Mixed Media Project: Painting an Abstract Urban Landscape

In this blog post, we will embark on a thrilling artistic journey, exploring a mixed media project that involves transforming an inferior watercolor into a vibrant, dynamic abstract urban landscape. Art is a reflection of the human spirit’s boundless creativity, and it thrives on experimentation and innovation.

This project serves as a testament to the power of creativity, the importance of breaking away from traditional techniques, and the joy of up-cycling old art. Here’s the piece I’ll be doing in this video below.

As you can observe, this artwork embodies a sense of looseness and abstraction, departing from many of my prior creations. However, beneath the surface, it encapsulates several elements that I deem essential in a compelling painting: the interplay of harmonious colors, a well-thought-out composition, and an arresting focal point.

Within this piece, the figures situated in the lower portion of the composition are intentionally distinct, immediately capturing the viewer’s gaze. This effect is achieved through the strategic placement of vivid blues and pinks against a backdrop of contrasting dark shades. In contrast, the remainder of the painting remains decidedly abstract, with the building serving as a recognizable anchor that imparts a distinct sense of place.

The Concept for This Abstract Urban Landscape Painting Project

The concept behind this mixed media project is simple yet profound – to take an existing watercolor painting, one that may be considered inferior or incomplete, and breathe new life into it by turning it into a captivating abstract urban landscape. By embracing a loose and intuitive approach to art, we’ll explore how to combine various media like collage, inks, and acrylics to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Mixed Media Project: Painting an Abstract Urban Landscape
Mixed Media Project: Painting an Abstract Urban Landscape

Materials You’ll Need

Before we dive into the process, let’s gather our materials:

  1. An inferior watercolor painting (the foundation of your project).
  2. Collage materials such as old newspapers, magazines, store bought scrapbooking paper, or tissue paper.
  3. Glue, I use Mod Podge Matte
  4. Acrylic paints in a variety of colors.
  5. High-quality brushes in various sizes.
  6. Inks or watercolor paints for detailing.
  7. A palette for mixing acrylics.
  8. Water containers.
  9. A palette knife or old credit card for texture.
  10. Masking tape.
  11. A canvas or heavy paper for your final piece.
  12. Easel (optional).
  13. An assortment of old brushes or sponges for applying collage materials.

The Process

  1. Select Your Inferior Watercolor: Choose a watercolor painting that you feel has potential but may have been abandoned due to perceived imperfections. This will serve as the foundation of your mixed media project.
  2. Prepare Your Workspace: Lay down a plastic sheet or old newspapers to protect your work surface. Organize your materials so they’re within easy reach.
  3. Collage Layer: Begin by tearing or cutting out pieces of old newspapers, magazines, or tissue paper. Apply a thin layer of acrylic medium or glue to the back of these collage materials and adhere them to your watercolor painting. This step not only adds texture but also covers any flaws in the original painting.
  4. Incorporate Masking Tape: To create the look of urban buildings, use masking tape to define shapes and structures within your abstract landscape. Be creative with the placement of the tape to achieve an urban aesthetic.
  5. Acrylic Painting: Now comes the fun part. Start layering acrylic paints on top of your collage and watercolor base. Experiment with bold and vibrant colors to create contrast and depth. Allow the layers to dry between applications, building up the intensity of your abstract urban landscape.
  6. Add Details with Inks: To add finer details and highlights, use inks or watercolor paints. This step will help refine the shapes and give your urban landscape more character.
  7. Texture and Depth: Experiment with different tools like palette knives or old credit cards to create texture and depth in your painting. This step will give your abstract urban landscape a three-dimensional feel.
  8. Remove Masking Tape: Once your painting is dry, carefully remove the masking tape to reveal the crisp lines of your urban structures.
  9. Final Touches: Take a step back and assess your work. Add any final touches or adjustments to bring out the desired atmosphere in your urban landscape.


The process of transforming an inferior watercolor into a dynamic abstract urban landscape through mixed media is not just about creating art; it’s about unleashing your creativity and breaking free from conventional techniques. This project encourages you to embrace imperfections, experiment with various materials, and discover the beauty in the unexpected.

As you engage in this artistic journey, you’ll not only upcycle old art but also gain a deeper appreciation for the limitless possibilities that art offers. So, gather your materials, let your creativity flow, and turn that forgotten watercolor into a captivating masterpiece that reflects your unique artistic vision. Remember, in the world of art, there are no mistakes—only opportunities for innovation and self-expression.