How to Fix an Abstract Painting

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This is my first Instructable. I've been browsing Instructables for a long time and love the creativity, and passion shown from the makers.

My passion right now is abstract painting because I love working and playing with color and texture. My path to a finished canvas is 99% intuitive.

In this Instructable I share my process of making an abstract painting emphasizing color and texture and my process for finishing or "fixing" the painting. I have written out the steps in a fairly detailed manner, so that a person who has never touched a brush can follow them and come up with finished work Enjoy!

Step 1: Tools and Materials

    1. Work space: Table big enough to accommodate paints, tools, light--if needed(ideally wherever you work should have good natural light.), cloths for blotting and clean up and a water container.
    2. Drop cloth to cover work space and maybe another for the floor
    3. Acrylic paint -- any colors. I use Acrylics because they don't smell, they are easy to wash up and they dry quickly*.*(see item 4)
    4. A stretched canvas; you can pick these up cheaply on line or at your big box craft store; look for coupons and sales. I also have had some luck at yard sales.
    5. Paint brushes and any other tool you can move paint around with. Experiment.
    6. Glycerin, a clear, thick liquid which helps keep the paint fluid and gives it a sheen. You can pick it at a drugstore.
    7. Palette: any non porous board or paper or plastic where you can keep small amounts of paint separate and use the middle for mixing colors
    8. Tools to produce texture, some suggestions: Credit cards and similar make little plow piles, the bumpy side of a meat mallet makes snow like impressions, and forks make trails. Tip: lay the paint on thick so you can get a defined texture when you drag a tool through it.

    Step 2: Technique

    In this step I will take you through a thought process and describe my technique. Choose anything that inspires you.

    Consider some important points before you start:

    • What colors do I want to use?
    • What brushes or tools do I want to use?
    • What idea I want to convey?
    • What will happen if I experiment?

    Process: I chose to use a two layer approach and I chose to use colors based on orange on the bottom layer.

    • I put small amounts of red of and yellow in separate wells of my palette.
    • Also I put some white and some paint that looks like makeup foundation in separate wells.
    • I mixed a very red orange, which you can see on the left of the canvas
      • Mixing: use your brush or other tool to put small amounts of red and yellow together (for orange) and mix until it is all one color. If it's not the color you were expecting add more of one color or the other. Use a little white as a brightener. The paint that looks like makeup foundation will take you towards corals.
      • After your background is down step away for awhile.

    Step 3: Coming Back: Next Layer

    So, when I stepped away from the canvas I was absolutely sure yellow would be the next color. When I came back to the canvas I chose blue and started in the corner. Just saying come back to your canvas with an open mind.

    • Drop a chunk of color on the canvas and drag a brush or other tool through it (I used a credit card). Hint: Before moving it around drop a little glycerin in and that will make it easier to move and delay drying.

    Step 4: Adding Colors and Textures

    This step is very simple.

    • Let your color freak flag fly.
    • Experiment with textures.
    • When you think you're done; step away.
    • Let it go overnight

    Step 5: Finishing/The Fix

    I walked away from my canvas happy with the result. I came back to it the next day and decided it needed something. I mixed a green I liked and used it to put a little depth in the ridges. I used a plastic fork to pull some color from the edge.

    At this stage:

    • Look at it for awhile
    • If it needs something go ahead
    • If it ain't broke don't fix it
    • Decide what angle to hang it at
    • You're done

    Thanks for looking at this Instructable! Go ahead and try it, share it!

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      4 Discussions

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      CoconutPi

      8 weeks ago

      Nice ☺️ I have some canvasses to paint over- I started one with emulsion paint.as a base coat to cover the old paint/print... Do you think that will work or will it crack? Thanks ☺️

      1 reply
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      efisher93CoconutPi

      Reply 8 weeks ago

      Thanks for the question. I'm not sure. My approach would be to go ahead and see waht happens over time. Maybe there is a sealer you can use.