How do I learn abstract painting techniques?

Abstraction has less to do with technique and more to do with the history of abstraction—and your response to that history. I recommend you study the work of the different major styles and understand what they were trying to do.
If, on the other hand you just want interesting random patterns and decorative textures, there are a number of design publications and websites for that.

Carla Attenborough , Creating art before I could write

Most abstract painters are classically trained painters, who then venture away from a draughtsman- like literal representation of things.Some artists go the other way, and push their talents to become phenomenal realists. Ran Ortner is one of my favorite hyper realistic current artists as his work has a meditative and transcendent quality. But other artists grow tired of rendering pretty bowls of fruit in the sunshine or things in general, and wish to try something else.However, some of the painting techniques or principles for abstract art adhere to the same principles of art--regardless of genre.

1. Composition-

There needs to be a focal point usually in a painting. And you need to understand 'The Rule of Thirds'- here is a good link ( It is a photography site, but the visuals are very good ):

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In this abstract piece, below the left side white brushstrokes of paint are the focus. All paintings need a focal point in my opinion. And this painting also follows the 'thirds' concept.

2. Application of paint or your medium of choice-


Be aware that you usually want to saturate your canvas with layers of color. In fact, you probably want to cover your entire canvas with paint from corner to corner. And this may be a process that takes days or weeks, with patience and allowing for drying perhaps. Paintings take time. I usually have to work on mutiple canvases at once to fulfill the urge to continually paint. But I move to another canvas as one is drying, and rotate through them. At the heart of every painting is an abstract composition.  Try reducing your work first, simplifying your works to simple form in compositions, use shapes instead of objects.  Then build out from there.

Ben Rebach , studied at Rochester Institute of Technology

Youtube and practice. Lots and lots of youtube, mixed with lots and lots of practice. Rinse, repeat.That's the easiest, cheapest, do-it-yourselfiest answer. The rest is getting out there, meeting other artists, joining artistic groups, etc.

Then youtube and practice some more.


Category: Abstract

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