3 hours 3 hours.
Paint abstract acrylics with palette knife
- Black out the canvas
Here I cover the canvas with black gesso mixed with some resin sand and black lava paste. This gives a textured surface which helps give broken colour when you drag acrylics with palette knife across.
- Apply background
Apply a light green using palette knife leaving the black areas alone to form the trees.
- Add More Colour
Still using a palette knife drag some pure yellow across the greens. Because the surface is heavily textured the wet paint will only be deposited on the raised surfaces.
- Lighten Sky
Using the palette knife drag white paint and yellow over the surface, working it into the middle of the canvas to give a brightly lit background. Then drag a prime blue across the foreground.
- Add Pure White
Using a large palette knife add thicker white to the sky.
- Add smaller branches
Using a small palette knife and a fine brush paint in the branches using black/
- Adding to the foreground
Now drag Magenta and blue onto the foreground, leaving darker shadows below the trees. Use a palette knife to drag light green across parts of the foreground. When dry add paler magenta and blue to build up the texture.
- Finishing Off
Continue using the
acrlicswith palette knife to drag lighter colours across the surface until you are happy with the finish. Add more light to the middle distance of the ground.
This is a selection of photos showing how I develop a painting. This is an acrylic painting on canvas of Bishop Auckland at Christmas. Below that is the process used to paint abstract acrylics.
I start by painting in the background sky then gradually block in the buildings getting stronger to the front. Figures are dotted in randomly using just black acrylic, then
How To Paint Abstract Acrylics
- Black Out The Canvas.
Use black gesso to cover the surface of the canvas. This helps gives you immediate coverage and sets you free to just paint.
- Use Textured Mediums.
Mix a textured paste such as resin sand or black lava from Liquitex onto the canvas the same time as the black gesso. This gives a tooth so that paint can be dragged across it just catching the particles on the top surface.
- Block In The Larger Shapes.
Use a large brush to paint in the main shapes of your painting. A brush at the beginning will work the paint into the textured surfaces.
- Use A Palette Knife
Use a broad palette knife to drag colour across just catching the textured surface, Add a lighter colour to the knife and repeat the strokes, just with a lighter touch. Build up the paint to give a more abstract feel with the black gesso peeping through.
- Add Detail.
Use a brush to define smaller shapes such as figures or architecture. Then drag an accent of colour over the shape using a smaller palette knife.
- Stop Early.
Don’t overdo the detail in an abstract painting, let the viewer’s eye add their own vision. Less is more.
- Review Your Painting.
Keep stepping back from your easel to see the bigger picture. On this painting the trees were just the black gesso with colour dragged in between and across the broken surface.
I have been given a new palette to start the new year, but I can’t see what’s wrong with my old one. I always like to keep my palette clean, at least for the first week. You can decide which is the new one.
Actually I prefer to keep mixed paint on the palette troughs as there are sometimes good mixtures to pick up with your brush. I tend to pick up one colour with the brush then drag it into another so that when it hits the paper surface some of the colours mix together and some don’t, it gives more variety to your brushstrokes. But I admit the palette on the right has gone a bit too far, even for me.