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creating abstract art with texture for family room mountainmodernlife.com

How to Create Textured Abstract Art

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When it comes to decorating your home, not everyone has the same taste. This is especially true when it comes to the opinion on wall art. Thank goodness for this because how boring would it be if everyone’s home looked exactly the same?

I’m no artist, but I’ve mentioned in the past that I do enjoy getting messy and playing with paints. Not only is it therapeutic, but it can also be a fun and affordable way to decorate your walls. Best of all, anyone can do it!

You can see a few paintings I created on our massive gallery wall.

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I’m sure we have had some guests over that wonder what I was thinking, or could care less for my abstract art, but ya know what? I love it! It’s nice to create something that reflects your personality and makes your home feel unique.  That’s my opinion anyway.

Today I’m sharing a canvas I painted several months ago in hopes of inspiring you to get creative. Of course I decided to randomly start this painting at 2 am in the morning, and of course I didn’t get many photos of the process, but I do have a few to share with you.

When it comes to painting I will work on a piece for a few hours until I think it’s finished, but then realize the next day I don’t like it as much as I thought. So then I work on it some more…and the next day the same thing happens again, until eventually I decide I’m happy with it. You don’t want to “overwork” the painting, but in my opinion you can work on it as little or as much as you want.

I also may not always have a plan for what the outcome of my painting will be {when painting abstract}, although I generally will have colors or some sort of inspiration in mind. One thing that I can say… I LOVE texture. It’s the bee’s knees as far as I’m concerned.

How to Create Textured Abstract Art

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Materials Used:

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Here are some of the materials I used in my abstract painting:

Canvas – You can generally find a coupon for 40-50% off to use at your local craft shop. {You could also paint wood.}

Paint – I used a mixture of acrylic, latex, and chalk paint. Basically whatever I had on hand. I really want to play with watercolors in the future though.

Drop Cloth/Kraft Paper/Newspaper – I’m freakin’ MESSY so I need lots of protection from surfaces to avoid accidentally painting the entire room I’m in.

Music! Music is mandatory for me when it comes to painting. I generally stick to my Nathaniel Rateliff, Jack Johnson or Ray LaMontagne Pandora stations because they relax me, but there are times when I feel like pretending I’m in some French bistro while sipping wine… so then it’s a french pandora station. #imsuchanerd

Pallet/Paper Plate/Foil – You can add your paint to a pallet for mixing, but I generally squeeze my paint onto a paper plate or an old {clean} takeout container covered in foil for easy cleanup.

Paintbrushes – I prefer to use an assortment of sizes and shapes.

Paint Stir Stick – this may seems strange but I’ve recently realized I like to paint using a paint stir stick. It creates an interesting texture.

Pallet Knife or Paint Scraper – I love the texture created by a pallet knife but sometimes will use a paint scraper instead.

Gel Medium – I will slap on thick amounts of this gel onto certain areas of the canvas to create even more texture.

Sponges  – Using sponges can create more texture and be a fun tool to blend paint colors.

Spray Bottle – I first learned this trick from David Bromstad, back when he was on HGTV Design Star. It’s fun to spray the canvas and watch the paint flow in different directions, or see it splatter into interesting shapes and texture.

Paper Towels – I have recently started to use paper towels to blend the paint colors a little more without having such a blunt edge. It can also create an interesting texture. I will basically lay the paper towel flat onto the wet paint, press down and smooth over it, lift it up, move it over to another area of the painting and repeat.

Sandpaper Be careful not to rip up the canvas but you can use sandpaper to remove some of the top layers of paint.

Any other random items I can find that seem like they could add interesting texture – for this specific painting I also used some faux eucalyptus berry branches {?? I think this is what they are} which I basically brushed across the canvas to scrape off the paint in an interesting way. I also used a large stencil to add some interest. Some other items you may want to use to add texture or interest are gold leaf, fabric, paper, sand, leaves, flowers, art/gift wrap tissue, etc. I’ve even pressed things like bottle caps into paintings, and glued items like washers onto them. As you can see, the only limit is your imagination.

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To be honest when I’m painting I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I kinda just do whatever I feel like at the moment. I’ll admit that sometimes I get embarrassed how things look during the process and when the hubs walks by I am quick to say “it’s not done yet!”. I’ve learned to get over it because I love to paint in layers and it’s a process I just have to go through. I’ve also learned that if I don’t like the direction it’s going, I can paint over it!

Like I mentioned earlier, I painted this at like 2 in the morning and didn’t get any photos, and can’t even remember exactly what I did but will try to explain it as best I can.

First I added some gel medium to various areas of my canvas and then painted the entire thing with some white paint mixed with just a hint of yellow. I should have let the gel medium sit longer but was too impatient. Once that was dry I left the top and bottom of the canvas painted white and only painted in the center of the painting.  I added some green paint in a mountainous pattern about halfway down, blue paint below that, followed by copper metallic glaze. I used a combination of different paints and even mixed those together so there’s no specific paint color I used. I let the paint get a bit drippy and by this time I was exhausted and went to bed…

In the morning I realized that the copper metallic glaze had dripped waaaaaaay more than I wanted and everything got a little muddled. Guess I may have added too much paint and then probably should have let it lay flat instead of keeping it standing up. Woops.  So I decided to basically start over.

The copper paint/glaze also wasn’t dry yet so I sprayed the canvas with a water bottle and then matted it all down with old {clean} rags. I then added a few lines of new paint followed by white paint that was added using a broken paint stir stick – rubbing it flat over the painting.

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It looked something like the photo below afterwards. {This photo is actually the painting on our gallery wall where I did the same process – painting over the canvas with white paint using a paint stir stick}.

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I then pressed my large tribal stencil on top and removed it. You can’t really see any of the design but it added an extra hint of texture. As you can see I like to experiment with a whole lotta randomness. Ha.

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Then I immediately scrapped some of the paint off in a sweeping motion using a faux eucalyptus berries {??} that just so happened to be in our garage.

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After lots of scraping, followed by more random paint, more scraping, and sanding I fell in love with my accidental painting. I call it that because I really didn’t know what I was doing and it accidentally turned into something I love.

We created a super simple frame using our kreg jig and a mixture of oak and provincial stain:

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This is what the painting looks like hung up on the wall in our family room {this is across from our gallery wall}:

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Here are some close ups:

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 So what do you think about how to create textured abstract art?

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Creating abstract art can seem daunting when first starting out. Check out how to create textured abstract art | MountainModernLife.com

There are no rules when it comes to abstract art, and I encourage everyone to play with paints, get messy, and have fun with it!  Forget about what everyone else thinks and let the creativity flow. Invite friends and family over and have a painting party. It beats another movie night, and it’s cheaper than therapy.

And don’t forget, when it comes to your home, it should be a reflection of you and what you love 🙂

Comments

  • Very creative, I’m going to send this to my artistic daughter who is always complaining that she doesn’t know what to paint 😉

    T hanks for sharing.

    June 29, 2015
    reply
  • I love adding texture to my paintings. Love the use of the branch. Can’t say I’ve done that yet1 Excellent!

    July 9, 2015
    reply
  • Wendy

    Hi Katie,

    I like your painting. Thanks for sharing what you did. I just began painting and enjoy reading any tips others share. What size wood did you use for the frame?

    Wendy

    December 8, 2015
    reply
  • Leila

    I lové it! Just thinking of doing it for our living room! There’s an empty wall waiting! Thank you for sharing!

    February 21, 2016
    reply
  • haley dawson

    Everywhere I look for how to do these joint compound art pieces, I see people write “gel medium” but show no pictures of it, mention no name brand, ingredients, where to buy it, etc. etc. And I’m an art person who’s been oil painting for almost 15 years, so I know my mediums – linseed oil, liquin, and so on! So unless this is a basic acrylic painters medium (I don’t use acrylics, but any new painter would probably not know this anyway), PLEASE tell me/us what “gel medium” you are referring to??

    July 16, 2016
    reply
  • Neha verma

    Hello, I had been a fine art graduate and I still do some painting .Your variety of textures has surprised me, I m gonna use all of them. Thanks☺

    October 10, 2016
    reply
  • Donna Butcher

    Nice to see more than the traditional paintings, I am just starting to enjoy abstracts. A friend asked for one and gave me her idea of colors she wanted, and I took it from there, and was pleasantly surprised at the result. Now I would like to try something with a plaster, on canvas and paints. What do you think? Should I treat the canvas first? Usually I jump in feet first but I have decided to ask for your advice.

    February 14, 2017
    reply

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