Article from Pink Curlers
Nicole Medina
I feel most myself near the ocean or in front of a painting I'm working on
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How to Make an Abstract Painting In 5 Steps

By Nicole Medina

Talent can be overrated. Creating 'real' art is much easier than we tend to think


The benefits of painting extend beyond the resulting piece of artwork created. The process of painting is what offers the most rewards to your state of mind. Through the act of painting, you are forced to transfer the focus you would normally use on  rushing or procrastinating, to colors.




You can reap the benefits of art therapy at home to improve your well-being and lower your stress levels.




If you’re looking for stress-relief, self-expression or some peace of mind, you don’t need to watch four hundred YouTube videos, or imitate an artist’s work. You definitely don’t need to take a class. All you need to do is paint. The greatest trait of abstract art is that it’s abstract. It calls simply for color and emotion, which if you’re a human like me, we have plenty of, perhaps more than we need.


‘If you hear a voice within you say, ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.’ – Vincent Van Gogh


How To Create an Abstract Painting in 5 Steps

1. Gather materials. A blank canvas, a pack of diverse brushes of different sizes, a pack of basic acrylic paint colors, a plastic plate, paper towel, a plastic cup of water, a t-shirt you don’t care too much about.




2. Separate yourself from the materials and any distractions. Bring scrap paper or a notebook and a pen with you. What are you feeling? Write it down. What challenge did you recently overcome? How did you feel after? How did your role model make you feel? Anything recently on your mind? Answer these questions and/or more like these in single word answers, preferably not as full sentences.


3. Examine what you have written. Based on the questions above, most or all of your answers should be abstract. For example, ‘a book,’ is not abstract, but ‘challenging’ is. Or, ‘my uncle’ is not abstract, but the way he made you feel is. Maybe your hypothetical uncle was fun made you feel ‘goofy,’ or ‘joyous.’




These are abstract, emotion-based. Don’t be afraid to dive into dark corners. This is the place to do it. This is where some healing can happen. For example, maybe, you had an uncle that was a bully, and he made you feel ‘frightened.’


unnamed-5       ‘This abstract piece was the product of a client’s art therapy session.’


4. Choose the abstract term that intrigues or captivates you the most.

5. Paint it, however you may imagine it.

Tips on basic abstract painting:

Use color to convey feeling. You can use colors you love to evoke feeling loved. The colors are yours to play with. You can use black within a lovely color to make sharp contrasts that can bring discomfort to the viewer. The viewer will feel the strain you are illustrating.

Don’t paint anything in particular. Allow the feeling to dominate the imagery. If you want to convey ‘freedom’ for example, you innately might paint something sky-like, not a sky, but better.


unnamed-6       ‘sky-ish’


If you are painting the feeling of being ‘stressed out,’ you might find yourself painting a crowd of lines, or disordered wiggly things. While it won’t ‘look’ like anything because it can’t (because it’s abstract), it will make you and the viewer feel something.


unnamed-7       This is another product of an art therapy session. I feel stressed looking at it.


-Don’t punish yourself with comments like, ‘What a mess!’ or ‘This is so bad!’ It can’t be bad because there’s no comparison. It’s an entirely new and individualized idea that you’re in charge of.

-Don’t try too hard.

Use your imagination.


unnamed-8       ‘Painting is self-discovery.’ -Jackson Pollock

First published on pinkcurlers.com
Suggested Further Reading: The Connection Between Art, Healing and Public Health
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