Abstract Painting: Finding a Composition by Using Athletes in Action as Starting Point. | Bri Hill | Skillshare

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Abstract Painting: Finding a Composition by Using Athletes in Action as Starting Point.

teacher avatar Bri Hill, Hey! I am a commercial and fine artist.

Watch this class and thousands more

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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

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Breaking image into shapes


    • 3.

      Choosing a color palette


    • 4.

      Under-painting Again


    • 5.

      Top Layer of Paint


    • 6.

      Adding Flair


    • 7.

      How to get un-stuck


    • 8.

      Viewing as a collection


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About This Class

In this class, you will learn how to create abstract compositions using photos of athletes as a starting point. This class is intended for all levels from the newbie who just got their first paints to the professional who is looking to break out from realistic renderings. The skills taught in the class can be used to create fine art or pieces to add to your licensing portfolio. 

Materials needed for this class: acrylic paint, gouache paint (optional) art paper or board, paintbrush, source images of athletes tracing paper, something to write with. 

Meet Your Teacher

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Bri Hill

Hey! I am a commercial and fine artist.

Level: All Levels

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1. Introduction : Hey, you're in the right place because today we are working on abstract composition based on images of athletes are referenced. My name is Bree and I'm a professional artist and teacher based in a tiny town in Colorado. I create a lot of different styles of r and I have both a Fine Art and a commercial art practice. I've been an artist all of my life and I currently specialize in creating original pieces for my gallery walls. I mostly work with mixed media, including Vintage Book pages, acrylic, wash, metal, 0V, and pastels. In addition to commercial work, most of my clients are private collectors from all over the world. Abstract art is my favorite thing to create, but I remember how daunting it was at first. I didn't know where to start. We are going to use a photograph of an athlete in action as our concrete starting place. What better way to add movement to your piece? That is, start with someone moving. Throughout this course, I'm going to be showing you how to pick a photo, break it into manageable pieces, use acrylic paint and even strategies to help you out if you get stuck during a project. This class would be great for licensing artists. Artists looking to break out of their representational practice, or absolutely anyone looking to get past the blank canvas. This is a workshop style course. So you'll be creating your own painting right alongside me as I guide you on how to create an abstract painting step-by-step, using your source photo of an athlete as your concrete starting point. When we are finished, you will have your own abstract painting to hang on your wall or add to your portfolio. So let's get ready. We're gonna be going from this to this policy. Wow, I will show you, I will show you how. 2. Breaking image into shapes: Shows everyone back as athlete for my inspiration because I love what she has done for women's soccer and women in general. So now that we've picked our source image, you're going to need to print that source image off. And you're also going to need two pieces of tracing paper. And I'm using charcoal, but you could use pencil or marker or whatever you're comfortable with. I'm also using a light box, but don't feel like you need to have one to do this project. He's a window, but also you're going to be able to see through these better than I'm able to show on the video. So don't worry about that. Okay. So the reason why I chose this is because I like the silhouette and how it is not superhuman form. So the first thing I'm going to do is do an overall outline with a really loose sketch. The idea of this project is to use images of athletes as a starting point and not for us to create a portrait of a human. The feet could really give away that this is a human. Right now. I'm just going to leave the off and here is the ball. Okay, so that's pretty basic, but I wanted to be even more abstracted. And I decided that I am going to add some form of foot, but it's just not going to be in that shape. So I'm going to go ahead and outline them. But I'm going to make that more abstracted. So now what I'm looking for is really a, how I can identify these things as shapes. So even if you look at my source image, her hair is kinda of a square already, so I'm going to make that into more of a square or maybe whatever shape that so. And then this is also going to be a square. This is going to be a triangle, rectangle, rectangle, rectangle. And I'm going to exaggerate the size of her foot to a large oval. And this one I think I'm gonna make into kind of a base. Then with a circle with a ball, I'm going to exaggerate that size to about double it. So this is going to be right composition for my abstract. Do you see how simple it was to break that down? What's so great about athletes becoming your source photos is they already have movement in them. And so you're just trying to take that movement and add it to your piece. The other thing that I really like to do with this is to turn it sideways or upside down and see if you like those, that composition more. Alright, so let's put it onto the canvas and start painting. 3. Choosing a color palette : So with this, I'm going to choose a color palette that's really limited. I'm basing my color palette on these other two abstracts that I did for other skill share classes. And what I need for to conclude this collection is something that has more negative space where your eye can rest. So if a if one of my clients wanted to hit all three of these together, they could. And it's not going to be to stimulating for your idle. So I'm first going to start off by painting the whole background. One solid color. So I think I'm going to pick one of these warm, neutral colors, like this. Peach, peachy, beige. Now we're going to wait for that background to dry. And then we're going to do another under painting. You know, I love under painting. Just to do the silhouette of our subject. So that'll be the next video. 4. Under-painting Again: Okay, so now that this is finally DRY, we're going to do a second coat of under painting. And we're going to focus on the silhouettes of where this is. And we're going to kind of shrink it down and I'll show you why. If we put it this way, we're going to cut off part of our composition, which usually I don't mind. But in this case, I really want to be able to have some negative space, especially if this piece is going to be hung as a collection or if I'm going to be promoting it as a collection. So I want to shrink it down not a ton. And I'm not doing this exact, so don't worry. But I want to make sure that I'm giving negative space. So this part, I want to make sure I'm not touching the colors that I'm going to use for this part are going to be this crazy pink and this crazy orange, because these are just going to be peaks of the color. And then we'll have more neutrals on the top. So these are going to be hidden mostly, but I like a little bit of them peeking out from behind. So first I'm going to do the orange. And I'm using the same reference. When I'm doing a circle. This is obviously not a perfect circle, but I kinda like that. And now Pink. And again, this is just that general self-aware of this. So don't worry about making it exact k. So this is the second layer and wonder painting. 5. Top Layer of Paint: Alright, so now that this is dry, I'm going to use these shapes to help me go over this color. With neutrals. I want to make sure that my brush is really, really dry. Because I want to make sure that the paint layer that I'm putting on now it's not going to be transparent. So the only neutral that I'm not going to be using is this main one because I did that in the background. So I'm going to try and not use that, but I have a tendency to change my mind. And we will see. And we're gonna do just a half-moon here. I recently did a piece for a client who really liked mid-century modern style. And I did grounds and I did these half moons. So I really personally like a painterly style. So I like to be able to see Press strokes and not to be super clean. When I do digital work, I'd even like to make sure that I add some more textured elements because I really like texture. But if you don't like having paint strokes and stuff, you may want to consider using Guassian stat. It's also would be really easy to do wash, underpinning. And instead of acrylic paint, if you want something more solid, but don't, you cannot put Rosch On top of acrylic paint. So I'm going to make a kinda like a pie with S1. I want the Center to not be right in the center. So I'm going to like make this a center when I'm at family gatherings and I'm in charge of cutting the desert. I like to make it weird. So it's, it really bothers some people. But it doesn't bother me. I just realized this is going to look like an orange. So I'm going to fill in the rest of it with stripes. Thank you for coming on this ride with me. Ok, I'm done painting now we're going to come back, I think with some ink. So stay tuned. 6. Adding Flair: So at this point, when I look at this, I'm not overwhelmed with satisfaction about it at all. So what I'm gonna do now is I am going to add with a Copic marker. I'm going to add some thin lines around this. I maybe painting over this. But I'm at the stage in art where you hate your piece. And this happens all the time. I shouldn't say all the time, probably 70-80 percent of the time. I get to a place where I Mike, this is garbage. In garbage are it's garbage and it's the moment right after that or I figure out how to make it work, but is, makes all of this worth is so stay tuned. We're going to make this not garbage. Fingers grass. Love it yet. But maybe soon. I'm gonna have a break from it and come back to it because I'm at the point now where I'm not sure what to do next. So I'll let you know when I think of something. 7. How to get un-stuck: One of the most challenging things as an artist is what, how to fix your work when you get stuck. When I'm working on a more realistic rendering it, my solution is often work clear. Something was not right with an eye or the ear seems to bake. And that is a very clear path of how to fix things. When I'm working with abstracts, the solution isn't always so clear. So there's three things I like to do when I get stuck and abstracts. Number one, I like to look at books and other inspiration. I have this book that I like. And I like this book. And I like this book and this book I found when I was looking at it last night, a technique where you put on paint and then you scrape it off. Now this isn't going to change my composition, but it is going to allow me to use the negative space which is here to make it more interesting while still hopefully allowing there to be negative space and letting the rest there. So what I'm going to do is first look at my piece and talk about what I like about it. What I like about it is this oral shape coming from Abby one buck. And I also like the movement of this like it's ripples. What I don't like about it is that this is foreshortened, shortened foreshortened word. And so as we think, but I'm going to, I want to bring this out beyond there. And I also like to play with how you could hey, abstracts differently. So whether you understanding it like this or like this, or like this. And sometimes that helps me decide what direction to go. So we're going to start off by adding these and then we're going to add the layer of paint. So here we go. Alright, now that we've come up with some ideas of how we want to add to this composition. We're going to lengthen this part and we're going to add some texture to this part. So that is the initial plan and we'll see if we stick to it. So I have some more paint, might some neutral colors. And this bright pink because I still want to under paint over here. And I wanted to add this over here, even though I don't want to infringe on this negative space that I'm really trying to preserve. We're doing this. We're totally departing from our initial Abby wound Bach image. And that is okay. We want to use Addie WiMAX or any athletes picture as a starting point because they often have so much movement in them. And sometimes that can be difficult to represent in abstract work. So if you don't end up, it doesn't even resemble an athlete that is OK. The idea is that you're making abstract work. So now I'm adding some white paint and then putting it on kind of thick. When I have an issue with a peace or something isn't working right? I often wake up in the night thinking about it, which is the same at width last night. So I just have this old paint brush and I'm gonna use this end to scrape and see. So I think I'm going to use just some regular lines. Now I am considering I should cross them out here. And then I'm not liking as all of these lines are basically the exact same width. So I line variance is not great. So I would, I wet my brush down just to make the pay of a thinner and I want to go over some parts of this exterior. Why I'm doing this? Because I don't want these black lines to be the what tells the story anymore. Okay, I need to look at it from different angles. Kind of just trying to defuse the pink. When I was looking at it last night, I was thinking, Oh, this is way more pink that I wanted that to be. Okay. So I'm going to leave this for now. I am feeling pretty good about it, but I feel like I need to leave it be for a bit and see how I like it compared to the other pieces in the collection. And welcome back. 8. Viewing as a collection : So I'm looking at these three together as a collection. And I think that this is important to do, especially as a licensing artists, to see how things are in a cohesive way. And what I noticed when I look at all of them together is that I don't have enough blue on my middle piece. So I have this little tiny dotted blue and I want to add some more so that it's a bit more balanced. Because when I look at the other ones, there's more pops of blue and it's a nice balance. So I'm gonna go and do that now. Alright, so now we're going to add the blue to try to balance it out. And I'm just using the small tips brush and a little bit of blue paint. And I like the idea of these round pieces, so I'm just kinda going back over them. The black, so that was then washed out. And now I'm going back over here. And I'm going to add another little bit of blue over here. Because I think I like at think enzyme. We're going to leave it. See if there's anything we need to change. The race. I think that this is good. So we started off with this and ended up with this. Thanks so much for making art with me today. If you enjoyed this class or even if you didn't, please leave a review so I can make my class better or hear how you liked it. Also, please share with me what you worked on below. I would love to see how your project turned out. Also, I have a few other classes on skill share that are upcoming, so make sure you check those out as well.