Introduction: Abstract Flower Canvas, or Artwork for and by Non-artists

This canvas makes a fun, inexpensive and very personal gift.

Disclaimer: I have no formal art training. Proceed at your own risk. If your girlfriend/boyfriend/S.O. breaks up with you after you present her/him with this gift, I will claim absolutely no responsibility.

Step 1: Materials

Materials needed:

One or two 16x20 pretreated canvases, or your choice of size

Acrylic paints – white, black, one or two main colors, and your choice of several coordinating colors

I used Apple Barrel Gloss Real Red (main color), Pale Daffodil, China Blue, Spiced Carrot, Pewter Gray, Gloss Mossy Green, Nutmeg Brown, Gloss White, and Black

Assortment of large foam or hair brushes, and at least one small brush

Protected work surface

A couple of free evenings

Your choice of alcoholic beverage. It’s Christmas, so my choice was spiked homemade egg nog. Unless you’re underage. Then I recommend your choice of non-alcoholic beverage.

Step 2: Prepwork

Channel Georgia O’Keefe. Have a drink. Think happy thoughts about the intended recipient. Consider doing a warm-up piece to play with colors. My warm-up canvas is pictured. I used the same colors, and mostly figured out what combinations I did and didn’t like. Have another drink.

Step 3: Outline & Background

Using a pencil, very lightly sketch a general outline of the flower you want. Whatever you do, don’t put the flower dead center in the canvas, unless you actually ARE Georgia O’Keefe.

Dribble your background colors randomly over the whole canvas.  Blend the colors with the large brushes until you’re happy, or at least until you think it’s done. Don’t forget the edges of the canvas if you plan to let those show. Let dry overnight.

Alternately, do what I did, and just do the background that will be showing, and spend the rest of the evening trying to cover up the edges of the background enough to make them not noticeable.

Step 4: The Next Night... Center of the Flower

On the following night, repeat step 1.

Then, when you are ready, start with the center of the flower using the little brush. It helps to ground the piece. This is the sort of artsy crap you will tell people who ask you about why to start with the middle when eventually you’re going to redo the middle anyway. No more drinks at this point.

Step 5: Petals

Use your main color and supporting colors to blend and dribble and blend and dribble paint until you’re happy with the result.

By now, the middle of your flower will be messed up. Redo it.

Step 6: Finishing

Finally, add some artistic random dribbles (I used red and white) to the piece and sign it.

Step 7: You're Done!

Allow to dry overnight. At this point, you can decide whether you want to hang it on your own wall (if it’s super good and you’re happy with it), give it to your Mom (if it’s a piece that only a mother would truly appreciate), or whether you will actually give it to the person it was intended for. Somehow these sorts of things make their own decisions. Enjoy.

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