Abstract Acrylic Painting Techniques | Linda Celestian | Skillshare

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Abstract Acrylic Painting Techniques

teacher avatar Linda Celestian, Learning to paint is fun

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

7 Lessons (1h 10m)
    • 1. Introduction 2

    • 2. Supplies

    • 3. Painting 1

    • 4. Painting 2

    • 5. Printing

    • 6. Wrap Up

    • 7. Bonus

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About This Class


Learn abstract acrylic painting techniques with the emphasis on exploration and fun. Subsequent paintings can be used for collage,greeting cards and loads of other projects. Bonus video shows how to cover a tissue box with painted papers.

Meet Your Teacher

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Linda Celestian

Learning to paint is fun


I'm a fine artist and a teacher. I've been painting for 30 years and teaching for 15 years. Life is short but you can keep it fun by trying new things.

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1. Introduction 2: Hi, I'm Linda Celestine. Welcome to my class on abstract acrylic painting techniques. In this class, I'm going to go over all the supplies you need to get started painting with acrylic paint. But this isn't classes different. I'm not teaching you how to paint something. I'm teaching you how to explore Mark making with acrylic paint and pattern making and color . So this is why I paint on paper instead of on campus Because I'm not concerned about making a finished beautiful painting in this class. I'm gonna show you a ton of really fun techniques with tools that you wouldn't expect to use with acrylic paint to create some beautiful painted papers that you can use for lots of projects. I all of these techniques could be translated onto canvas, but the reason I paint on paper and so this is a fun exercise in learning about how to use the different tools, learning what textures and patterns you can create with the tools and just being free. So I I love Teoh more. Connie's in color stories, So I have a group of paintings that I can later collage with. It just seems to go in so many different directions every time I play with this and I just can't get enough of it. I really hope youll enjoy it and have fun. 2. Supplies: I like to use a heavyweight drawing paper. This paper is £80 comes in a 12 by 18 size. This is heavy enough to withstand some of these wet techniques. If it gets a little ripple e I stick it under books overnight and it usually flattens out. But it's not too heavy, so you can still cut this down if you want a collage with it. Paint comes in different grades in different consistencies, so this pain is an economy paint, which means it's on the low end dollar wise. But that means it has less pigment in it. It's great for using with kids, but also, if you're starting out and just really want to be able to explore a lot of these techniques , the higher great pain is golden fluid paints that I use, and your colors will be more brilliant. But it is more expensive. You can buy paint in tubs like this or in tubes, and for some of the techniques, I might use it straight from the tube, but others I will definitely mix it with water, so I'm going to demonstrate that, and I'm going to sort of talk you through the technique says to which ones might have really watered down paint or thicker paint. When I'm mixing my paint with water, I might use a bristle brush to get the lumps out. So I like to have a tub of water, a jar of water nearby to throw my tools into if I don't get to wash them right away. I'm a real stickler about that because acrylic paint will dry in its permanent, so you don't want your brushes to all be dried up. By the time your end your painting session, you'll need a few paint rags or paper towels and painter's tape that I used to tape down my paper. You'll want some big brushes and in some different small brushes for different techniques. A couple of varieties of sponges. These are professional wipe out tools. And as I go along in the videos, I noticed that I forgot to even use them here. Some more professional wipe out tools for creating textures. What I end up demonstrating in these videos is these combs that I got at the dollar store so you can go ahead and get professional tools or substitute with these other tools One of my favorite tools is spatulas I get from the dollar store, so you're gonna see me demonstrate a lot with those. Next is a squeegee, that which I also bought at the dollar store. I think this is meant for cleaning your windows, but I've never used it for that. This is artist's palette paper that comes in pads. It's a waxy paper for mixing pain on. I use it in my printing technique, So if you don't have that on hand, I'm gonna show you how to make a printing plate with freezer paper. And one more supply is the Q tips for removing paint and also love to use squirt bottles with some of these techniques. I like to prep my paint before I get started, so I'm gonna pick several colors that I want to use his background colors. If you're using tub paint or to paint, you're gonna want to mix it with water, so I'll demonstrate how I do that and what the consistency should look like here. I'm using a stiff bristle brush to get the lumps out of the paint. This economy paying is already in a liquid form, so it doesn't need quite as much water or is much work to get it watered down to a nice consistency that you can use Ah, large sponge brush to paint a whole background. Next, I'm gonna prep one of my squirt bottles with water down paint, So I'm pointing here to how much water I put in. And then I'm just gonna put a little bit of paint in because you don't want to mix up more than you're gonna use, because I usually have to wash these bottles out or they'll get clogged and they won't work anymore. So just makes up what you're going to use. So I shake it up real good and give it a test on some clean white paper. My first test. I think it's a little watery, so I add more paint. - If the paint is too thick, it's not going to squirt through here, and every score bottle is different, so play around with it. This is my test piece, and you'll see later. I'll add some color to it. I also Philip one score bottle with plain water. I'm using an absorbent paint tarp to cover my table so the absorbent paint tarp is my favorite because it's gonna catch any of the paint on the sides on. And also, if you spill, it's gonna absorb it. It's plastic on the back and cloth on the front. I always tape down my paper that I'm working on when, especially when I'm gonna paint backgrounds and I use painter's tape so I don't rip my paper. 3. Painting 1: The first step is to paint several solid colored backgrounds. My paper is taped to my paint tarp with painter's tape. I have water mixed into my paint in this large tub, amusing a large sponge brush, and I'm gonna paint the whole background one solid color. So I take my next piece of paper down, usually in the same spot on my paint tarps. So here I'm pointing out that sometimes you've painted over the edge that color is gonna pick up on your brush. Another reason why I like the absorbent paint tarp. If you're using a plastic tablecloth, you might want to wipe off that extra pain around the edge before you get started, because sometimes the colors end up mixing and you're not going to get the solid background that you were trying to get. It doesn't take very long for these backgrounds to dry, but there is one technique that I'm going to show you where you want to do something to it before it drives. This works best with dark colors. You're gonna just take your water down paint and, uh, fill in the hole background one color and then scored it with plain water, and this is how it looks when it's dry. It's just a really subtle speckled pattern. So now go ahead and have some fun with that squirt bottle filled with paint. I get started, and I don't know when to stop. Just make sure that you have enough room around you that you're not spraying, um, some other things that you don't want sprayed with paint, because that happens to me all the time. - I love lots of layers, So here's one that I have painted on, and I have also drawn on it with an oil based paint marker. And I'm just going to go over it again with another layer of paint with your thin down, watery paint. You can go over layers transparently. So here, especially black, is gonna show through this paint that has a lot of water in it. So in the end, this piece does end up being a little bit Ripley because I'm using very water down paint, so be careful that your pain isn't too watery. But like I said, I can just stick them the painted papers under books for a couple days, and they really flatten out. And if I'm using them for collage. They get glued down flat. Now, I'm just gonna have some fun painting with my dollar store spatula. The specialists come with in different sizes on work Really well for this technique. Okay, I'm working on a dark background that I've let dry, and I'm going over it with a lighter color. So it's really important when you're working with layers to think about contrast. I'm using the comb here to scratch off the paint and reveal some of the underneath surface . And I also use paper towel just so sort of remove some of the paint. - I let that dry. And then I did the same thing again, using different tools. So to me, if you don't like something at as it is, then at another layer, you have nothing to lose. Yeah, here, The special. It works great to remove paint, so if you just draw anything that you can think of, I like to use abstract patterns and repeat those shapes. Like I said in the beginning, I'm not worried about composition, so I'm just creating an overall pattern. This is just a variation on the previous technique, so I'm going to use the smaller end of the spatula to remove paint in some areas and then to apply it in other areas. So I'm drawing with the paint that's on the spatula. - Now I'm going to show you how I use the squeegee to paint with, so I'm applying the paint along the edge of the paper. You can see here I'm using some of the night to paint. But I also used some of the paint that was a little bit watered down, so I think either works. This is a technique that you definitely want to play with to see what works best for you, because you also could add the paint anywhere on the paper and see what happens. I'm adding different colors along the edge. Unfortunately, my squeegee isn't quite big enough to reach across the whole paper, but you'll see how I manage that. So, yeah, maybe some of the paint is a little thick. I'm kind of mixing it with my squeegee before I start to pull it across the paper blue 4. Painting 2: Here's a couple techniques where I'm just playing with marks that the sponge brush can make . Now I'm going to show you how to create a really pretty to tone effect. Start by painting a pattern with white paint. You want to let that dry completely. Then you're gonna mix a color with water, so it's pretty transparent, pretty running. This is where I like to use my more expensive paints because I want a brilliant color using a big sponge brush. I'm going to cover the whole paper evenly. So what's happening here is the transparent color soaks into the paper where there's no white pain and creates a lighter tone where the white pain is. So I'm going to show you that again, using a different brush, and I'm just creating a very haphazard brush marks for the background. So let that dry completely, and then you're going to go over it with your transparent color. Here I started with a paint consistency that it was a little too runny, so it's going to if it's too much water in it, it's gonna beat up a little bit on the white paint, getting the right consistency for some of these different techniques is something you learn with experience. But this whole project, this whole classes about experimenting. So play with different techniques and see what you like. You can do this same technique with black as your first layer, - so I always encourage students to take the tools that I'm presenting and tools that you have on hand and experiment with them. So I had a student that printed a whole page with this comb, and I just thought it was beautiful. It does take a lot of patients, but it's kind of fun to play with. Old brushes work great for this dry brush technique. You don't want a lot of paint on your brush, and you want to just sort of drag it along the paper, barely touching the paper here, I'm using golden high flow acrylic. It's very watery, very fluid and perfect for detailed work with a small brush, - there's always the good old sponge to make different textures. There's also different varieties of sponge, like a natural sponge or your regular kitchen sponge. - I also like crinkled up paper to print with. It makes a great texture. - This technique also works well on dark backgrounds. My background is dry, and I'm covering it with very watered down paint. You could thin your paint with water or also what works really well with this technique is an acrylic medium. I use airbrush medium because it's very watery, but you could also use a mat, medium or gloss medium and just add water to it, covering the whole background. And then I take some saran wrap and push the saran wrap right into the paint, and you're gonna leave that to dry overnight or possibly longer after it's fully dry. You can peel the saran wrap off and you'll see these beautiful patterns here. I'm using an acrylic medium airbrush medium so you can see it creates a lot of transparency in this technique makes it look like ice. 5. Printing: you'll need something to uses. A printing plate. You can use artists, disposable palette paper, but I'm gonna make my own printing play using freezer paper. Make sure you have this shiny side up and then wrap it around the board and tape it on the back. You'll want one of these for each color that you're gonna print with. You can continue to use this same plate if you're not gonna change colors. So here, I'm going to show you what the subtracted technique looks like. You start by covering the entire printing plate with your paint. Once again, you don't want it too thin or too thick. Now you're going to use any of your wipe out tools. Like I said, my favorite is the dollar store spatula. They work great. So you're removing paint in a pattern. - This first print, I have the paint a little bit watery, so I'm gonna just for the next print. And then I adjust it a little bit more for the next spring. So if the like, if the paint is too watery, your pattern just gets mushy. So remember when you're printing that you always want your paper to be lighter or darker than the paint color. If the paint color and the background color are too similar, you won't see your print very well. So here I'm using the Q Tips as another tool to remove paint. With this technique, you can experiment with any kinds of tools that you have that we scratch into the paint or remove the paint. - Another fun thing to print with his bubble wrap. And if you get bubble, rip in different sizes, too. But it's just a really fun background. Sometimes I paint over it. It's certainly not gonna print perfectly, so just have fun with it. I'm using a Breyer to apply the paint. 6. Wrap Up: I hope you enjoyed taking this class and learning all these fun techniques. Please upload your paintings. I'd love to see your work. And if you have any questions, leave them in the comments section and happy painting. I recommend always washing your brushes with. So it may look like I'm being a little rough here, but it's the best way to get all the paint out of the bristles. Acrylic paint is permanent, and once it dries into your brushes, even just a little bit that you've left behind and it gets built up, your brushes will start to splay out and won't be is good. I mean, sometimes that's okay for some techniques that you want an old brush for. I repeat this a few times with clean soap in my hand until I don't see any color coming out of my brush anymore. I even washed my sponge brushes and I use soap, and that way they last for quite a long time. Actually, if you don't get all the paint washed out of your plastic containers, if you let it dry, it peels out. So I never even throw away these containers. I just use them over and over 7. Bonus: So here's a little project I recently did with some of my painted papers. Just going to take ah, cardboard tissue box here that I got it. Michaels and these air the supplies amusing. Tacky glue. Um, I have somewhat paper towels close by to wait my fingers off a ruler pencil scissors. I'm starting with the top of the box, and I just trace it onto the back of one of my painted papers. I'm using my ruler to find the center of this because I need to cut a hole where the tissues come out of the top of the box. - I start by cutting out a small hole. It's smaller than the whole that is in the top of the box. - Now I'm measuring the actual dimensions of the hole in the box, and I'm gonna draw that on the back of this piece of paper, - now making cuts into the pencil lines, stopping right before the pencil line. - I prepped this by folding in all the little tabs. I put my tacky glue in a little container, and I like to use my finger to spread it that way. I know that it's nice and smooth I do use quite a bit covering it very thickly. I make sure that I put enough glue on all the tabs to after getting all the glue off my fingers. I use my hands to press down everything so that I don't get bubbles later, and then I'm gonna push those little tabs in. They all have glue on them, and I'm just gonna make sure they're all glued inside. Now I'm ready to choose painted papers for the other sides, and I trace each one separately instead of measuring it. That's because maybe the sides air slightly different. In this way, I get a specific tracing that will fit the side that I'm working on to make positioning an entire glued piece a little easier. Sometimes I'll glue only half of it and then stick it to the box and lift the flap to glue the rest. - As a final step, I gave it a couple coats of Cry Island crystal clear spray