How to Abstract Paint; Ultimate Beginner’s Guide

If you’ve been curious about diving into the world of abstract acrylic painting but feel unsure about where to begin, this step-by-step tutorial is here to guide you. Whether you’re a beginner or have some experience, this article will provide you with the essential knowledge you need to create stunning abstract acrylic paintings.

Throughout the tutorial, I will walk you through the entire process, starting from the very basics and progressing to more advanced techniques.

With a wealth of practical instructions and helpful tips, you’ll gain a solid understanding of the techniques and concepts involved in abstract acrylic painting. Along the way, I will also share a variety of captivating abstract acrylic art examples that will spark your imagination and inspire your own artistic expressions.

Embark on Your Abstract Art Journey with an Excellent Beginner Video Tutorial

If you’re a newcomer to abstract painting and looking for ideas and inspiration to kickstart your artistic journey, this short video tutorial is the perfect primer. It will provide you with the necessary guidance and motivation to dive into the world of abstract art.

And once you’re done watching, don’t forget to explore further below to learn more about creating expressive and loose artwork.

Unveiling 8 Captivating Examples of Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects

Abstract art encompasses a vast array of styles and subjects, each offering a unique visual experience and creative expression. In this exploration, we will look into eight captivating examples of abstract painting styles, ranging from representational to non-representational forms.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Football Player
Football art

1. Dynamic Brushstrokes: Exploring Action Painting in Abstract Art

In this captivating abstract painting example, the focal point lies in the figure of a football player. What sets this artwork apart is the artist’s skill in creating a convincing depiction of the player. The successful execution of the drawing plays a crucial role in its overall impact.

Moreover, the play of light and shadow, particularly in the depiction of the white pants, adds a touch of realism to the composition. This artwork strikes a remarkable balance between abstract elements and a sense of believability, making it an intriguing exploration of action painting.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Seascape
Abstract seascape

Vibrant Coastal Expressions: Exploring a Colorful Seascape Abstract Painting

This captivating abstract acrylic seascape painting showcases a perfect harmony of design and composition. Its interpretive nature allows for a sense of freedom and experimentation. However, it is the strong design and drawing skills that bring this artwork to life visually.

The foundation of this painting, consisting of excellent acrylic techniques and quality drawing abilities, plays a pivotal role in its success. Without a solid artistic framework, the painting would not have achieved its full potential. Dive into the world of vibrant coastal expressions as we explore the captivating realm of this colorful seascape abstract painting.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Simple Geometric Shapes
Geometric shapes

Exploring the World of Geometric Abstracts: Acrylics and Collage Unite

Discover the joy of creating geometric abstract art with acrylics and collage in this beginner-friendly project. This artistic endeavor is not only simple and approachable but also offers scalability and versatility. You can easily utilize leftover drawing paper scraps for this project.

Start by painting the scraps with darker hues and allow them to dry completely. Next, cut out geometric shapes from the painted paper and carefully glue them onto your canvas or paper surface.

To enhance the visual impact, paint the background with a neutral color that complements the geometric elements. Unlock your creativity and delve into the captivating world of geometric abstracts with this engaging and accessible artistic endeavor.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Cityscape Scenery
Urban and cityscape

Vibrant Exploration: Abstract Cityscape in Acrylic

Immerse yourself in the captivating world of abstract cityscape painting with this stunning example. This artwork beautifully showcases the harmony between abstract art styles and the dynamic energy of a cityscape scene. The carefully chosen palette enhances the visual impact, with the vibrant yellow hues contrasting against the surrounding neutral tones.

While the subjects are rendered in a loose and expressive manner, they remain recognizable, adding a delightful element of intrigue to the composition. Painting a cityscape in an abstract style can be a challenging endeavor, but the process is undoubtedly rewarding and exhilarating. Join the adventure and explore the endless possibilities of abstract landscapes as you embark on your own artistic journey.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Portrait
Abstract Portrait by Robert Joyner

Captivating Abstraction: Abstract Portrait of Abraham Lincoln

Delve into the intriguing realm of abstract portraiture with this captivating example featuring Abraham Lincoln. Creating an abstract portrait requires a profound understanding of facial anatomy and the ability to capture the essence of the subject. Without a solid foundation in drawing the face, the portrayal may lose its intended impact, especially when representing historical figures and celebrities.

In this particular artwork, the artist skillfully maintains a balance between abstraction and accuracy, ensuring that the viewer can still discern the iconic features of Abraham Lincoln. Embark on your own journey of abstract portraiture, honing your drawing skills and embracing the challenge of evoking emotions and capturing the essence of well-known personalities through an abstract lens.

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Non-Representational
Joan Mitchell abstract artist

Unleashing the Abstract: Exploring Non-Representational Abstracts

Dive into the mesmerizing world of non-representational abstract art, where nothing literal is depicted, and creativity knows no bounds. Non-representational abstracts embrace the power of emotion, color, and expressionism to create captivating works of art. While it may appear deceptively simple at first glance, mastering this style requires great skill and expertise.

Source Joan Mitchell

Abstract Painting Styles and Subjects with Non-Representational
Cy Twombly

Another Non-Representational Example

While non-representational abstracts may appear reminiscent of a child’s artwork, the complexity lies in the deliberate arrangement and manipulation of various artistic elements. It is a true test of an artist’s prowess to convey profound concepts and evoke deep emotions solely through abstract forms.

Source Cy Twombly


Dipping Your Brush into Abstract Painting: A Beginner’s Guide

Embarking on your journey into abstract painting as a beginner requires a mindful and deliberate approach. While the allure of becoming an artistic virtuoso like Cy Twombly may be tempting, it’s essential to start with a solid foundation. Abstract painting encompasses more than simply slinging paint; it involves understanding color harmony, design principles, composition techniques, and exploring simple yet impactful ideas.

  1. Take it slow, allowing yourself to gradually immerse in the world of abstract painting. Begin by familiarizing yourself with the basics of color theory, learning how different hues interact and create harmonious compositions. Dive into the realm of design and composition, discovering the power of balance, movement, and focal points within your artwork.
  2. Embrace simplicity and explore uncomplicated concepts to break the ice with abstract painting. Start with small-scale projects that allow you to experiment with different techniques and materials. Allow your intuition to guide you as you create, while also honing your observational skills to identify what resonates visually and emotionally.
  3. Remember, mastery in abstract painting is a journey, and progress comes with patience and persistence. Take joy in the process of self-expression, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes along the way. Embrace the freedom that abstract painting offers, allowing your creativity to flourish and your unique artistic voice to emerge.
  4. So, take a deep breath, pick up your brush, and let the adventure begin. With a solid foundation in color harmony, design principles, and a willingness to explore simple ideas, you’ll unlock the door to a world of abstract possibilities.
Start abstract painting with simple shapes
Start with simple shapes

Step #1: Embrace the Simplicity of Shapes

For those embarking on their abstract painting journey, the first step is to embrace the beauty of simple shapes. As a beginner, seek out uncomplicated abstract shapes that you can replicate in your artwork. These shapes serve as the foundation upon which you can unleash your creative expression.

Once you have chosen your shapes, the real magic begins. Dive into the realm of experimentation, playing with a vibrant array of colors and expressive brushstrokes. This is where your unique abstract painting takes form, as you infuse your personal touch and artistic vision into each stroke.

Remember, abstract painting is about breaking free from the constraints of reality and allowing your imagination to flourish. So, don’t be afraid to let your creativity soar as you explore the endless possibilities that arise from simple shapes. This is your opportunity to create a captivating abstract masterpiece that is uniquely yours.

Paint simple abstract contours to loosen up
Do some before and afters

Step #2: Embrace the Power of Before & After Studies

An effective technique in abstract painting is to engage in before and after studies using your paintbrushes. Begin by selecting an object to draw, such as a coffee cup, and on one side of your canvas or paper, create a tightly rendered representation of the object. This precise depiction serves as your “before” study.

Once your initial tight version is complete, shift your focus to the other side of the canvas or paper. Here, allow your brushstrokes to become freer and more expressive, creating a looser version of the same object. This represents the “after” study.

But the journey doesn’t end there. To further elevate the abstraction, loosen up the initial tight version even more, pushing the boundaries of expressiveness and freedom. Then, challenge yourself to make the second version even more captivatingly abstract and emotionally charged.

In the example above, the left side showcases a more detailed and tightly rendered depiction, while the right side demonstrates a looser, more expressive interpretation of the same subject.

Go For It Once You Are Comfortable
Explore mark making

Step #3: Embrace Expressive Mark-Making with the Same Subject

Continuing your abstract painting journey, revisit the coffee cup as your subject, but this time, delve into the realm of expressive mark-making. Begin by introducing vibrant colors to both the inside of the cup and the background. Feel free to experiment with mixed media elements, such as adding charcoal scribbles, to enhance the textural richness of your artwork. Keep your color palette limited, focusing on the hues that resonate with your desired mood and expression.

In this stage, it’s crucial to let go of any fear of making mistakes, as there are no defined parameters to adhere to. The exploration process is all about embracing the physicality required to paint loosely, allowing the brushwork to flow in a carefree manner. Remember, every stroke is an opportunity to discover new possibilities and observe how you respond to the results.

As you immerse yourself in this expressive journey, you will gradually develop the confidence to let go of rigid control. The chaos that unfolds on your canvas holds its own unique beauty, representing the authentic essence of abstract art. Embrace the freedom and unpredictability, and through this process, you will unlock a new level of creativity and self-expression.

Explore Mixed Media as You Continue learning abstract painting
Add some color to it

Step #4: Embrace Expansion as Confidence and Momentum Build

As your confidence in abstract painting grows, it’s time to embrace the notion of going bigger. Expand your creative horizons by adding more information and details to your artwork. Explore a broader range of colors and subjects, but remember to keep it simple and avoid taking on too much at once. This gradual approach allows your artwork to evolve organically without the risk of becoming overwhelmed or frustrated.

With each stroke of the brush, let your intuition guide you. Trust your artistic instincts and let the painting unfold naturally. As you experiment with bolder color choices and incorporate new subjects, maintain a sense of balance and harmony within the composition. Take the time to observe and reflect on your artwork as it progresses, adjusting and refining as necessary.

Embracing this expansion phase in your abstract painting journey allows you to push the boundaries of your creativity and explore new artistic possibilities. By gradually building upon your existing skills and experiences, you’ll find yourself uncovering new depths of expression and developing a stronger artistic voice.

Remember, the key is to enjoy the process and allow your artwork to grow at its own pace. Be patient and celebrate each milestone achieved along the way. With dedication and perseverance, you’ll continue to gain momentum and witness the evolution of your abstract paintings into captivating works of art.

Keep exploring, experimenting, and pushing your artistic boundaries. The journey of abstract acrylic painting is a continuous one, filled with endless opportunities for self-expression and artistic growth.

In Conclusion

I trust that you found this tutorial enjoyable and informative! If you have any lingering questions or seek further guidance, please don’t hesitate to leave your inquiries in the comments section below. Thank you for joining me on this artistic journey, and may your painting endeavors be filled with joy and fulfillment!

Happy painting, and may your abstract acrylic masterpieces continue to evolve and inspire.