Abstraction 101 - Design Elements | Alexandra Reid | Skillshare

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

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

Lessons in This Class

21 Lessons (1h 26m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Creating Line Studies

    • 3. White Line Studies

    • 4. Varying Line Styles

    • 5. Interacting Lines

    • 6. Conversations With Lines

    • 7. Mixing a Gray Scale

    • 8. Limited Value Scale

    • 9. Creating Interesting Shapes

    • 10. Analyzing Shapes

    • 11. Preparing Your Substrate

    • 12. Composition Structures

    • 13. Intuitive Painting

    • 14. Using Viewfinders

    • 15. Centres of Interest

    • 16. Support and Substrate

    • 17. Creating a Colour Palette

    • 18. Using Palette Cards

    • 19. Painting Colour Studies

    • 20. Mixed-Media Enhancement

    • 21. Conclusion

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About This Class


This class is for everyone, whether you're a beginner or an experienced artist.

Want to learn more about abstract painting? Join Alexandra Reid as she helps you to explore the world of abstraction using the art building blocks called Design Elements.

In this class you will learn about Line, Value, Shape, Space and Colour and then apply your knowledge through hands-on exercises to combine these Design Elements into a series of small abstract paintings.

Some of the things we will cover in this class:

  • Draw a visual conversation with mixed-media lines
  • See how value and contrast draw your eye into a painting
  • Recognize basic compositional structures in abstract painting
  • Paint intuitively with a limited value palette
  • Select a personal colour palette
  • Create a series of small mixed-media abstract paintings

By the end of this class, you will have learned how paint abstractly using a set of art tools for endless inspiration.

Come and get ready to loosen up your painting style with Abstraction 101 – Design Elements!


Meet Your Teacher

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Alexandra Reid

Mixed-Media Artist & Jewellery Designer


I am a mixed-media artist and jewellery designer living in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. I work primarily with encaustic paint, but I also like to incorporate collage and resin into my artworks. I am active in my local art scene by exhibiting in juried artists’ shows, teaching workshops and participating in community arts events on Vancouver Island.

My novel technique of creating encaustic mosaics was given an in-depth article in the mixed-media magazine, Cloth Paper Scissors and they have also been featured in Somerset Studio magazine. Recently, my ‘Ruby’ encaustic mosaic won ‘Best in Mixed-Media’ at the LOOK Show in Victoria, and several others have received Juror's Choice awards.

I also create handmade jewellery from encaust... See full profile

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1. Introduction: Hi, I'm Alexandra read or Lexi for short. I'm a mixed media artist and jewelry designer. I love teaching hands-on learning both in my studio and here on skill share. So welcome to my class, abstraction, one-to-one design elements. So abstract art is art that doesn't try to give an accurate, realistic depiction of reality, but instead uses line, value, shape, space, and color to achieve its effect. So these are called the elements of design, and they are the building blocks used to create a work of art. So this class is intended for beginners renewed abstract painting, or experienced artists looking to loosen up and find some new avenues for inspiration. So we're gonna start with creating conversations with line and using a variety of drawing materials will look at the importance of value and how contrast helped draw the eye into your painting. Will analyze shapes and learn how to recognize basic compositional structures that come up time and time again in abstract paintings. Then we'll have some fun and let loose to paint and draw intuitively and create a bit of mixed media chaos will slice up this chaos and find inspiration to create better and bigger abstract paintings. So what you'll learn in this class will give you the skills and confidence to paint unique and intuitive abstract paintings. You'll develop a great set of design tools that will help you find inspiration with a simple card shuffle. Can we see your projects? And we got a lot to cover. So let's jump straight into the class and start playing with design elements to create some fantastic abstract paintings. 2. Creating Line Studies: For you to start creating a series of lines studies using different types of drawing materials and varying how you use these dry materials. I'm using cancelled mixed media paper to draw. First one I am showing is a black stubby little all pencil followed by a black china marker are called grease pencil. You can feel the paperback to expose the lead. Next I'm showing a black neo color to crayon. I use it a lot, so I put masking tape not to keep it together. These are water-soluble. Joel show on another stage. Next are Micron pens with different nibs or brush slices that are filled with lack archival ink. And these ones range from 0.5 millimeters to a more sort of quarter inch brush snip. And you can vary the pressure to see how much ink actually concept. Next I am showing a series of black molto paint markers, again at different sizes of nips. You do need to shake things up first before you Islam and push up and down on the brushed it to get the paint flowing. These can be refilled with high flow acrylic paints such as Golden's. Sharpie also makes pain markers, but they're not refillable. The blue line indicates water-soluble versus the oil, these ones next, the black per pack dual knit marker. It has a bullet nib on one side and a chisel nib on the other days you don't need to shape for using. Then I'm using a big mall tall paint marker. And you can get very line depending on the patient flow and how hard you push on the paper. This is a stability old pencil and regular graphite. It's someone a chair, right? Standard pencil but can write on variety of services. Next, these are Lira graphite grams in both water-soluble and non water-soluble. That water-soluble again have the blue labels. They come in a variety of graphite hardness. These range from 2B hard, 6B medium, and nine, be soft. I prefer the softer graphite from art-making and that you can get finer lines with the harder graph of eight. Again, varying the pressure means different darkness and thicknesses of line. And last time using that lack new color Quran again. And I'll show you what happens to the lines when you add water to them. So just dipping my brush and a little bit of water getting wet. And these are water-soluble Lira, graphite grounds. The more lead leads to a darker line once you add water to it. So the water activates the water-soluble pigment in the crayons. 3. White Line Studies: Here we're using a substrate, a blood card stock, and you can assemble your white drawing materials. So here I'm starting with a white high flow acrylic paint. And you can use this to create drips, are lines running down your page. Even kinda tap it to encourage flow. Acrylic inks work really well for this as well. Next, I'm using a white stuff below all pencil. And again, you want to vary the line how hard you press. And I'm following this by using the white china marker or grease pencil. This is the white New colored to crown that's water-soluble. And it works really well with a black card stock. This is a signal universal white ballpoint ink pen. However, the ink seems to clog the NID, so I'm going to move on to a different pen. This is a white Sharpie water-soluble paint marker. This is the white perma pack dual nip paint marker. Again as before, it has the bullet initial on one side and the chisel nib on the other. And you don't have to shake these before using them. So I'm trying to get a variety of line using different pressures. These are the mulatto paint markers. You do have to shake these ones up and push up and down on the brush tip to get the paint flowing into the NIT. As I mentioned before, you can refill these without high flow acrylic paint from Golden. The nibs here range between one millimeter, four millimeters, all the way up to 50 millimeters, which is the large one. These cover the black card stock really well. Nice opaque coverage. 4. Varying Line Styles: Now we're going to work on creating different types of line styles but using the same actual media. So here I'm putting black fluid acrylic paint onto a disposable paint College and next to it, using the black high flow acrylic paint to create some black lines are drips down the page. And again, I'm tapping it to encourage that drip to travel a little bit further. I'm assembling a set of different sized brushes with different nibs, shapes. Some are Flats, Summer Angular. And again, I'm trying to vary the pressure that I'm using with these brushes to create varieties of lines. So just having a bit of fun with being gestural, being expressive. You can push hard on the brush. You can twist the brush nib. Again, you're trying to see how you can get expression from your types of lines and get a feel for the medium and what each of the brushes are capable of. You can almost think of this as doing calligraphy painting. Again, having a sense of simplicity as you're adding the lines. And the more paint on the brush, the bolder, the strokes. But as the paint runs out, you get an interesting sort of feathery effect as well, which can be nice. Or you can go over it to intensify it. And you can play with the lines you create. Here. I'm just sort of feathering out some extra paint I had on the edge of the brush. And again, you get a sweeping paint runs out, which is a nice effect as well. 5. Interacting Lines: The goal of this exercise is to use a variety of different types of Black drawing materials and have the different types of lines interact with each other. Yellows called his dancing with lines. You want the lines to cross around in through each other. This helps to create a sense of depth and layers in your artwork. So you can see here that I'm using the thin little stub below all pencil and it's interacting around the wider black brushstrokes. You can also vary the pressure and that conveys different types of emotion. You often delicate line versus a harshly scribbled bold line conveys very different emotions as well. And I like to go back and forth between delicate lines, jagged lines, bold lines. And again, it forces me to sort of think how to use a different type of motion or expression in my lines. You can also switch hands. You can switch from using whichever hand your dominant with two, you're less dawn yet. And this also changes the character of the line. Anyway, you want to play around with doodling as well. You know, start with a line, start with the scribble, go back to align. All of this creates variety interest in your artwork. And I like having the contrast of more pigment versus less pigment as well. And jagged lines, geometric lines next to curvy, wispy lines. So there's a visual contrasts going on already. And all these lines are interacting with each other in and out of the page. But it's good to leave a little bit of whitespace as well to use for the rest on. 6. Conversations With Lines: Here I'm using gray card stock to give a middle ground to show off the contrast in black and white lines. Like before, you went to a variety of lines. But now you can also use the additional contrast of black versus white medium, which is another variable in the piece. And again, I'm trying to switch back and forth between the contrast of the black and the contrast of the light. But still, I want these lines to have a conversation with each other. And sometimes that happens, but these grease pencils that he pushed a little too hard. Again, I'm trying to have bold lines with speed lines black over white, light over black. You want the lines to talk to each other and to interrupt each other. You can use the background or the gray spaces or pauses in the conversation. It gives somewhere for the I addressed as well. So it's a fine balance between having too much going on in your artwork and having just enough. You can use the lines to emphasize other lines, like a thin black line echoing the wide white line. And again, you can mix up angular lines with curvy lines. All of this gives variety to your piece. And again, having the move in and out gives that sense of depth. Here's almost like an outline at all, just gives a three-dimensional effect to the piece there. And here it makes it look like the line is disappeared and wrapping around the water white line. Again, this gives a really nice sense of depth and a sense of layers in your piece. So play around with lines and make them dance, make them talk to each other, make them interact. The idea is to achieve a variety and experiment and see where do you feel like you need more? Do you feel it's enough? You can always push the limits and see how much do you really want to add before it gets too overdone? 7. Mixing a Gray Scale: So value defines how light or dark even color can be. Values are best understood when you visualize them as a scale or gradient. From light to dark. This is a grayscale and value. Find your card. And you can find these in art stores or online. And you can see above that I've created a gradient going from white all the way to black and various shades of gray in between. So that's what we're gonna do is part of this exercise is to create a value scale. So I have a series of plastic for ounce plastic dishes here with lids and a circle hole punch on leave. It's about two inches in diameter and it just so happens to fit the tops of these little plastic containers. And there's a link to them in a materials list as well. And I'm using white and black fluid acrylic paint. And the idea is to create different ratios in order to create the gradient. So varying the amount of white to black. So I can demonstrate how I mix them middle-range gray. And the paper here is to create your value swatches, which is what I used to sort of put on top and label the lips with. So these are the little plastic measuring cups you might be familiar with. From them, from cough syrup. They have different increments on them. Anywhere from tablespoons to ounces. Doesn't matter which you use long as you keep the ratios the same. And I'm using wooden popsicle sticks out in my stir sticks as well. Here I'm measuring out one amount of white. And I'm going to be measuring out the same amount for Black. So this is what I call a one-to-one ratio, or you can think of it as 50-50. So I'm doing it about a one ounce of white mounds, black, and this is to get the middle gray color. How does using the statistics to get old paint out? Again, you can use a brush to sort of get lost a little bit. It's painting at the bottom of the measuring cups. The key thing with keeping values and ranges together is to have a nice clean mixture as well. So you wanna make sure that your ratios are correct and that you've managed to get all the paint, how you're measuring costs fall due. You can see from the numbering on the jars there that I've used, one of the lightest are white and it goes all the way down to number eight, which is the solid black. So in-between, there is basically lessening amounts of white. So I start with the most white. You can think of it as a three to one ratio, then proceeding more and more with black added to it. And you can see once you get past the one-to-one ratio, it darkens up very quickly. And that's because black is a very strong color compared to white. Here I'm just painting swatches, which is going to create our gray scale or value scale. So this is the middle range here. So it's equal amounts of white and equal amounts of black. But you can see it creates a very, very dark gray, not quite almost mid-range. And it feels like it goes a bit more to the darker ended scale. So I'm just gonna show you now taking selections from the white and the gray is above, just creating series of value stripes here. So white being number one, the lightest, eight, being black the darkest. We call this a medium, rain, medium light, rage of great here. And I'll give the ratios in the materials list as well. It's a good exercise to play with ratios to see how quickly the color can shift in intensity and value. So you can see after you hit the 5050 range, it's hard to tell the difference in the greys. And I'm not sure if he caught my error there, but I actually painted two stripes off the number for intensity. But that's what you get when you're not quite paying attention. So I'm just aligning the color or value stripes here with their corresponding paint ratios. And you can see that I've got the grayscale and value finder card here, so I'm just showing how they line up. So in fact, you may want to actually play with your ratios to try to match the colors in value finder here. Because they shift to the dark very quickly, black is very dominant. 8. Limited Value Scale: So here I'm showing limited values, Gail, just with coloured card, stock markets, black, latest, it's white. And then there's a medium dark gray, light gray. And they can see that in comparison with the grayscale and value funder as well to really align. So next I'm selecting my corresponding value paint mixtures. Number eight, black, number five, median dark gray, number three, medium light gray, and number one light. So we're going to create high key and low-key paintings using the four value scale. A high key is a light painting. A low keys dark painting. You can think of it like music or the high key is hidden, the high notes like a soprano, and the loci is the best singer. Now if you think of your paintings as a pie chart, you want your lightest and darkness values to only make up about 20 to 25% to your painting. So I've got a fifth to a quarter of your whole painting space. Most of your paintings going to be a combination of light and dark middle values making up the majority of the paying 75 to 80% of the painting overall. The more tonal variants in a painting, the lower the contrast. So this is why we're using a limited value scale here so we can really play with thematic contrast forgetting. I'm trying to avoid over mixing to keep the values established between the lights in the dark here. And next time adding some darker greys, adding some more contrast, you can start seeing how the white areas really pop against the darker gray there. Whereas in the low key warmed and there's not a lot of difference between the dark and the median dark gray. But now that I've added the lighter gray, Now you start seeing some contrast appearing. Just darkening up the dark spit. Same with the whites, enhancing a little bit of a white areas. And I getting a little bit of mixture, the gray there still that. Now watch how your eye immediately jumps to that intersection of White next to black and immediately draws the eye. This meeting of light and dark values creates areas of high contrast. And these are often used together at a center of interest or focal point. Because that's immediately where your eye goes to in the painting. 9. Creating Interesting Shapes: So a shape is a flat area surrounded by an editor and outline. Geometric shapes are precise and regular, like the square, triangle and circle there all what we call static shapes. And we can't integrate them into their neighboring shapes. The rectangles on the more visually interesting because it has two different lengths of sides. Whereas this irregular shape is the most visually interesting because there's nothing in the same on any signs. So next I'm going to draw what looks like a puzzle piece. My drawing irregular shapes that intersect each other or interlock like puzzle pieces. And then the eyes find these takes the shapes very attention getting. And the I will move around the various shaped to see how they connect to each other. So these interlocking shapes pulled the paintings composition together. You can think of trying to him to have a variety of sizes and shapes. Pop of their momma bear and baby, their sizes and shapes. And a variety around the edge of the shape creates interest. So here I'm just coloring in the different shapes, didn't stand them a bit more from each other to show the more definition. So next I'm showing different ways of creating edges, which is an important way of helping to move the eye around the painting. So a hard edge is where you have a point of interest or where you want that area of the painting standard process for the two values come together in your painting. So hard edges retain their hard perimeter and simply thought up against their neighboring shapes. Hard-edged autopsy, I enforce it to rest in that area so it can't move into the adjacent shapes. Hard edges always come forward and soft edges receive. So soft edges allow the eye to move easily between the shapes, manipulate he's hard and soft edges allows you to control the viewer's eye movement through the painting. So you create a soft edge through blending. So here I'm using some glazing liquid to keep my paint wet longer. And essentially you want both colors on either side of the edge to be blended or wet if the dry edges will not lend. So you're moving your brush in the direction of the edge to blend the colors together. So soft edges should lead the eye to the hard edges which are near or at the center of interest. So see how you can manipulate space by making some edges sharp and some edges soft. 10. Analyzing Shapes: So now we're going to take a closer look at the shapes that we created in those high and low key value studies. So you can take a piece of tracing paper, place it over the painting, and use a pencil to trace the outlines of the shapes you can see. So this is going to be easy or hard to do depending on their edges and values. It might be hard to see an edge with the values are very similar. And you could consider this maybe a soft or what we call a lost edge. The areas of high contrast, dark against light, light against dark, make it much easier edge to trace for a shape. So hopefully you can see that you have a variety of different sizes and types of shapes. And these shapes you could consider or our organic shapes, because they don't have any hard edges. These are more of the shapes you find in nature. So you'll see here I'm just repeating the process. And obviously I can see that these lighter shapes really stand out against the dark, makes them easier to trace. Whereas again, any of the shapes that are similar value are harder to find the edges of. And this is all about leading your eye, leading the viewer's eye around your painting and drawing it to those centers of interest. You may want to use a black Sharpie them make your tracing stand out even more. 11. Preparing Your Substrate: So here for preparing our substrate to get ready for some intuitive painting and easing an 18 by 24 inch piece of Cancer mixed media paper. So I'm going to cover the back side of the paper with acrylic matte medium. And this helps to keep the paper from curling up and gives it a bit of durability in Easter, adding paint to the front, I flipped my matte medium into economist squirt bottle and make the application of it easier. And I'm using a silicon wedge to help spread out the matte medium. And this wedges made by catalysts that you could use a hotel key other flat edge to spread the medium. So I'm trying to keep a sin and even application and spread out the matte medium evenly all over the piece of paper. Any access, I'm just putting it onto my blotting craft paper genocide there. So once it's dry, you're going to flip it over. And next, what I'm doing is adding a solid background color. So you're gonna be doing one with white paint and one look black acrylic paint. So essentially you want to prep to these pieces of paper with not medium on the back. So I'm just squish putting out one white fluid acrylic here. And again, the same idea. You sort of stop at the top edge corner and work your way across. And I'm trying to keep my brush strokes mostly going in the same direction to keep a nice smooth application going on. You could use white gesso. However, I find that white just that wasn't truly white. It's more of an off light. And for this exercise, we really want to keep our lights light and our dark stark. Again, just keep the fresh strokes overlapping. And this way you avoid getting gaps the paper to go along the edges, finish up the bottom. And you can set aside that to dry. Same thing with the black matte medium on the other side. Application of lack fluid acrylic across the top, working my way down from the top to the bottom. Again trying to keep my brush strokes all going more or less in the same direction. I find it easier just to paint the edges and then work my way across the middle. Again, you couldn't use black just so for this step. But I'm going to be using clear just so in the next step. So I'll show you that. And this gives you a nice true block as well. Same thing, you are going to set it aside to dry, making sure all the edges mean covered, no gaps. So this is the liquid techs clear gesso. So this is just going over top of our dried blight page. Same processes before reusing the catalysts wedge to give that nice thin, thin application of the clear gesso. And clear just so it's just going to give a nice 2v to the papers that when we use our drawing materials, they'll have something to grab onto. Sometimes the acrylic paint can dry a little slick and pencil grounds can't grab onto it as easily. And same thing again, repeating that clear just so step here over the black background. So I'm skimming off all the excess and it's just being put onto my blotting paper. 12. Composition Structures: So I'm gonna draw a number of common composition structures used in abstract painting. I draw the arrangements both black and white and black. So you can think about viewing positive and negative space and also using a square and a rectangle so you can see how the shape of the substrate affects the composition. So this one's called the cruciform across. You can have the cross going from different sides of the paper. And you can see this as I rotate the paper, the different possibilities, again, for the rectangle, it can either be in a vertical format like a portrait or horizontal format, landscape mode. So the next is horizontal layers, which is also referred to as data like the geological layers and Eclipse side composition. Or you can have the layers run vertically and you can see by rotating them which directions that yeah. This is similar to the strata or layers, Except it's a diagonal. So this gives a feeling of movement to the piece. It helps to lead the eye away from the center and off to the edge. So next, this is called the triangle composition for good reason. And it can run different directions as well. It can be more isosceles triangle or an equilateral triangle. And again, you can rotate it to have some different sides. This next composition structure is called the meander or all over pattern. You can almost think of it as being wallpaper. No one pattern sticks out. An orientation for this doesn't much matter. This composition structure has a name called tension or cantilever. There's essentially a dominant object that's offset by more delicate off object in opposition to it. You can think of this as like a construction crane or a bridge. And again, you can see the play a positive and negative space here, depending which you think is the object and which you think is the space. This composition structure is often referred to as the steel yard or L-shaped composition. I can either look like the letter L or can be thought of as a set of chimneys, various heights. And again, the orientation can be from any side. They S-shape or zed shape. Composition is often seen in landscapes. You can see it in a laundering stream or footpath passing through the centre of the composition. This composition structure is called curves. And again, the eye is mostly seen curves within the composition, and they can go from any direction. This composition focuses on the center, either with a circle or closed composition or central cluster, like a sunshine. The orientation doesn't change. Next is the grid format or overlapping frames. You can also think of this lambda patchwork quilt. In some ways this is opposite to the curves, one we saw earlier. With geometric edges versus more organic shapes. This last composition is called the constellation, which looks very obvious when you think of the white grand spots on the black paper here. So I've drawn a series of a total of 12 composition structures. And you can refer to these in my class handouts called composition examples. And again, it self-loathing of positive and negative space between the lights and the darks. Which is the object and which is the space. And if you look at abstract paintings, you'll quite often see these compositional structures or motifs. 13. Intuitive Painting: So this is the beginning of our fun intuitive painting session. So I'm using my white painted black crown and using different drawing meeting on it. And also alternative, he's my four different values paint white, medium light gray, medium dark gray and black. So in this exercise you're aiming to have a good variety of values types of mines, and enjoy the conversation your materials are going to have on the page. So don't worry about the composition at this point. That's going to be the next stage in the process. This is your chance to try out different ways of applying the paint, making marks. And this is why it's called intuitive painting. Don't worry about thinking about how your pieces can look. Since in the exercise, next exercise we're going to be cutting up those large painting into small ones. So work back and forth between light and dark. Line and shape have hard edges, soft edges, low contrast, high contrast. Variety is key here. And if you want to speed up the painting drying process, you can also use a hairdryer on low heat to help drive the paint. So here I'm just working back and forth with my values. And I've had black on white of Hotline. And again, try to keep in mind also the amount of lights and darks. And remember that ratio that you want the most light and the most art to be about a quarter of the work. And then the other percentage, 7580% are the medium, grays and the lights and the dark medium grades. So here I'm just playing with line and mixing paint and working crayons into the wet paints, which gives an interesting effect as well. Next, I'm using sheets at Delhi paper, and you can almost use these as mano printing. So I'm going to add paint to the dry wax paper, and this is used as a food supply for wrapping baked goods are savages. And all I'm doing is I've added white paint and drawn with it with a skewer. And now I've transferred onto the painting. So you can see that as really nice texture and it captures those lines as well. And it's kinda hard to get that effect by just painting brush. So it's just another tool in your technique belt here. And now I'm adding some lines and spreading them out with the catalyst switch. And this gives a nice shear application, color mixing in between blacks and whites and grays, again. Working in with that stuff below white pencil. Looking at some more pure whites over top. And this gives almost a layering effect. Again, the idea is to have fun and just sort of go with the flow. If you feel that one of the area needs more attention than others, adds more paint, there. Yeah, don't worry if it looks like a bit of a chaotic mess at this point. It's gonna make sense then the next stage. And again, here's that Delhi printing with acrylic paint. The nice thing is you can use those Delhi papers as collage materials for other works. And again, adding those conversation with line. So swift, the neo color black, color white, where he more light greys into it. Now sometimes you're painting speaks to your needs more of something in one area or another. And you just go back and forth when lights and darks Looking for a variety of shapes and lines. And this adds real deaths. Having these layers here. Again, adding a bit more line, having interact with the shapes. And now I'm just covering a third of the blank areas, the Pedra that didn't have any paint on them. Just giving some dark accent points before it gets too light. Nearer the skewer drawing lines that way. Now the idea is to be expressive. These are gestural marks that you're making. Yeah, no mark is going to look like somebody else's mark. Now this makes it uniquely yours, your lines, your mark, making your shapes. Now this is a great chance to try out those suppliers that you haven't felt the courage to use yet. They've been sitting on the shelf and now's your chance to fire them up and have them. Bold lines, wispy lines, bold lines, expressive lines. And now we're doing the same thing. It's such, it's white over black that I'm starting with. And sometimes having the opposite color. Revalue can set a very different look. You know, at the end you may not know that you started on a black piece, but in the beginning it sets the tone quite interesting. It's almost like working over a chalkboard. Everything's in reverse. Yeah, it helps you think about positive and negative space again. So the painting speed has been actually doubled compared to the last one. So hopefully this one won't take quite as long to cover. And again, undoing the mono printing with the Delhi caper line, adding texture. Moving the paint around, drawing into it with the stability. The spills are nice because they can write rights, you're wet paint. And again, paying attention to values, watching that midrange. Trying to have a good variety of shapes looking at lines, looking how they interact. And you can just use your skewer and naturally drawn to the wet paint. For the paint markers, you may want to actually use the blow dryer Little bit to dry the paint places. Otherwise, it may be hard to write your wet paint. 14. Using Viewfinders: So in the class handouts, there are two templates to create windows or viewfinders. One for a square viewfinder thoughts, four by four inches and one rectangle viewfinder, that's three by four inches. Here I print out the template on regular white computer paper, and I'm using a steel ruler and exactly on a cutting mat. So just making sure that all the edges where I pop out the square and I find computer paper of it flimsy. So I'm actually going to use black card stock that you can see below to actually make my proper viewfinder risk. That's just obviously hard to feed black cars talk through a computer printer. So this way you have your templates and you can decide whether you want to transfer it or not. I like having a mixture of viewfinders. I find having both a square format and a rectangular that could be used either as portrait or landscape is handy. So here I've got my black card stock. And I'm just adding my viewfinder template. And I'm just using white pencil Grand here to mark the edges. Again using that exactly blade and you can see what I did there. I forgot to put my mat underneath. So again, just lining up all the corners, making sure the edges cut all the way through. And now you've got the rectangular viewfinder. Same thing for the square. Racing cars with white pencil CRAN. The nice thing about using black papers, a viewfinder is it blocks out the distraction of the painting underneath. And it works like a picture frame around a painting. Now this is your preference whether you prefer plain black or white, or you could use gray as well. You want something neutral that's not gonna compete with what you're looking at through the window. So we're gonna be using these to viewfinders with the intuitive paintings we created in the past session. So the idea here is that you're looking for paintings that appeal to you. And again, this is subjective. You can keep in mind the composition structures that we looked at earlier. Organ be intuitive, frame what speaks to you? And can you imagine this section has a bigger painting? So you're going to trace out the shapes onto your intuitive painting. And he may find either using white pencil, crayon, or a black marks. All tensile depends what the underneath color is to make it standard easier. And try to use most of the painting. However, any scraps leftover can be used as collage elements and future artworks. So you're just moving the shapes around the larger painting and looking for small compositions that appeal to you. So again, you want to have a nice mix of contrasts of variety. Looking for marks, looking for potential sources of interest. But again, this is what appeals to, you know, what I see may not appeal to you. And it all depends on what you're painting looks like as well. But this is all to serve as inspiration. So try to have lots of variety. Try use up most of your painting. And then we'll be cutting it out shortly. And once I finish tracing these last few here. And sometimes it helps to switch the orientation around maybe portrait and landscape. And I am using every little bit, but you can. So here I'm just using sharp pair of paper scissors to cut out these smaller paintings. You could use your exact of late here, but I find just using scissors is easier. So yeah, the idea is to have a nice collection of painted squares and rectangles for this next exercise. So does work your way around the painting. Trimming as you go. And any bits leftover can be used for collage materials. Say, and do this for both the two intuitive paintings that you created. And it doesn't matter if you have an equal number of squares or rectangles. You know, you may find one appeals more to more squares, May 1 feel more rectangles. The idea is you just want a nice variety though, to look through. Yeah, you're creating essentially a mini gallery of black and white abstract paintings here. So next I suggest you actually number the back sides of these paintings because you're going to need to refer to these eventually in the future. You're creating a toolbox for inspiration here. So it's nice to have a reference number to go back to realizing which painting or which values don't you used? So again here I'm just lining up my little Gallery value Studies. So I have some that are quite high key, which are the lighter ones, and some loci which are the darker ones. All depending where I took them out of the larger painting. And again, you can change the orientation. See what appeals more to you. 15. Centres of Interest: So we'll be looking at creating centers of interest in our small value studies, we'll be creating grid overlays using clear sheet protectors. So taking a one sheet protector, you're going to open it up and cut it apart so you have single plastic sheet. There are two grid templates in the class handouts. One for a four by four inch square march into thirds and 13 by four inch rectangle also make markets into thirds. So you can trace the grid onto the plastic sheet, the black Sharpie and a ruler. You can fit two grids onto one plastic sheet. So the grid templates are to help you to visualize centers of interest in your painting. These are also called focal points or areas, or areas of dominance, center of dominance, areas of interest or sweet spots. The location of the center of interest is generally determined by a century's old compositional structure, commonly known as the golden section or rule of thirds. This compositional guide divides the painting into equal thirds, both vertically and horizontally. The intersection of these lines is the rightful placement of the centers of interest. And this is simply a rule of thumb and can be manipulated. That's used as a reminder not to place the center of inches too close to the center or the edges of the painting. So we're gonna cut out the grids and overlay them over the small value studies. We're going to use black and white drawing materials to enhance or add contrast to our sweet spots. We're going to use this concept of rule of thirds and the center of interests, which helps to keep the eye moving around your painting. So some tips and tricks to help focus the viewer's eye. You can use hard edges to assist in stock and the viewers. I use high value contrast, the lightest light and the darkest dark next to each other. You can use the highest intensity color in these areas, or the smallest shapes and the most detail. The center of interest doesn't just happen. It must be developed and structured by the artist as the main part of the composition. So using these grids is overlays are a helpful tool and we can enhance those areas of intersection. So I'm darkening of the darks and brightening up the brights and double-checking where those lines intersect to see that I've actually created an area of interests there. It doesn't necessarily need to be on all four points either. If there's already an arrogant darkness, you may want to leave it as is. Again, this is subjective, but whatever draws your eye and moves it around as what you're going for. 16. Support and Substrate: So in this section, we're gonna create some small supports for our substrates and preparation for making color studies. I'm using gator board. This is like a plastic corrugated cardboard and you can find us at building supplies, doors like Home Depot. The supports are gonna be a little larger than our substrate, which is going to be mixed media paper coated with Matt medium on the back and clear gestural on that front. I'm creating five-by-five inch squares and four by five inch rectangles or the black Sharpie, which is gonna give me that a quarter inch border to take down the four by 43 by four inch papers. The nice thing about using gator board is it's very strong and lightweight. And also because it's plastic, you can get it wet and it will not buckle. So I'm using a box cutter and a steel knife on a cutting mat to cut into the Gator board into pieces. And save the scraps because you can use them to make printing plates later on class. So I'm just gonna take a little bit of rubbing alcohol, also called isopropyl alcohol. And that's just going to remove that lock sharpie from the edges because we're gonna be adding water to paper on these substrates and supports. I just don't want to have any cross-contamination going on in the Sharpie. So this is a large page of 18 by 24 and mixed media paper. It's being prepared just as before, except it has matte medium on the back. And instead of having white Pete and clear gesso, It just has clear Jess o on top. And because we're gonna be adding color to these. So again, now I'm making it four by four squares and three by four rectangles. And these are going to be used to create color studies based on the value studies that we just made, our little mini black and white abstracts. Again, you can use scissors or an executive late as I'm showing here, to cut these squares and rectangles out. I have the shiny side facing up. So that way no pencil marks are going to end up on the front of my painted piece. So this is the matte medium reverse side you're seeing right now. It's got a nice little collection of these because we're making a few of them. Here. I'm using painter's tape or decorators tape. It's a low stick or low adhesive. And essentially what I'm doing is I'm just taking down the corners and then I'll be creating my quarter inch border and wrapping that tape around the edges of the Gator board. And this creates a nice crisp white border. The paint will not be able to travel underneath or minimize it. Plus it keeps our paper from buckling as we're adding water to it. The tape is also called Frog tape by some brands as well to anyone to use your finger just to secure the tape along all the edges. Just to make sure it's sealed properly. So I'll just smooth down the edges and you're good to go. 17. Creating a Colour Palette: So here I'm going to demonstrate how I create a color palette using a photograph, Microsoft Office PowerPoint. You can use Adobe Photoshop or another paint program on your computer to do this. I find her with my work. I always have access to PowerPoint. So that's what I'm most comfortable with using. I've inserted my image photo flowers onto my background size for lettered paper, 8.5 by 11 inches, I have reduced the size of my image and now I'm gonna duplicate it below. Next, I removed the color for my second image. This is called desaturation, making it a black and white image. Now I'm just creating a simple rectangle shape. And I'm going to change the fill for that shape. You can see little eyedropper icon. And this allows me to pick the color of my choice to fill in that rectangle. So what I'm doing here is looking at the black and white image below to look for. And again, the lightest lights, darkest darks, and those mid-range values. And then trying to pick the corresponding Cutler above. So I've nucleated, navigating the dark is dark. And there you go. Copy that rectangle. Same thing again. Pick the eyedropper. And now I'm going to start filling in those made ranges amid light greys. And I also want to keep an interesting color variety above two. So now I'm gonna look for a darker gray, aiming for about six colors here. So I really liked, I really dark, do sort of medium light and to medium dark. And that'll give me a nice variety of colors to work with and values. And sometimes it's nice to have some neutral colors as well to the eyes and larger rest. So here is my six colors. I'm going to group them together. And I'm just gonna make sure they're aligned well uncentered. Now they've been grouped. I'm actually going to save that group as an image. So I'm saving it as a jpeg file. And now I'm going to insert that pitcher and do the same thing. I'm gonna duplicate it. And I'm going to D saturated. So removing the color and turning it into the grayscale. Now I'm just trying to line my coloured image was my black and white image and shrink it down a little bit. Now I'm just grouping those together to make them a single image. And I have another file that I've essentially created as a grid. Again on letter size paper with eight cards. And it's just the most I could fit on one sheet and still be similar to a playing card size. So I've now copy that template into my palate template. And here is my colored palette with its grayscale counterpart. And all I'm doing is reducing it to fit in the borders of that card. So when I go to print these and cut them out, have a nice size of color palette card. Now, if you don't want to make them all yourself, Pinterest is an excellent resource. This is my board called palettes, and I'll keep a link in the materials handout. So I've clicked on the pallets. It's called a door. He used by design Z. Copied it onto my card template. I find design seeds has really nice pallets. So I'm going to reduce it in size. I'm going to crop out the door picture. Also decide the crop of that logo. So now I just have the color palette part of the image. I duplicated it. Again. I'm going to remove the color and desaturate it to black and white grace, much as we did before. Copying them and transfer them into the card template. So does adjusting them to fit. I'm just adjusting the size manually there. So there are actually equivalent to each other. Easier to align them that way. And now I'm just enhancing the size of the color psi of the image. I'm just making it a little bit bigger. And then grouping them back together just single image. So those are two ways that you can make eye color palette card. Again, going back to Pinterest, you can scroll through and find all kinds of pallets already created. Or you can use your own photographs and go through the process that I showed. The idea is to try to pick a palette that has a variety of values, lights, darks and meat value. You can see Completed page of color palette cards and you can find this in your class handouts called palette samples. 18. Using Palette Cards: You have printed out the palette samples from the class handouts onto a white card stock. You can use an exemption. I fit a ruler and cut out each of the individual palette Kurds and trim off the excess white paper. You can also just use white computer paper for this, but I like having the card stock for more durability. We're going to be using these in combination and with your value studies to create color studies. So again, just turn off all the white. Not to leave you with the color palette. And it's corresponding the saturated side or the Greys, the blacks and whites. Again, you want to number these because these are going to be great reference tools as we carried our color studies. And you'll wanna know which palette you used to create which study. As you can see, I've got quite a deck of them here. So you remember back to our grayscale and value Finder. So now you have a built in grayscale and it corresponds with its color. So I had lights and the darks and mid-range. And you can also get inspiration from the color wheel and look for interesting color combinations that way as well. So in this exercise, I'm pairing a color pellet card with one of my value steady paintings. I have my tape substrates on that Gator board ready to go as well. So now what I'm doing is adding a piece of masking tape to the back of these substrates on the Gator board. And I'm writing down a pallet never occurred and the value study number. So this will help you to have is a reference pair in the future. 19. Painting Colour Studies: So I have my tape substrates, my color palette cards and my values studies all assembled. Here. I'm using a set of colored wash paints. You could use watercolor, but watercolor can get reactivated, muddied if you try to add, it makes me optimal, fit the gloss dries flat and it's more resistant to be rewarded. So I prefer using it for the base of my color studies. But I started my color studies. I started the lightest lights and Derek busters trying to match the colors in the palette card. Then I can choose the mid values to fill in the rest. Tried to pick some different mid-value colors to give your colors study a variety of values and colors. And these colors studies are meant to be quick. Try not to spend more than two to three minutes per study. Let's gloss drive before moving onto the next step. And I find the trickiest thing is trying to mix colors that match the color palette card. You don't need to be a slave necessarily to matching the colors. But I find it's a good exercise to try to approximate at least the colors I see on the cart. Again, they don't have to be perfect. So these are meant to be Studies to inspire you when you think about making larger abstract paintings. So again, darkest darks. I find it sort of works as landmarks to figure out where I'm trying to go with matching it. 20. Mixed-Media Enhancement: So here I'm showing some different types of mixed media that you can use on top of your washed painted papers. First or set of chalk pastels. After you're done with the pastels, you need a straight at fixative over chop them to protect them from rubbing off. I like spectra fix, which is a non aerosol. Next is a set of neo color to water-soluble crowns by Karen dash. And then a set of PRISMA color, colored pencil grams. And these would also need to be sprayed with effects native to set them. The first color study that I'm working on is going to be using the new color grounds. So again, I'm trying to match the colors and enhance them better on the palate card. Keep in mind the centers of interest as well. So you may want to enhance certain colors next to each other. Here I'm just What did a brush and I'm enhancing them with a little bit of water and dry it off of it. And then adding, going back and adding workaround. So here I am checking with the grid and we're like, oh, we'll add a little bit more crown their department. And you can blend and smooth it. So here I'm removing the tape gently around the edges. So here you can see the value study, the color palette card, and the completed color study. And here I am adding the label with the references. So if I want to go back to the original values study and pallet card, I can. So next color study I'm doing with Meeks media enhancement. And it's using the chalk pastels. And you can use your fingers to run these in as well. So again, I'm trying to complement the colors that I have there from the guage paint underneath. And still referring to my palette card. Seeing at a mixture of fine lines or more soft did London edges with the chalk pastels. They are a bit messy to work with, but lots of fun as well. And again, you can refer back to your value study to see where you've made marks. And going back and forth, it's a bit of an iterative process. Satish cleaning out my fingers before I take off the tape. And normally I would spray this with fixative before removing the tape. But for the sake of this class, without it easier just to take the tape off and show you what it looked like. So next time you using those PRISMA colored pencil crayons, you can add much finer details with the pencil Kranz, but they are more effort to cover a larger sectional of color. And again, once you are finished, you wouldn't need to spray it with the fixative. And you can also use all of these mixed media together. You can have combination of neo colored crayons, pencil crayons, and chalk pastels. They all play well together over the gloss paint. And again, I just refer back to my original values study to see how the marks are. Prisoner color also gives lending markers that help to smooth. It adds almost like a pastel quality to these. You may want to clean off your lending needed as well to. So here I am removing the tape, taking off that label. And now my study is complete. So for this last color study, I'm using Pentaho oil pastels. Now the trick with oil pastels is that they cannot have water medium over top of them. It'll just beat up. So oil pastels need to be the last step in your mixed media artwork. They also should have a fixative straight over top, but they are far more durable than chalk pastels. They're nice and creamy to work with, almost like working with lipsticks. And you can use your finger just much them a little bit too. Again, you can work back and forth and add more details smarter than them out on more lines, enhance areas that you think need to pop a bit more. And again, normally I'd spray with fixed it before moving tape, moving the label. And there you had the completed set. So now you have a complete gallery of color studies to work with. This thing about these values studies on color palette cards is that you can mix and match them to create entirely new color studies are just use one color palette and create a painting series in the same color palette. Possibilities are endless. 21. Conclusion: Thank you for taking my class obstraction, one-to-one design elements. We covered a lot of exercises and a shorter amount of time to explore these Art Building Blocks of line, value, shape, space, and color. We developed a unique set of values studies and color palettes that will hopefully inspire you to create an infinite number of abstract paintings. My next abstraction classes will be focused on adding new techniques to our painting toolbox. Stay tuned for upcoming classes focusing on color and the principles of design. We'll take these small colored studies we made and start to create some larger abstract paintings with them. However, use your skills and techniques. I'd love to see what you do. So please upload to the project section or connect with me on Instagram at Lexi reads studio. And if you've enjoyed this class, please don't forget to leave a positive review. And I hope you'll learn again with me soon. Thank you, and have a great day.