6 Tips To Get You Started On Your Abstract Painting

A blank canvas can be daunting when deciding how to start an abstract painting. Or maybe you’re keen to try your hand at abstract, but the whole concept makes you feel a little apprehensive? Dundas Valley School of Art instructor, Margot Roi, shares some ideas to move past any hesitations and creative blocks. Dive right in with these tips and get those creative juices (and brushes) flowing!

Let’s Play!

Grab a couple of brushes (large/small), 2 colours (dark/light) and a small painting surface (canvas/thick paper/wood). Put on your best “mixed tape” and start exploring as you create your personal surface while painting to the different beats. Layer it up and celebrate the power of play!

Discover The Process

Experiment with a variety of painting tools – different brushes/scrapers, etc. on a variety of surfaces – different papers/canvases. Create new ways of mark-making such as scratching into a wet surface/adding pencil/crayons, etc. Stick with either warm or cool colours (less chance of a mostly brown mess, unless you love brown!)

Harness That Creative Energy

Work in your best yoga moves! Change body positions while painting to stimulate the imagination and change up perspectives. Choose different surface sizes/brush sizes. Tape a metre stick to your brush and challenge yourself with a canvas the same height as you.

Feel The Rhythm

Shall we dance? Develop a painting rhythm as you bounce the tool around your surface. Top/bottom, side to side, and diagonally across – get your Zen on to streamline your design. Your intuitive style and composition genius will emerge.

Failure Is An Option

Give your self permission to make mistakes – embrace your boo-boos! Cut/rip/tear up any discarded pieces to create new ones. Collage bits onto your surfaces with glue/more paint/needle & thread. Trade bits with others and collaborate on your creativity.

Connect With Your Inspiration

Lines, colours, shapes and surface marks are only the beginning. Create a digital folder of your favourite abstract artists, keep experimenting, take photos of nature/man-made objects to make connections and grow your abstract repertoire. Remember, it’s your journey!

Margot Roi teaches painting classes at Dundas Valley School of Art. Exhibited throughout Ontario, her artwork is found in several private and corporate collections. She has received numerous awards for her work as an arts educator and visual artist. Learn more at www.margotroiart.com.