Acrylic Painting - How to Paint Loose Abstract Flowers with Acrylic Paint on Canvas | Elle Byers | Skillshare

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Acrylic Painting - How to Paint Loose Abstract Flowers with Acrylic Paint on Canvas

teacher avatar Elle Byers, Artist and Teacher

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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 (46m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Sketch and block

    • 3. Negative Space

    • 4. Begin Layering

    • 5. Continue Layering

    • 6. Final Details

    • 7. Final Wrap Up 2

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About This Class

How to Paint Loose Abstract Flowers with Acrylic Paint on Canvas for Beginners!

This class is for beginner level artists.  I start off the class by showing you our model painting.  I show you all of the supplies you need for the class (also listed below).  Then I walk you through my painting process step by step.  I show you how I start my flower paintings by creating a simple sketch on my canvas.  Next, how I block in my paint colors, and how I build my layers to finish off my painting.  I also teach you the techniques I use to create loose abstract flowers.

Here are my best tips for painting loose abstract flowers:
1.  Paint with your non-dominant hand!
2.  Use a larger brush but shorter paint strokes.
3.  Don't even try to stay within the lines!

Paint Colors and Supplies:
8x10 canvas
Palette Paper
Paper towels
Paint Brushes
Pastels (optional)

Paint Colors:
Quinacridone Magenta
Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue
Turquoise Blue
Prussian Blue
Deep Permanent Green
Light Olive Green
Portrait Pink
Titanium White
Primary Red
Deep Violet

You can find all of my Skillshare classes here: 

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Meet Your Teacher

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Elle Byers

Artist and Teacher


Hello, I'm Elle Byers. I'm an artist and a teacher.  My favorite medium is acrylic paint and my favorite subject is flowers!  Check out all of my Skillshare classes at the bottom of this page. 

If you want to see what I'm up to on a daily basis, you can follow me on Instagram.  My available paintings can be purchased on my website, 

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1. Intro: Hey, artist friends. My name is L, and I'm an artist and a teacher. Welcome to my skill share class in today's class, I'm going to show you how I painted this loose abstract floral. All of the supplies amusing for today's class are listed below the video. In the about tab, I'm using an eight by 10 inch canvas and acrylic paints. You'll also need some water, paintbrushes and paper towels and also a palette. This class is all about painting loose. My best three tips for painting loose are one paint with your non dominant hand to use a larger brush and shorter brushstrokes. And three don't try to stay within the lines. Are you ready? Grab your supplies and let's get started. 2. Sketch and block: I'm going to make a quick sketch on my canvas using a pastel just so that you can see what I'm visualizing for my composition. I'm not going to use this exactly like I've done in my other paintings. I'm gonna be intentionally looser and messier with this one. So I'm gonna paint over the lines pretty quickly that I just want to give you an idea of what's inside my mind for this painting. So something along the lines of this with, um, a bunch of flowers some more defined than others in this area. I'm gonna try to have them jumbled together a little bit more and then maybe a bigger one over here, So I'm gonna start off. Um, just kind of filling this in very loosely. Like I said, going over the lines. I'm gonna pick a couple of different colors that I want to use for my leaves. Ah, some greens and blues. We'll keep it simple. All of the paint colors that I'm using today I'm going to list in the about section below the video. So get some green, some all of green, some turquoise and some yellow. So one tip or two tips I have for painting loose are to use, um, maybe a wider brush and paint quickly. And also to use your non dominant hand. I'm a righty. Um, and when I paint with my right hand, obviously I could be more exact with my left hand. Things don't come out exactly the way that I was visualising, but that's perfect for when you're trying to paint a little bit more abstract or loose. So I'm gonna start off this painting with my left hand, But I'm just gonna paint over the areas where I want my leaves to be. I'm using a number 12 flat brush, the too much pain right there. And I could not paint a straight line with my left hand if I wanted Teoh. But that's OK, because that's what I'm going for right now. This is my olive green. I'm gonna pick up a little yellow just a little in a minute. Adan s'more blue and green can change the color of your green. They're all of green by adding on a little turquoise or darker green. So I get some variation and I'll dark in this up a little bit more and, um my Turk ways. I'm gonna add in a little bit of white anywhere you think you are going to have a leave, fill that in with one of your greens or yellows or blues, - pick up a little more dark green, and then I'm gonna move on Teoh my flowers and I'm gonna do you gonna get a new brush and I'm gonna do the exact same thing with my area for my flowers . I'm just going to cover the canvas with, um, some pinks. Magenta says on oranges are like this magenta. It's really versatile. You could make a lot of colors with magenta. You add in a little bit of yellow and you'll get red out in a lot of yellow and you'll get some orange. And then if you play around with adding and white, you can get lots of different shades. So I'm gonna just stick to that for right now. I'm gonna take another flat brush with my non dominant hand again. You could wait till your yellow and green dries if you want to your blue and green and all that, but it's just the first layer. So I'm not really too worried about that right now and I'm not trying to make circles. I'm just trying to fill this in with a little bit of variation. I want to put it on a little bit then so that it dries quickly and I can start adding my second layer. It's all right that I got a little green and there can cover that up later. Just cover the white. We want some of these flowers to blend together, so it's okay that you can't see where one starts and one begins, and once it's pretty much covered, you don't want to get, you know, want to do that too much, if you can avoid it mixing the green and the uhm pink. That's why sometimes it's good to let it dry between layers. Once you have the canvas mostly covered, we're gonna let this dry for a couple of minutes and then we're gonna add we're going to start to have this teak sheep 3. Negative Space: with a really thin paintbrush. I'm gonna just mark where my vases and where my leaves are so that I know where to fill in my negative space. Um, do this in a color that you want to show up on your leaves and I usually do it with a really wet brush so that, um, the paint slide swell across the campus. I'm in a mix a light blue just with what's already here to make it really wept I'm gonna do it with my non dominant hand again. So it is going to be pretty messy. So one of my leaves right there another one right there. Think my weise will be about here and maybe it'll end right here and I did that pretty light, but you'll see it a little bit more once I, um, start filling in the darker areas. I'm gonna take my darkest color Prussian blue, Maybe mix it with a little of that green. And that's what I'm gonna use for my background color, my negative space color, a nice green blue and you'll be able to see this start to take shape. We're not looking for perfection. Remember, still using my non dominant hand, so it's a little bit messy. You can go in and touch this up later. It's probably gonna need a second coat. - So now you see the basic shape of your leaves and will make them a little bit more defined later on. But I'm gonna move to starting to add some details to my flowers. You could always out a shadow or two in between some of your flowers if you wanted to ensure a little bit of definition. But you don't need to do that if you don't want Teoh up to you. Okay, let's move on to flowers. 4. Begin Layering: I'm going to get I'm gonna put this piece of palate paper aside and use it later. I know if I start mixing my flower colors on there, I'm going to get it all mixed up in the blue and green. And I don't want that. So I'm gonna get a good amount of magenta good dollop of yellow, some white amuse, some deep violet. Like I said earlier, these colors will be listed in the about tab below the video. I like this primary red, even though I can mix a red with my magenta and yellow. I like that. Read a lot. And I like this kink, this portrait pink. So I'm going to use that that there. I'm going back to my flat number 12 brush. I'm gonna make sure it's clean because I used this for green earlier. When I'm painting flowers that I want to be loose and more abstract, I try to use a bigger brush and I try not to make full circles. I don't want to complete the flower. I just want to make some short marks with the big end of my brush. And then when I'm making details, I'm either going to get a smaller brush or I'm going to use the in the side of the brush. So I'm going to start off with Magenta and I want to have just a couple of orange and yellow flowers, and most of it will be pink and white with a little bit of purple. I like how this looks here, So I'm gonna try to leave some of that. I don't want to cover it all. I just want a kind of a little start to form a flower, but not fully. Let me believe that just so that I don't overdo it already got some blue on there. But that's all right. We'll cover that up when I'm painting with my non dominant hand, I contend to put too much paint on the brush, so that might be something you wanna look out for. It's not a bad thing. It's just whatever look you're going for or how quickly you want it to dry. You can see how I'm getting some blue in there because I didn't let my dark blue dry enough , but once that's dry. If you want to correct that, that's easy enough to correct this middle here. I want to be kind of just messy, not really knowing where one flower ends and another one begins. So just make some Mark's going in different directions, and then maybe I'll have this move into more of a red color. So a flower here, here, here and then some messy stuff in the middle. I want to bring this one down more closer to the leaves. I'm gonna put some white down there to cover up this blue, and then I'll paint some pink or orange or something over up. But you can see that I'm just making shorter marks. I'm gonna make a circle or part of a circle on some of the flowers, but not on all of them. Paint white over that and I'll be ableto correct that blue area that I didn't want and even the ones that you're making circles. Try not to make them perfectly circular to give it that more loose, abstract feel. I like how the magenta is more magenta up here, and then it fades into more red at the bottom. Minha clean my brush because I picked up some green that I didn't want and I think I want this flower to be more orange and yellow and the same over here. So I'm in a first pick up some yellow Cielo is really translucent, so sometimes you need to mix it with something. If you want it to be more opaque, these two were gonna overlap a little. So another tip is to have things overlap. If you want an abstract look, it shouldn't be clear where one thing begins in another one ends have been a mix, a little bit of orange. You put a little pink in there, just a bit contrasts a little from the read and magenta Pick up a little pink. It's fine. I'm using the same dirty brush. So it's gonna give it because I already had orange. It's gonna give it, um, a little bit of a PCI tone. I kind of want to make this two separate flowers, but blended together been add in a little bit more yellow to make the peach, and I'm definitely struggling here with my non dominant hand. I don't know if you are to let me know, but I like the way the painting is coming out, so I'm gonna continue this way, Even though it's a bit of a struggle. Try to make a few marks going in different directions. Not everything. Circular. That's why I did that right there. And I'm gonna take some white and maybe do the seam up here. I'm gonna wipe off my brush and add a little bit more magenta to the top and a little bit more red down here. I'm gonna try to leave that the way that it is. Hopefully, I won't accidentally paint on it, and then I'll start to blend my magenta and my red down here. Wait my brush. Grab some red. - They don't want to overdo anything. So I'm just taking some pauses to see what I like and what I need to work on a little bit. I think I'm gonna add a tiny bit of orange up onto that flower. Have to be careful, though, cause I picked up some blue accidentally on my brush. You know, mix a little bit of orange down here, little bit more. Here we go. There some nice variation. That's where I picked up the blue by accident. Okay. How about a little white with some light yellow for some highlights. I think I need to let this dry for a couple of minutes and then take a look at the areas I need to correct, like, thes areas here where I picked up Blue and I didn't want to seem right here and then a little bit over there. So I'm going to give this painting about 5 to 10 minutes to dry before I add any more. 5. Continue Layering: So I think I'm happy with most of my flowers, but I definitely want to add in a little bit of my violet that I haven't used yet. And I want to fix some of this orange and then fix whatever is going on on this side before I go back to finishing up my leaves here. So it clean my brushes and I, um, have a clean paper towel. I'm going to add a little bit of violet to the areas. May be in here just to change things up a little. And maybe this one down here could use some violet, no mix and maybe a little pink without a be nice. - It just changes that area up a little. Breaks up the, um, magenta, maybe put a little right there, mixing some magenta with it. I think that's that's good. That's enough for me. Darken it up a little, and then I'll be done with that color there. And now I'm gonna go and fix this orange. Definitely need some more yellow on my palette. I'm gonna mix it with my primary red and see what I get. Normally I mix my yellow with my magenta. I'm going to try this out. Yeah, I like that. So Primary red, Kate. Me, um, yellow. It's a nice orange color. And I'm gonna put this on kind of thick. I wanted to stand. Are There we go. I'm gonna put just a couple of pups a yellow on there. Oh, maybe a little white in here for some highlights. I'm liking that flower much better now, and I'm gonna try to do the same over here. Get rid of that way. Just short strokes of orange. Don't want to do too much. Mix in a little bit more red for some variation paying. I'm intentionally making that. Not round as much as I can be. A tent intentional with my non dominant hand. And I think I'm just gonna add a few highlights now and I'm gonna be done with my flowers. I think I need a little bit more red over here. Here we go. Maybe add a little on there just for some variation, huh? Some white highlights. A little bit of white goes a long way. I can just add some little marks of it. Could also highlight a little bit with that portrait pink and If you don't like it, just go over it. I did not mean to do that. Uh huh. Okay. No, I'm just gonna clean up my my leaves a little bit, fix up my negative space, and then I'm going to stop because I feel like I'm starting to overdo the flowers. So I'm going to stop here and grab my palate with my greens and blues. 6. Final Details: came When you go back to my leaves now, I'm not gonna add to many more details to them, but I do want to outline them a little. And I wanna clean up my negative space with that darker blue. So I'm gonna go back to using a small brush. This was my palate from earlier that I moved off to the side. Um, it's still a little wet, so I'm just gonna add some water here. You make it a little bit greener, and I'm gonna make some quick lines around my flowers Still using my non dominant hand so they might be a little bit messy, but that's OK. Just to give a little bit more definition and you can use you don't have to use all the same color. You can switch it up, so use my olive green. Also, you can make some lines inside your base to represent stems if you want. That was a mistake, so I can go back and fix that later if I want. If it bothers me, I want to try to make this leave look a little bit different than the color is in the vase . So I'm gonna pick up, um, some darker green. I'm just make some lines so that it looks like it has a bit of a pattern, and it stands. I would a little bit more. And just to represent maybe a little water, I'm gonna add some strong hand, some light blue pick up some white, maybe mix of. Mark's going in different directions there. And now I'm gonna clean up my negative space in at any final details. I'm gonna grab a little bit more blue. Just I'm almost out of that a minute. Take a clean brush. Kind of a roundish brush. And for this part, I am going to use my dominant hand just so that I can give these leaves a little bit of definition. And also because I don't want to get blue all over my flowers. If you wanted to even go back over your leaves with, um, somewhere green or blue. You definitely could do that anywhere. You think you need to add some color or some lines going in different directions. The sleep was bothering me, so I just wanted to outline it again with a different color. I just want this one toe stand out from the rest of the vase. That's why I'm making it go in a different direction. The pinko in a different direction Come in Just a tiny bit of pure white for my face. Gonna get a clean brush for the pure white. I never add some details with that. Could add a few to your leaves too if you want there. And I'm calling this painting finished. 7. Final Wrap Up 2: just to recap. My best tips for painting loose would be to try painting with your non dominant hand and definitely don't worry about staying within the lines. I also like to use a larger brush on shorter strokes so that I'm not completing the whole flower in a circle. I'm doing it in tiny, tiny bursts that sort of overlap each other. If you enjoyed this video, please check out my other skill share videos. You can also click the follow button above the video. If you would like to be notified every time I add a new class in the about tab below the video, I will have a list of all the supplies that I used. And if you create a painting after watching this class, you can click the projects tab below the video and upload a photo of what you created. Thanks for following along with me today.