Monday, December 1, 2014

DIY Abstract Painting

Hey! I hope you had a great weekend! I had a few requests for more info on the painting that I shared last week with our DIY Parsons desk, so today, I'm sharing a general how to!

First, a little background info .. I have a BA in fine arts, though I didn't do much abstract work in school, the basic principals are the same. It's been about 7 years since I've painted regularly and I miss it! My preference is oil paint, and it really requires a separate studio due to the stinky paint and mess. Once we stop moving around every few months, I'll set one up! All photos (other than of the painting and my office were taken by David for his digital photography class in college)

Here are my tips!

You will need.

Canvas (either by the roll (you stretch/frame yourself) or pre-stretched) if your canvas is primed, make sure it doesn't feel plasticy (the paint won't stick very well) You want your painting surface to have some tooth to it. If needed, you can apply a coat of gesso.

Paint (oil or acrylic ... much like painting furniture, each have their pluses and minuses. Oil has a slow drying time, so it extends the working time on the canvas, which allows you to blend and create washes. You do have to wait longer to put paint overtop though .. it is also very stinky, so you shouldn't paint in the house, and you need turpentine to clean your brushes. Acrylic dries fast, so it doesn't blend as well on the canvas, but it doesn't smell and you can go overtop it faster.

Paint colors I use, Titanium White, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Red, Alizarin Crimson, Thalo Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Brunt Sienna, Brunt Umber, Mars Black (I like Grumbacher Pre-Tested oils)

(Tip: Don't just use black to darken colors, always use complementary colors first to neutralize and deepen colors. It will give a richer color)

Paint thinner (odorless turpentine for oil and water for acrylic) to thin paint and clean brush.

Paint brushes

Glass palette with white paper underneath (mixing on white gives accurate color representation)

Palette knife (to mix paint)

Cotton rag to clean brush between colors.

Disposable gloves (for oil paint)

Razor scrapper (to clean palette)

Just for fun, here's one of me painting in my college studio (2007)

I referred to this fabulous painting! I love the colors, movement and variance of brush strokes.

Here are a few detail shots.

I hope this inspires you to get creative and start your own painting! Don't worry about messing up .. you can always paint over it with gesso and start over! Have fun with it :)


Finally, few cyber monday (today only) deals for you!

If you're interested in learning to how to use your digital camera on manual mode, I highly recommend Shoot Fly Shoot! One of my biggest regrets in college was not taking a photography class, Shoot Fly Shoot photography 101 - is super straightforward (perfect for visual learners!) This is how I learned to shoot in manual mode, I LOVE this class!!

They are offering 50% off all their classes (today only) so now is definitely the time to check it out! They are also offering Photoshop classes (the program that I use to edit my photos). Though I haven't taken that course, I'm sure it's amazing as well!!

Click the banner below to check out the classes!!

Kirsten Krason of 6th Street Design School recently launched House of Jade and has an online shop!! Use the code, HOJBF15 at checkout for 15% off!! 

Also, check out my Etsy shop and use the code CYBER15 for 15% off! 


p.s. Don't forget to enter last week's giveaway! 


  1. Gosh, you really know how to do everything! Love it

  2. You are awesome!! I'm super inspired!!! Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Have you tried water-mixable oil paints? I hear they're pretty cool.

  4. Agree with Julia! Your talent really is endless! So good!

  5. It's so beautiful!! I absolutely love it!

  6. What can't you do? I really love your painting!

  7. love the painting and the colors! and you are adorable!

  8. That painting is gorgeous, I especially love those colors.


Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I love hearing what you think! :)

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