Stages of an abstract painting

lisa fulmer abstract painting
Sunset Through the Trees - mixed media on canvas 18x24"

In a recent online Facebook demo with local artist Colleen Gianatiempo, I learned some of her tips and techniques for painting an abstract. It was really fun - she talked about using your arms and leaning your body into the process to keep things loose and spontaneous. Use the color wheel to pick a good palette of colors and don't think too much beyond that. Let things evolve naturally - keep what you like, paint over what you don't like. She also showed lots of different tools and household objects for stamping, scraping, smudging and making interesting marks.

Here's a slideshow of each stage of my process:
  1. Draw swirls with a charcoal pencil - this was helpful to "break" the canvas and warm up
  2. Choose a palette and add color with a water-soluble art crayon (I use Marabu). I worked with Magenta, Terra Cotta and Yellow
  3. Blend the colors with a large wet brush - I also tapped the brush around for texture
  4. Add acrylic paint with a scraper tool - I scraped a few wide arcs in Gold and skinny lines with Interference Violet
  5. Add more paint with a brayer - I rolled some yellow in both directions. I also liked the white lines I got from pressing a little harder into the canvas - the edges of the brayer scraped some paint away.
  6. Add more paint with stamping - I used teal blue with a cosmetic sponge (I have a thing for circles in my art) and I also added more marks with the art crayons
  7. I pressed and twisted the edge of a paint jar lid into the centers of my stamped circle clusters to add the texture of circular outlines where the paint was heaviest. I also smudged in more shading with art crayons and water, then scraped in more lines.
  8. I stamped white circles with a sandy-textured paint, then spritzed shimmer sprays in Rose, Apricot and Gold (also from Marabu) and let them drip. I randomly splattered drops of Aquamarine spray. Once that was dry, I finger-smudged in more shadows and highlights with art crayons. The video clip shows the shimmer effects.