I think I’m beginning to prefer more realism in my own paintings. Maybe it just seems like abstracts are “too much fun” to be viewed as art. That’s not true, I know. More likely I just haven’t developed my skills at abstraction enough to call them “artistic.” I’m so glad you liked the colors in this painting.

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      1. I agree with you abstract paintings are so subjective. I have difficulty doing abstract paintings but I always like to look at them and see what emotion they evoke from me.

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    1. I have another abstract acrylic I finished yesterday. I have it scheduled for a post coming up in a few days. I hope you’ll drop by and give me your thoughts on it. I can’t honestly decide how I feel about it. Has that ever happened to you?

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      1. Abstract art is really challenging. It’s like figuring out a gigantic puzzle to me. I try to think about composition when I’m doing an abstract…but sometimes my mind gets lost, I think. Or confused. Maybe both. 🙂

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      2. Yes, it has lol! Sometimes I’d get an idea for an abstract and the final product would look nothing like I intend it to. So, yeah. I guess it happens to everyone.


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