Here is another fun, and surprisingly easy, "How-to" for you to try: "How to Create an Abstract Painting." I just delivered this dramatic abstract zig zag painting to a bride-to-be who wanted a custom painting for her and her future husband's new home. I believe there is probably a tutorial on something very similar floating around Pinterest, but I am going to give you the steps I took in creating this specific one for her. She had given me several inspiration pictures to create from, and I was able to combine a few designs into one!
Step One: Her Notes. My client sent me great notes on the colors that she wanted which included orange/rust, brown, turquoise and some shades of blue. I was able to check out her registry at Kohls and take a look at the pillows and place settings she had chosen because several of her colors were in those items. She also had this incredible verse she wanted subtly included in the painting: Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." Finally she sent me several pictures of abstract art that she loved. Her top two including a painting with an Ikat pattern. (If you are unfamiliar with Ikat, I'll show you an example below), and a painting with a white zig zag pattern on top. I decided to combine the two!
Step Two: Ikat Painting. This was so much fun. West Elm has some stylish Ikat fabric examples and a great blurb about what Ikat is here, calling it hazy, subtle and full of imperfect lines. So, I created hazy, subtle (Ok--my lines were not as subtle) and imperfect lines on my canvas with paint. When your goal is imperfect…you can never mess it up!! I LOVE this part. I just mixed the colors that matched her home and started zigging and zagging my brush.
I did some big strokes and then went back with a smaller brush to do more highlights so there was a bolder transition from the rust to the orange colors. I painted the orange color first. When I went to paint a second line of orange, I made sure to follow the dips of the orange line on top…it makes it look more like a pattern and less random. I also left space for me to fill in other colors like teal and rust.
I love mixing in water with my acrylics and letting it drip down the canvas. So, I added in some dripping to increase the abstract level and for dramatic effect. Honestly, I love the painting at this point. You could stop here or keep going to Step Three….
Step Three: Zig Zag Pattern. I went ahead and created a chevron pattern with chalk and then connected the lines to create bricks/boxes. I used chalk because I could easily wipe off the chalk lines and wouldn't have to erase anything. It worked out great. I do a step by step chevron tutorial here. Below you can see how the chevron pattern formed and finally where I drew the lines to create the boxes to make up the zig zag pattern.
I first draw out my grid (fyi...these are not the final bricks/boxes you will see later):
Next comes the tricky part! I connect the lines to create what looks like bricks. It is much easier to understand in images, but basically, I carried a line to "cut into" the chevron pattern. When the chevron created a "v" I took the right line of the "v", continued it, and carried it down to meet the line below it. Take a look at the following picture. My lines are not perfect, so don't stress over making everything the same! It is abstract art!
Step Four: The White Lines. Now that you have your bricks/boxes drawn, outline them in white! Do not outline the vertical and horizontal lines you drew (aka the grid). If there are too many lines confusing you at this point, take your time and remove the vertical and horizontal chalk lines. Since its chalk, its easy to remove..even just a dab of water on a paper towel will work.
Step 6: Write your verse or quote or nothing at all! After discussing with my client, we decided to have the verse going along one of the bottom zig zags. I drew the verse out in pencil first and painted over it in black.
Step 7: Your Painting is Finish! You can deliver it or keep it for yourself. Have fun and enjoy your new abstract painting!