Abstract Acrylic Painting Compositions

See how to begin and develop an abstract painting composition with acrylic paints, starting with collage as a prompt,  from beginning to end.

This video demos the process of how to come up with an idea for an abstract painting, determining the tools and techniques to be used, and how to layer and push the painting to a full finish. With demo by Art Prof Clara Lieu & Teaching Artist Lauryn Welch.

Video Walkthrough

  • Abstract Prompts
  • Using collage as a starting point for a painting.
  • Reacting to the colors and shapes in the collage with paint.
  • Layering transparent paint.
  • Features of heavy body acrylics.
  • Acrylic paints have a range of thicknesses and opacity.
  • Adding texture and sheen with glitter to the acrylic paint.
  • Acrylic colors that are inherently opaque.
  • Using acrylic gel medium as an adhesive for collage.
  • Acrylic matte medium creates a very different experience with your painting surface.
  • Mod Podge is great for collage, it seals the surface and makes the collage look more cohesive.

Prof Lieu’s Tips

In generally, most people don’t say “I need to learn abstract art in order to paint realistically,” and yet the reverse is really common. I guess the part of it that I think has the potential impose an unnecessary limitation on an artist is the “before I’m allowed to…,” when really, there is no correct way to learn art.

I think in some cases people see it as this chore that they have to get through, to get to the fun stuff, and in my opinion, that’s not a good learning environment.

What I tend to push more is not waiting around to do that work you want to do eventually, do it now! You can absolutely train your realistic skills at the same time.

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