Abstract Art with a Twist: Personalize Mondrian | Nicole Arnold | Skillshare

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Abstract Art with a Twist: Personalize Mondrian

teacher avatar Nicole Arnold, Wild about Art

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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.

      Getting Ready


    • 3.

      Let's Paint - Starting Out


    • 4.

      Let's Paint - Colorblocks


    • 5.

      Let's Paint - Framework


    • 6.

      Adding the Personal Touch


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About This Class

Abstract Art with a Twist:  Personalize Mondrian

Learn to paint like a pro, let loose, and have fun.  

Class Description

Painting abstract art is all about letting go and having fun.  Learn how to plan color choices and execute bold designs like one of abstract art's most celebrated artists, Piet Mondrian.  In under 25 minutes, you will learn how to complete a modern masterpiece and add your personal stamp to a recognizable work. We will have fun while immersing ourselves in an activity that ignites our imaginations and pushes the boundaries of our creativity.  No prior painting experience is needed - all levels are welcome.

Meet Your Teacher

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Nicole Arnold

Wild about Art


Nicole is an artist and children's book illustrator who loves all types of art.  As a teaching artist, Nicole focuses on opening minds to make room for unexpected creativity.

Read more about her DIY projects, Art-o-mat adventures, and book recommendations on her blog, blog.nicolettaarnolfini.com, and follow her on Instagram and Twitter to enjoy her recent work.

Nicole's classes appeal to students who are looking to submerge themselves in a world of colorful, bold design, creative fearlessness and the wonders of the natural world.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Intro: Pete Montreal and had a motto always further, Even though war drove him from place to place, he never allowed the immensity of more to overcome his need to create. I have every confidence that you and I can move our creativity forward in his spirit. I'm Nicole, and I'm crazy about modern art. I love to think that we're all connected in an artistic community that spans the globe that spans time, and this spans generations. The 20th century. Modern masters have something to teach us, and we will listen to their inspiration In this class. We will use Mondrian's tableau number one as a reference. I will choose a portion of the painting, and you will, too to complete. You'll narrow down your color palette and you'll translate your vision onto the canvas. Your final touch will be to add a design element that significant to you. I will focus on Modry on, but you have the freedom to choose. Any abstract painter who speaks to you in this class will push our creative boundaries, will exchange ideas in a supportive environment, and we'll have fun making wonderful work performed come joining on this artistic journey. Let's make a beautiful work of art together 2. Getting Ready: for us to get started. I'd like to talk to you about our reference work, which is Pete Moderate. Allen's tableau number one. He completed this painting between 1921 and 1925. But it still speaks to us today, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that this work is in his iconic style. He has primary colors, which became his signature. A red, a yellow in a blue mixed with whites and the black framework in the dark rectangles that kind of hold the colors onto the canvas. Captain, for the purposes of our project, I will focus on Lee on this portion of the painting down here from the bottom left black rectangle appear to the top of the grid work on the right hand side. I am going to focus here on Lee because I want to communicate the themes bold, geometric and cool so you can see I'm shifting toward the cool side of the painting. I love these cobalt blues here, and you can see that this white panel here is slightly cooler than other corresponding white blocks on the painting and I'll show you how to achieve this in your color palette mixtures. I'm also going to eliminate this strong black vertical here, and I'm going to do that for simplification purposes in future videos. You'll understand why I did that. I'm gonna have a complicated foreground later on. And so eliminating any kind of business in the background I think is gonna help us. Another thing I want to impose upon this class is a creative restraint. I'm going to keep a limited color palette of only three colors. My colors are going to be white, a light blue that I'm going to mix to make this blood color block right here and cobalt blue. I'm not gonna count black against you because black, by definition, is the absence of color. So if you want to choose, for instance, red, yellow and white or you want to do red, blue and yellow or you want to lose the primary color scheme and go with your own analogous color scheme, for instance red, orange and coral, something a lot more neighborly on the color spectrum, you can certainly do that. So feel free to let your creativity run wild there. We just want you to have the project that speaks to you the best and is the best for you. So again, my things will be bold, geometric and cool. We'll talk a little bit more how to lay that out after we go over our supplies and that's coming up next. First of all, you're gonna need some paint. I love liquid tax pain and you can see here I have heavy body paint. I'm doing a limited color palette In this painting, I would encourage you to do the same, impose a creative restraint on yourself and just have those colors in your palette. Another thing that you will need is paintbrushes. I have chosen for this class a short bristle brush. This is a great acrylic brush right here. It gives you lots of control. And I'm also using these to longer bristle brushes just to move a lot of pain around the canvas. You can use an assortment or whatever you enjoy using. Have a sketchbook. I won't remind you often, but at night or during the day when you have a little bit of time to carve out, try to remember to sketch daily as you're working on your painting. Whatever you have in your head is going to come out eventually in your personalization step , which is toward the end of our project. So I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at what happens there. If you do your sketching, you will also need a ruler for this class. A T Square would also be fine. In order to put down that that right angle grid work, you're going to need an HB or lighter. The eraser here is Japanese. It's a white eraser. I really love these racers because they do a great job of lifting things off of a white canvas, but you can use a rubber eraser if you prefer. So here's your canvas again. Gallery wrapped double primes is what you need to look for. Gallery rap just means it does not have staples on the edges. That's a personal preference of mine. You can get these deeper cradle with deeper wits on the sides. If you prefer, you can get him with the staples on the side if you want to save some money, but then you need to frame them to make them look professional. When you hang them, make sure that you have a water receptacle for watering down your paints, especially if you're like me and you enjoy using the heavy body acrylics, you're going to need to dilute them to get them to move on the surface of the canvas. Finally, not finally, you need to have masking tape. So second toe last year. Make sure that you buy some artists. Tape. Masking tape is low tack. It's a little more expensive than regular take. It is something that we will need to help us help prevent spills and mistakes as we're painting and we'll go over that a little bit later. Artists take this low tack, doesn't remove underlying paint layers or damage the canvas when you have to take it off. Montreal on loved using masking tape, so I really feel like we're following in his footsteps. When we're using that, I want to introduce you to the Uni Posca pens to these air the best paint pins I've ever used. They are imports from Japan, and they come in different sizes. This is a large nip size. I have smaller nip size is you'll see those as I get them out. These pins are wonderful. They don't come out in blobs and ruin your painting. Instead, they came out very fluidly, and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with those. I wanted to show you guys how I mapped out my canvas that I chose. So I just have a color block design here. Very 19 eighties. We have Mondragon's perpendicular lines that I have indicated with an HB pencil. So unlike Kandinsky, which if you took that class with me, we had very organic strokes. Very feathery strokes. You have very straight edges, very hard edges. There's there is no, uh, change in how he's going to go about laying out this composition, and you should have a very clear idea of where going all set. 3. Let's Paint - Starting Out: modern art masters. Now you know that it's time to paint. I'm serious because I have on my painting smoke. So remember to protect your clothing before you get started with the paint. I want to show you what I've chosen. I have here a very nice cobalt blue. This is heavy body acrylic. They're more expensive, but they're really worth it. I have a light blue permanent and just some white, and I'm gonna mix these for you later, but I'm gonna start off with the cobalt blue. So I've gotten just a little bit of water on my brush. We'll see how far that goes. And if I need to put more later and I'm just going to get the canvas cult covered so that you cannot see any of the white underneath. Now you'll notice that I'm going over my boundaries a little bit. And so that that delineations gonna get a little hazy nail is not the time to worry about that. Because black will cover all later on. We could have put masking tape on here at this point if we wanted to keep things really separated. And I want you to feel free to do that. If you feel better about that, I will be doing that in our later steps. So you will definitely learn how to use that on one thing about this heavy body acrylic paint is it truly is more viscous on the canvas, which means that it takes a little more work to move it around. I'm definitely finding that it is thicker and not as easily moved around. Um, as as just regular liquid tax acrylics are. That's okay. Gives us a nice depth, and the end result with heavy bodies is something that I really like. But again, you do not have to get heavy, heavy buddies for this. So nail, I'm getting into place, right? Need to do a little bit closer work. So I'm gonna use a smaller brush, and I'm gonna take this off of the canvas, sees me off of the easel so that I can make sure that I'm getting my edges. Remember, I like to use gallery wrap so that I don't have to worry about frames, so it will be important to go back and make sure that you're doing the sides. If you decide that you like me want to use gallery rap. Gallery wrapped canvases are a little more expensive, so it may not be an option that you want to do, or you may like the look of a frame. And that, of course, is fine. Remember, just when you need that thinness when you need to move the pain around on the canvas, remember, just to use your water to help you move the pain around on the canvas very freely. So I'm not totally covering up my black lines. I still have that nice delineation in the middle there, that nice, strong vertical which will help me keep these color blocks separate. 4. Let's Paint - Colorblocks: So now that I have thes two color blocks filled in with the background of what they need to look like, it's time for me to switch to this white color block. And it is a cool white. Remember, I'm going for bold geometric and cool. And I told you originally in the former video that we were gonna have a white block here, but it was gonna be a cooler white. So how do we establish a cooler white? We mostly use white, and we use just a little bit of light blue. So this is light blue permanent. I'm not. I'm not doing the cobalt blue because that's a little much. And once you get it on the canvas, you'll see the white behind it and notice I'm using a smaller brush to so I'll have more control. It's actually a shorter Brit bristle. Brush them what I have been using, and then you can. You can change this to your heart's content. I'm going to keep it so that you can see some of my brush work in the color. In other words, I'm not going to make it absolutely all the same color from top to bottom of the entire color block. Instead, there's gonna be there will be gradations within the bloc. There will be some mixing that you can see on the canvas. I like that. I think that looks a little bit more exciting. I like to leave things a little bit UNB lended so that your I actually has to blend it itself. It has to do a little bit of work when you walk up to the piece in a gallery or on the wall . And I'm just gonna move this over a little bit on my easel so that I can do the top. Because remember, we gotta cover every bit of white, and I'm gonna leave it like that. I think that that's gonna be a nice contrast to the completely opaque, darker blue. So what I have left to do now is the black, and I'm going to do the black in the next step, and we're gonna fill this in completely black, and we're gonna go back and establish our framework here 5. Let's Paint - Framework: This is masking tape here to create a nice hard edge. Here's masking tape here and here's masking tape here because I'll have a bar going across this way. Of course, we'll have a black bar going all the way down. I'll have a black bar coming across here. I don't have to mask anything here because this will all be filled in with black paint. So I decided to wait for you guys to show you what it's like to get the masking tape down. It's a little bit nerve racking because you have to try toe match up your pencil marks, which you may have lost a little bit due to the thickness of the acrylic paint. I go ahead and put it all the way in the back to stick it on so that it doesn't catch on anything, and I've decided you can see I'm not working on my easel anymore. I've decided to stay on the horizontal plane to keep a little bit more control over this masking tape and over my hand. So first I'm going to start on the hard part. I'm going to start on the thin lines as opposed to the easier block. And I'm gonna do the block with black acrylic paint so we'll just use our brush here. Same as same as always. We're just gonna do it on the horizontal plane. So do I have a little trick here to make this easier? I do. And I want to tell you I don't get paid to give endorsements of products. But I will tell you this is a wonderful product. This is a paint marker. It's uni pasta. It's made in Japan. I have to order it on Amazon. It is always an import. I ordered the big barrels and I ordered the small barrels. This is a medium nip. It's not a finance. This is a big nip Here. You can see the difference right here. They're not poster markers there paint markers in. The reason why they're the best, in my opinion, is because they do not blob l with a bunch of paint in places where you don't want him to be. They help you maintain a lot of control, so I'll start with the big new right of the here. I've got my masking tape in place and you can see I'm gonna have to go back and tear it off and go back over this. I'm not worried about that because I have a lot of control with these paint markers and see how the paint is just going right in. And I'm not being very careful with my line, not having to hold my breath or anything, because I've got the masking tape there to help me out. So just a couple little tricks that you can do to help yourself out with your artwork masking tape. Watercolor artists used all the time, and these paint markers found out about these paint markers from another artist on Instagram was just delighted with this find, because I never have had the level of control or the same consistency as acrylic paint have always been too light or to lobby, or they just die off really quickly. These Nibs withstand a whole lot of punishment, so they don't just kind of die right after you use them. Now. I think that's really all I need to do with these. I can save them for later when I take the masking tape off to get back and do it is a matter fact I'll use the medium point to go back and do some fine work. After I take the masking tape off, Don't take it all until it's dried. Now, you know, I've told you that acrylics dry really quickly, and that's a good thing, but definitely give it time to dry. So now I don't have to be careful it all right? Now, I can just be really, really free with my painting. I'm gonna make sure that I have a nice, opaque layer here. That's my goal with the black Have to be a little bit more careful when I get to the masking tape so that I don't run over top of it and get into any of my other color blocks to see how that masking tape just takes all that worry away. It's nice to have little helps like that along the way, and I'm gonna keep this pretty thick. I like the thick application to kind of match the thicker application that I had on the other on the other blocks. You don't have to do that. There's actually a trick at the end. If you want toe, add some dimension to your painting and you have not used thick paint. If you used very thin applications, you can add a thicker application at the end with a gloss varnish. Just put lots and lots of gloss varnish on there after you've sprayed it a couple times. So now all I have to do is just let this dry, and then it will be time to take off the masking tape. I'll just make sure at that point that my masking tape hasn't left any mistakes and I'll have to go back. Remember, I have this little portion right here. We'll have to go back and I'll use my medium. You have to go in and fill that in. 6. Adding the Personal Touch: thanks so much for coming this far on the project. Now is the time when we get to put our personal stamp on the project. And first of all, I want to let you guys know I cleaned up my work a little bit. I went in and finished out the grid, work on the painting. And to do that I used my Posca markers. I use the ones that had the smaller never. I used the bigger new to fill in any kind of loose white that was showing underneath this black layer from the canvas on. And it just kind of made this nice and smooth. So that's one of the steps that you're going to do after he removed the masking tape when it's completely dry. And then the next thing I did was I get my my pencil and I went in here and marked off What ? I want to be my personal stamp. Now my personal stamp comes from my sketchbook, and yours should come from your sketchbook also. So in my sketchbook I have been doing ah lot of expert explorations that were geometric in nature. And as I told you before, my themes were bold, geometric and cool. So I am going to transfer some of those ideas onto the canvas and I'm going to do that and just kind of a small embellishment way. I'm gonna get my uni pasta pin and go on the canvas and just start making my marks here on these air just abstract geometric paintings or geometric figures, I should say. And he sort of wonder, when you're doing on Is this Are these representations of things that people looked at a long time ago, kind of a pictograph or cuneiform? Or are these just things that popped in my mind for for no reason? And they just mean something to me. So I'm gonna start here with the black and then when I go over to the Cobalt, I'm not gonna use Black. Instead, I'm gonna use white, so I'm gonna stay within my color palette, as I had chosen originally at the beginning of the painting, remember, I chose white and cobalt blue and a light blue. And then, of course, the black doesn't count against you for my limited palette range. So we'll start with this of here on this light panel and to go over toothy cobalt pale. I'm going to use a white because it will have a higher contrast. And now we will see that is busy as my pictographs or Kaneda form or whatever you wanna call it. My little geometric representations as busy as they are, that is why I decided to get rid of any business in the background early on. So I got rid of that strong vertical that would have been right here because I didn't want anything to you. Take attention away from what I was going to finally put on the painting. And I've decided Teoh stick with just these small forms. Just a small in volition and I'm doing him along the grid work. This is going to be my final piece right here. Now I am right handed. So I am working from left to right on purpose so that I don't smear with my right hand any paint marker because it would be just like smearing paint over the finished panels that I have already created. So remember that as your as your working as you're going along, so that you won't smear anything and you can see this is all just about having fun right here. The next time I look at this painting, I'll wonder why I chose to do a lot of sun representations and swirls. I think I chose the squirrels, the swirls, because I tend to like floral themes, and I also like nautical themes. So that's coming out a little bit, I think, in these decorations and again, I think what you'll find is that what you think about, even when you don't realize you're thinking about, comes out in your sketchbook and did it eventually comes out in your work, and that's what makes it very special to you. No, I'll finish by putting a little bit on the sides here. But this is what we've done in this class so far. This is what I've decided to use for my personalization. And I have that whatever you choose, you feel really happy about that. You've completed a recognizable work inthe e style in historical sense of Montreal on, and then you've been able to add your own personal stamp to it. So I'm just so glad that you guys decided to spend this time with me into push your creative boundaries. You guys have been wonderful. You guys are what I consider to be modern art masters. And I really appreciate the support of community that we've created and going over these things together, So happy trails to you and best wishes on your artistic journeys.