Modern Abstract Expressionism: A Journey in Brush Strokes, Texture, and All the Feels | Peggy Dean | Skillshare

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Modern Abstract Expressionism: A Journey in Brush Strokes, Texture, and All the Feels

teacher avatar Peggy Dean, Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

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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.

      Class Project


    • 3.

      Materials & Supplies


    • 4.



    • 5.

      Color Palette


    • 6.

      Prepping Your Workspace


    • 7.

      Applyingthe Background


    • 8.

      Beginning Color Transitions


    • 9.

      Introducing Texture


    • 10.

      Visual Balance


    • 11.

      Mark Making


    • 12.

      Next Steps


    • 13.

      Bonus - Hyperlapse of the Large Canvas!


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About This Class

I'm so excited to dive into the art abstract expressionism with you. This is a style and technique that is often overlooked when it comes time to create pieces of our own. It's natural to gravitate toward what we know as far as subject matters go, such as flowers, landscapes, people, etc. Abstract expressionism, however, demands us to be in the present and to create with feeling. It challenges us to explore in ways that we wouldn't otherwise.

After diving head first into abstract work 6 months ago, I was completely twitterpated. I felt connected to my creativity in a way that hadn't been unleashed yet. Now, I want to share it with you. I'm going to provide a roadmap to your own self-discovery through this class, as we cover:

  • Composition
  • Working in collections
  • Approaching transitions in paint, color, and texture
  • Working with a limited color palette
  • Using mixed media such as acrylic, gesso, pastels, ink, and charcoal
  • Mark making
  • and more...

At the end of this class, you'll have at least 3 new cohesive abstract pieces that you'll love so dearly that they'll be on your wall instantly. I can't wait to see your work!

Music by Johnny Easton - Homeward Bound

Meet Your Teacher

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Peggy Dean

Top Teacher | The Pigeon Letters

Top Teacher

Snag your free 50-page workbook right here!

Hey hey! I'm Peggy.

I'm native to the Pacific Northwest and I love all things creative. From a young age I was dipping everything I could into the arts. I've dabbled in quite an abundance of varieties, such as ballet, fire dancing, crafting, graphic design, traditional calligraphy, hand lettering, painting with acrylics and watercolors, illustrating, creative writing, jazz, you name it. If it's something involving being artistic, I've probably cycled through it a time or two (or 700). I'm thrilled to be sharing them with you!

Visit my Instagram for daily inspiration: @thepigeonletters, and head over to my blog for more goodies curated just for youuuu.

I'm the author of the best selling... See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: I am so excited to dive into the art of abstract expressionism with you in this class. This is a style and technique that I think that so many of us don't really know how to approach your how to interpret, but I also know that it's so important to do it after doing it myself. This is a style that I took on when I was going through a slump, if you will, in my own creative journey, and it brought me right back and centered me into why we create to begin with, and that is for the process. In this class, we will be covering everything from media to use, for abstracts, we'll be talking about composition, we'll be talking about working in multiple projects at once to create a collection of pieces that are complementary to each other. We will be working in some new supplies to you that you might not have thought to use, and I'm very excited to jump into that part with you because that is where the stuff really comes alive. We'll be talking about adding elements that are surprising and maybe not how timely and maybe not the most expected and unexpected little elements are what really brings these pieces to live and I'm so excited to jump into this with you. This class is for anybody. It doesn't matter what skill level you're on, it doesn't matter if you're an artist in a certain medium or if you focus on a different type of subject matter, this is for everyone of any age, of any style. You don't even have to be an artist, but it's going to do is open up a new world for you that you can really explore in your own unique way and to see what comes out from you with your energy and your life is going to be pretty magical. So let's jump on and I can't wait to get started. 2. Class Project: Your project for this class will be to create a cohesive collection of three pieces. You'll use the same color palette and the same general techniques for each one, So that the thread between the three of them are complimentary and they go together and you can create a beautiful piece out of the collection and have a really beautiful point of interests. I can't wait to see what you guys come up with. Let's get into the class. 3. Materials & Supplies: I'm going to show you what I use and the most important thing that I want you guys to think about and to remember is that you can use what you have. Just because I'm showing you all these things does not mean whatsoever that you need these exact things. I'll tell you what you do need, but otherwise you can go wherever your heart desires. The first thing I want to talk about is paper. This is one thing we're starting off strong with what you absolutely do need. When we're doing abstract some more layering layering and layering, it's best to have a thicker paper. I use 140 pounds or 300 GSM watercolor paper called press. You can use hot press. It doesn't matter when you're not using like water media, but I use it because it's nice and thick so it can withstand the amount of moisture that I'm putting on it. The two brands that I typically use as I'm working is I use Canson Watercolor XL. It's just their student grade, but it does a really great job holding up and they have some large pieces of paper on these pads. They have even larger than this. This is 12 by 18 inches and it really makes it so that you can have really large pieces in affordable cost, which is really nice. The other one that I use is the Legion Stonehenge for my smaller ones, even Canson also, I just really like the legion paper. So these are the two that I go with most often. The other thing to note is that I use a washy tape. It can be any washy tape, but I use a washy tape which I'll go over when we actually lay the paper down. But you need a surface that you have your paper on that you can take down so that you can make sure that your paper does not warp as all that moisture is being added to it. Also, it creates a really nice border around your pieces. So I use a tabletop easel. I'll link it below, but I use it because I love being able to have it propped up as I'm working. You can also use an easel. It really doesn't matter as long as you have a backward to tape two and I'll go over that as soon as we start prepping our Canvas or workstation. Now I'm going to go over the tools that I like to use as I'm getting into my media. The first thing I'm going to say is I used to use these sponges, I used to use these flat brushes that were smaller when I applied my initial paint and I no longer do that and the reason why is because of this guy. Now, this is just a $5 bachelor that I grabbed at Fred Meyer. It's silicon. It's the perfect size that fits into the paint that I use, which I'll go into in a minute. But I have a couple of different sizes. This is the one that I use most frequently as you can probably see. But here's why. When you grab paint with a paintbrush, a lot of that paint gets into the bristles and so it doesn't spread as well, and when I'm applying a background color first where I want it to spread the entire way. This lets my paint have so much more life as you put the paint down instead of like stopping right here, it just continues and continues, which is nice. For my first layer, I just scoop right out and go to town with this bachelor. You can also use the smaller ones on a mixing palette to mix colors together without losing a lot of them in the bristles of the brush. So I recommend something like this. Doesn't have to look exactly like this. It could be a hand one that doesn't have a handle. It could be anything. They do sell this silicone tools that are specific to painting in Craft stores are like blake and things like that. But you're going to pay $22 for them when you could just buy a spatula for five bucks at Fred Meyer. Just saying. But these guys come in handy when you do want to spread some paint like not on your background layer when you're actually adding up. So this is a liquid tax-free style I don't like. It sheds, so I don't like that. But overall, I like how short it is because I feel like I have just more control over it, and this is more of like I'm just like a layering brush, These sponges, I've used them since I started doing the acrylic painting, they just work really well. They cost like $0.50. I don't use nice brushes to do any of this type of work. I just use basically what I can find. This one is actually a nice brush. I don't remember where I grabbed it from, but it's just synthetic bristles. It's nice to work on like this 7 by 10 size. I forgot to mention this. It's by 7 by 10 inches, but it's nice to work on that size because it has a good amount of coverage without dominating or without not being enough. First of all, I'm going to say I do not at all support or encourage any purchase of real animal hair bristles. The reason that I got this was because I found it in a random bin at this craft store called scrap and Portland, which is basically like a goodwill for craft supplies. So it was already there, it was all ready beat up and I thought I can use that for mark making, but you can use anything for mark making. Anything that looks haggard, It doesn't even have to be a brush. So you could go out into nature and get like sticks or leaves or different types of elements, like pine cones and things to roll texture. So I'll explain how I do that as we get into this more and then this one is synthetic. It just has these lots of fan, what do you call them? I'm really bad at terms, but basically it cuts off with the bulk of the bristles so that it has more of this like feathery effect at the top. That's just another option for mark making. The other one is that these sponges, so these are like natural sea foam. Natural sea sponges, they make for really cool texture to if you use the tips of or you could do a good amount of texture by applying pressure. So that's another one that's really fine. But really, I just say to look around and see what you can find. As far as mark making I use my fingers a lot when I do these abstract paintings, so don't overthink that. I also use a jar of water, usually a lot larger than this one. Sorry, my dog is barking. So you definitely want water I clean mine out frequently because you're going to use a lot of paint in this type of project. The next part is your actual pigment. Of course, you can use any type of acrylic paint. You can use squash, I mean, we're going to walk into acrylic paint. This is actually not while it seems like a acrylic paint, it's actually the Matisse background color is the line that they have here and it is like acrylic. It works like acrylic, but it works like acrylic as if you applied a gesso to it. Why? Because it is a colored gesso and it's awesome because it spreads so well. So you don't have to add anything to it, it just goes on so well, and honestly, I use these for primarily the entire pieces that I do, and that's what I'll be using in this class as well. I've linked these, you definitely want these. They will open your whole world to a whole new, beautiful ease of use when you are painting. We'll go over color mixing these, but we'll go over how they're acyl. I'll also create out of the tube or a container or what have you love it. So this is capital CNN. You'll see me using other ones as well. So the other one, I have a few of these Liquitex basics, acrylic color and the smaller tube I just grabbed some like random colors that I might want for highlights. That might be like an unexpected surprise in the painting, which we'll go over, and then I also use angles. This one's just just [inaudible] Bombay black India ink, and it's nice because they have these squeegee tubes so you can suck up ink and then apply it. I don't know if you can see that the way I can but apply ink straight from the dropper or you can use a brush. I won't be using a brush for this, I actually like using it straight from the dropper. So we're going to do that as well. They have different colors and you could do like white or gold or something, and then my favorite part of this entire thing is like probably the part will spend the least amount of time actually doing. But it's like they pay off in the end, in my opinion. This is where we use pastels and I've got different brands here. My favorite ones actually are more dependent on color. But this one is the one that I like to use the most and this is a new pastel and see it's by, I don't know how to pronounce this. It's Qur'an, dash is that right? So this is a, I believe in oil paths pastel, and it's nice and creamy. So when we use it, it will be, let me just show you on here. It'll be nice and creamy and thick as opposed to like a soft pastel like this one, which is via [inaudible] , and this is a lot chunkier, it's not creamy at all, and it creates like this real powdery effect. That's what you'll notice with pastels. I like both of those things because they're going to present differently in your paintings by also have some by Rembrandt. As you can see, I haven't really used them too much. But then I also have like the deeper colors, neon, some whites and then I basically honestly just go in to black and I just sample on their sample page that they have available and then I just get what I love. So I've been really into these like random pops of neon lately or, you know, like this isn't quite neon, but it's a like periwinkle. This is like a nice neon yellow. We got some neon orange, some of this bright green or turquoise. They are just at early fun interests. So I'm probably going to be using orange and this class, we'll see how it goes when we get there. But this is my favorite part and I like getting dirty with it and I just like seeing how it shows up and we use these in the cracks of the painting to just bring it to life. So honestly like I'm going to link to these so that you know what they are. But I encourage you to go to the art supply store so that you can actually see and feel how it feels when you create with them, because that is what really makes this so special. Don't worry, you don't need to do that yet. This is going to be later in the class so you can start your painting and then head to the craft store and grab the colors that you want and then come back. You're painting will be dry and you can go from there. I think that's it. If there's anything else, I'll bring it up as we go along. But literally, seriously, you don't even need pastels, I will be talking about them, but you can grab anything that you have around. Just basically you need acrylic paint and good paper that's going to withstand it. You can use your fingers as brushes. So we're going to jump in, wait one more thing. I seal my paintings with this cry Elon UV resistant, clear acrylic coating. This does not damage the integrity of acrylics or pastels or anything. It's matte finish so there's no gloss to it. It's completely clear and it will help protect your paintings from UV rays so it won't fade and stuff like that. So that's it. Now let's get started. 4. Composition: I am not a thumbnail sketches. I like to when I actually do it, but I really have the patience to do it. But what you want to do if you like to plan, I always suggested, especially if you're first jumping and just because that way it does give you a really good visual. But if you can use a ruler to make three squares that have a good amount of ratio. I don't know what I'm saying. But yeah, you can use a ruler to make it easier for you if you want, but I just sketch them out. Then from here you can just plan out your composition. So I noticed that a lot of times people like to have a lot of center focus. So I actually, rather than doing three, why don't we put six in here? That way you can really experiment with how different things might look. So let's say you want to have a lot of center focus. I just like to draw shapes because it helps me figure out how I want the composition [inaudible]. So this is mostly focused on the bottom two-thirds whereas you could do something focusing on just the bottom third and then see what that looks like. This is just a matter like try circles, ovals, squares, just slashed lines. Don't worry about detail, we're looking at just the way this is going to be seen from a distance. It will really help with figuring out how you would map that out. Because a lot of times if you just look at a canvas, you're probably, if you don't think about composition for us, you're probably going to put color everywhere and there's no problem with that. But then this is what you're looking at, where you might have wanted to have a central focus like this. So obviously these don't have to be squares, they can be something that are little more abstract and have some more movement to them and layering to them, but it's going to give you that overall idea. Another thing that I want to mention is the rule of thirds. So if you're going to put any focus anywhere, unless you're trying and going for a symmetry, I think it's a good idea to have these invisible lines in mind. It's off but have those invisible lines in mind because as you can see, if they're there, then I have this focus here and I can do a little bit here and there, but for the most part, my focus is on this bottom third. Whereas this one, if we pretend that it's divided here, here, here, here, so that makes this a third, this a third. So I have three vertical thirds and then three horizontal thirds right here, it's making my focus on this third and on this third. So you could come down and do something like this where it is dipping into there, but for the most part, if you were to separate that, you've got your focus on these two-thirds that are horizontal. So it stopped here. Then the two-thirds vertically right here if that makes any sense. So always better to have that as an invisible line. So then you can come up and see okay, let's say if I wanted to splash some on the edge and then maybe on the top or the edge, but when you have it down, you can really see it come together and there's nothing wrong with just having little marks here in there either. So your thumbnail sketches can be very helpful and then you can plan things out from there. I'll do it for the sake of guiding you guys through this. Again, I might sway from it because I'm not good at sticking to thumbnail sketches. I just personally like the organic nature of just painting and just jumping in but I promise you though that this will help you. Then once you get past a point where you've been painting for a while or you might like abstract for a while or something like that, then it's going to help to have this just as a rule in the back of your mind and then just go for it. So I'll plan to do something, maybe up here in the corner and then maybe have a little interest rate here. So I'll make that a little darker, so you can see it, not square. Then let's go coming up like this and then maybe something little peak is maybe not in that corner. You can see how it ends up coming together. Then I'll do something maybe from the top and then on the side. So that's what I will plan for. I can't promise I'll stick to it. Make that darker so you can see it. So I recommend doing this, I really do. When I was doing printmaking, I think it's funny because I've been doing art for so long and I wasn't introduced to thumbnail sketching until I was in printmaking class and we had to thumbnail and I just had this massive I roll because they don't have the patience for it. But it turned out that what I thought my composition was going to be was ended up being completely different than what I had originally planned because of my thumbnail sketches and I was able to pick something that was even better. So I do recommend doing it because it will open your mind to different compositions. 5. Color Palette: I know that I mentioned that I don't like planning out thumbnail sketches, but what I do really enjoy planning is my color palette and this is because in recent years, I have discovered that I really like working with limited color palettes. It gives me a good idea, when I'm able to put them down on paper exactly, what I want to use, and then you can add little accent pops and things like that. Here's a palette that I really enjoyed working with so you can see that I've got what I ended up doing, and I've written notes here. We'll do it together in just a sec. But I used Matisse terracotta and I mixed it with black and I ended up using black also, but then I used this mixed color and then I used off-white that I mixed with the terracotta and black. It's a lot of mixtures here together, but I think I ended up actually just mixing just terracotta with off-white and it came up with this creamy color. Then I used this really pretty color that was not by Matisse, It was a Liquitex color, I believe and this was a really fun combination to use. Putting this all out, I ended up using this palette, I ended up using this palette, I ended up using this palette. When you're able to put it all together, you can really see exactly where you want to go with it. I've picked out some preliminary colors and I'm not sure that I am going to use them exactly in this order just yet, but I love working with these background colors. I might be cheating a little bit, but I've been using them primarily for my entire pieces, minus some accent colors here and there, and it's because this stuff spreads like butter and is completely opaque the entire time, and I just think it's incredible. This is Capital Sienna and it's a really pretty, nice, burnt, an orangey brown color, medium orangey brown, and I'm thinking I want to pair it with blush. It's a nice pink color. I don't love a lot of pink, but I think that it will be really pretty to accent against this brown. Then I've also got by Liquitex, this quinacridone, whoever says the stuff out loud, magenta, and I thought that this was a really a pretty color against these two as a contrast because I always want to put in contrast. You can see that it's like this fuchsia-ish color, so I think that's going to be really cool. Then lastly, I usually pick two or three and then I like to pair it with a neutral. I don't typically go for white. Instead, I like this off-white. I just think that it adds a little more interests, so you can see if I were to go with this green next to stark white versus this green next to off-white, for me, it warms it up and I like it when it warms it up. But I haven't decided if I want to do that or if I want to go to black, because I think that might be a nice balance also. I think I'm going to wait and see what happens with these three colors on my canvas before I add my neutral color, which isn't usually the way that I work, but we'll see. But first, before that, I might decide when it's on paper, so we're going to start painting and mixing colors on paper to see how that's going to actually look. As far as paint brushes go, I just use a flat brush. I've just got this cheap, synthetic Blick brush that I'm going to use and to mix these colors together to see how I like them. The first thing I'll do, I know that I love this brownish color I love earthy colors so very much, so I'm going to open this. I don't think I've used this. Yeah, I did open it once. Quick note, if you're using this type of color and you're storing them in a drawer, I store them in a drawer, so I pull them out so you can see that I've dabbed the top of them with the color. You can do this really simply just by grabbing some off the top and just painting a little splotch there on the top, and that's going to help you identify your colors when you just open a drawer. I'm just going to take a little bit of this and put it on my paper. I'm going to do this in a few places because I want to see how it mixes with different colors together. Then I'm going to get most of the paint off of my paintbrush. Then I'm going to dip it in water, make sure that that's all the way off, and then just dry it a little bit on the paper towel. Then I will pull this blush color. This is a pretty bright pink so I might think about mixing it with the off-white. But I'll grab some of that and I'll set it down next to the terracotta. I'm also going to set a little more down so I can mix some off-white with it real quick because I think that that's going to be interesting, and then I might put some down here to see how it mixes with another color. Get most of that off, rinse it really well in water, and then just dab it on a paper towel. Since it's still wet, I'm going to take advantage of that, get my off-white, come in here, and see how this is going to mix together. I could use a little more pink, so I'm actually just going to pull from my pink and then I can add more into it if I want to in a minute. See, I'm liking that a lot more. I might add a little more pink, so I'll pick some of this up. I like that muted color a lot more, so I might end up using that. As much as I love using it straight out of the bottle because it makes my life so much easier, I do like how it looks when it's a little more muted, so I'm going to get most of this. I'm going to rinse my paint brush, dab it on here, and then see how this added color looks, and you can go straight from the tube on your brush or you can just dab a little bit on your paper and grab from that. If I were to accent it with that color, I like this combination a lot, which is interesting, again, for me because I'm not really in the pink family, but I'm really feeling the pink right now. Then see, you can also set it next to the brighter pink, see how that looks together, set it on its own. See if you can add more to it, see how that looks, see how it looks with just that next to each other. This is a good example of how, let's say I didn't use any of that blush color and I was only using this magenta and the Capital Sienna. You can see that this is pretty dark, so I have a darker tone and a medium tone. This isn't quite dark enough to contrast like black would be, so I would want to add a lighter color to this. I'm rinsing my brush and I'm going to grab some off-white so that you can see how that's going to look. I've got a little fuchsia here still, or magenta, or whatever. But you can see how those three then compliment each other a lot better. I just realized how out of the camera I am. You can see how that complements a lot better as a trio, but let's say I have got this combination and then I add a little bit of off-white to that. That's a really pretty combo as well, but then like I said earlier, I was wondering what black was going to do if I added black to it, so I'm going to do that and just maybe put some right here. I think that I like that even more, but while this is a limited color palette, you're not stuck with only three or four colors. This is five and I could use this no problem if I wanted to. I'm just going to dab some right here, see what that looks like. That gives a totally different vibe than something like this would. I know that the earth tone is there, but assuming that I have this pink, this pink, this pink, I cover these two up, see how this is like, this is friendly and bubble gum. Whereas this over here, if I covered this stuff up and I just have these two pink hues and then this black, this is looking a lot more contrasted. I'm feeling vibes of Barbie meets rock. I don't want that at all and I know that about myself. While some people might really be drawn to that, I personally like to really neutralize any pops of color with earthy colors just because it's more my thing. If I'm not using greens and things like that, then I want to really make sure that I personally put in these neutrals. So I think that I will work with this palette, with the black and the off-white and see how that works. I already know that I'm going to mute my pink a lot and you can either create a premix which we're going to do together, or you could work directly onto the Canvas, lay a color and then lay the other color and mix it directly on the Canvas. I do that a lot. If I'm going to be honest, it's because I'm very impatient and I don't want to. So they're mixing. But the problem with that and what you'll run into if you do it that way is that you can't guarantee an even shade or an even hue, because it's not pre-mixed. I just want to show you a couple other options, assuming that I didn't like one of these colors. If I wanted to grab another one, let's say my primary color that I really wanted to use was this Capital Sienna and let's say I put this down and I'm like, "Okay, I'm not feeling pink at all." I can go into anything else. I can go into like a green with this, which is really making it hone in on the earthy tones, I can put in a blue with this. There's really pretty haulers that I've been really getting into, like almost periwinkle. This one's called light blue violet by Liquitex and you can see that it's a really, really pretty tone next to that brown color. I don't have enough of this, so I would totally be hopping on that because as you can see, I've been really into it, those tones. But yeah, that's an awesome option and I super recommend playing around with that and seeing how that's going to look. Let's say you tried this palette out on your sample page and then you ended up thinking, "Okay, well, I don't want these natural colors, I don't want this contrast and I don't want the paint, but I'm really drawn to this magenta." I have this sludge already created and it's like, well, what's going to look good with magenta? What can I try? What can be unique? Yeah, I could pair it with green, which is an obvious choice, if I think about it and there might be a different obvious choice for you. But I like to stretch myself and think, "Okay, what's not an obvious choice that I would put with this?" I've got this one, Capital Orange, and I'm super ended like a poppy red color and this one really reminds me of that. I haven't quite busted this one open yet. I know that when I do I'm going to get my hands dirty. So I'm just going to swatch it out real quick so that I have it on there, cleaning my brush off, and then I'll just grab some off here. But then if I set this down, that can be a really interesting combination. These are both mid tones though, so I do need something to balance it out or I need something to either lighten one of these colors or darken one of these colors. I don't have to do that. Like I don't have to have these on my Canvas as perfectly evenly used colors. I can have one of them as just like an accent of the other. But this is really cool to me. Let's say I really like this, I'm not so sure about this tone. So I'm going to lay this red over here and then use that magenta to enlighten it and see how it looks when it's lightened. So I'm just going to put a dot next to it and then get a little jell up, and you can lighten it with off white or white. I find that I like to lighten with off white and I'll show you two examples in just a second. So if I'm mixing this with an off white, let me grab a little bit more. It's turning into a really similar color to what I did with the blush. But I actually and then what's funny is in this experiment, it's like, let's say you're focused on this magenta, you love it. What's an unusual combination? I've got this Capital Orange. I don't really like how this is looking, but I don't want to lighten the Capital Orange, lets try to lighten the magenta and then you come here and you're like totally off-base from where you started. But somehow this is a really cool combo that might be calling to you. Then you can just go from there and that's what happened on this previous page right here for me. I'm going to show you like with mixing colors, that's going to make a difference, especially when you lighten. Here's an example of terracotta with off white. See how it really warms it up quite a bit and then this is terracotta and white, and it makes it look almost cream colored. So you've got this warm, almost like orangey cream and then you've got this really muted, whitish, creamy color. So if I take that away, you can see the difference between the two of them. It's funny because you wouldn't think that it would make that much of a difference since it's just the underlying lightener for the tent, but it can make a huge difference. I recommend exploring that. The same goes for when you want to darken a color. Rather than just jumping into black, maybe try a warmer brown or maybe try a dark navy or dark green. Those are going to bring different hues and shades, all sorts of things to color, so this is your time to explore. The other part of this is, before you get to the point that I am, I've got it all in my head still, but I want to write down what I've used. I want to document what this is so that I'm able to replicate it when I want to because while I might know it right now, I'm not going to remember this in a week when I open this up and think, "That's a cool combo, let's jump into that." But it's like, "Well, what did I use to mix this?' You don't always remember. This is wet, but I'm going to try. So I've got Capital Sienna, and if you're using different brands, it might help to make note of that. I know most of these are Matisse, so I can just jot a little note here that says Matisse and then I know that this right here is Liquitex. So I'm just going to say Liquitex, Quin Magenta, and then I've got off white, I'm going to put Matisse separate. Then I've got right here, I know I've got blush plus off white. Here I've got just plain blush, no mixing, I've got this Liquitex, Quin Magenta, and then I'm just going to draw a line to both of these so that I know they're both that, and this is folk black, and then here I've got this Capital Orange and then I'm going to draw an arrow to both of these because they're both the same and then this one, this is where it comes in handy because I know that these look really similar, but this is actually Liquitex, Quin Magenta plus off white. Then here I've got another Capital Sienna, Capital Sienna, off white, Liquitex. It's not always going to be the same like this, like this other page has quite a few more options as far as what I was experimenting with. Then this one is the light blue violet by Liquitex. I know that I want to work with this palette, although I am really drawn to this one instead right now, but I stuck to this one, I'm going to use this one and then I can use this one later. So I know I said I was going to mix these two colors to show you guys how I do that and I just use these cheap Tupperware from, I think they're from IKEA. So I've got a clean one ready to go, and then inside of here, I'm not going to mix a ton because while these might be airtight, they're totally not airtight. So I don't want it to dry out. I'm just going to mix enough to where I can use it for this project. You might need to end up mixing more, or you might end up with some extra and that's okay too. You can either use a paint brush to scoop this out or this stuff is pretty runny, so I just pour until I think I have a good amount and then I got this. What was I using? Blush. So I'll try this mixture and this is pretty even and I don't think that my mixture on paper was really even, so we will see how this turns out. I can already tell you, I think this might be too much, but it might not be. Then to mix, you can use brushes. But what I like to use actually instead of that is something that's silicone. So this is actually like a cover that you can use for making marks in your paintings or it's good for sculpting and stuff, but I use these for my mixing because it's not going to make it so that the brush is capturing paint, so I'm not wasting paint, I'm just using it to mix. I'm also going to scoop this up and get it in there because that's a waste. So I'm just going to mix this. Actually, this might be the perfect half and half. Cool. Yeah, that looks pretty close to what I was doing. I love it when it works out the first time. I think I'm going to do a little more pink but let's see how it looks. It looks good to me. Well, that was easy. I thought I made too much, but now I'm thinking I'm going to need more, so that's also something you'll run into. Then I'm using this color still. I'm not using Capital Orange, I'll put that away. I'm using my black a little bit, but I'm probably going to save that for later and then I've got these two. Once you have all of your paint setup, you know the colors that you're using, you got your water jar ready, you got your paper towel already, you got your brushes ready, your setup as far as your Canvases or your paper, whatever you're using, then it's time to actually dive in and we're going to do this layer by layer so that you can really explore and not be feeling daunted by the process. Is daunted a word? I know daunting as a word. Anyway. 6. Prepping Your Workspace: What I am experimenting, I like to work on a few pieces at a time and I have a setup that I made work for me, but I have a table top easel situation that I will take paper down and then I also have this backing board that's pretty thick that I actually just took off of the backing of an old watercolor paper pad. So I'm just making do with what I have and then I'm using just for this, I've got this Canson watercolor 12 by 18. I'm going to actually cut these pieces. I've been working on 12 by 18 and have liked it, but I think I want these to go be 12 by 16. So I'm just going to put them in a paper cutter and cut off two inches. I think that this will frame better. That'll be a better composition overall, instead of having it be those really long pieces. So it's just something to play with him and I set this up right here for now before I tape it down. Woman, same thing here. You do this with two or three pieces. I don't love working in even numbers, but I do sometimes just because honestly, it's really just has to do with my setup because I've got this so easy to access. But then, this other one I can just take to this and this will come out three at a time at the same time. So that's totally up to you how you want to do that. But I do recommend working on more than one piece, especially as we're diving into this abstract idea because it's really going to allow you to do some different compositions. It's not going to take a lot of extra time because it's all just right here in front of you. So after this, I want to tape these down, so that I make sure that they don't warp, especially when I'm using a lot of heavy media. I'm using, this is watercolor paper, and they have different types of paper for heavier, they have mixed media, but watercolor paper is the heaviest. So I typically start with just like a light washy, but I think that washy tape for me is easier to peel off. Whereas the other tape, that's heavier duty. I don't want to tear the paper, but I also want to think about how this is going to line up. So for example, if I have it pretty low and I only have it covering just a smidge of that paper, then that's going to get cut off, whereas if I have it up a little bit higher, then I have a nice border. So I like to frame that and just have the tip that's actually connecting to my surface. Just be a little bit. But you can also use thicker tape and then you don't have to worry about it as much. But this is just how I set up the pieces. Once that's down, I can just start painting. So this is where the fun part starts. 7. Applyingthe Background: When it's time you jump in, I want you to know that I don't use really nice brushes for this process. In fact, I use as cheap a brush as I can find, but there's a reason for it. I love texture in my pieces and I love to be able to see brush strokes and really marry that with other textures of mixed media and whatnot. I'm going to play with that and allow myself to explore that. If you want to do something that has more of a focus on a nice, smooth texture, you can totally pick up better brushes. I always recommend synthetic brushes because you're not harming animals. I won't get out my [inaudible] box, but you know how I feel. Jumping in, one of the things that I like to do, especially when you're laying your ground color first, typically, you're just going to keep layering and layering. What I like to do is use a spatula. I've got a silicone spatula here, and I bought this specifically for painting. It fits in these jars, and then I can just slop color onto it, and then there's no color that's left inside of my brush that I have to waste. Going into this, I'm thinking about my middle tones, I'm thinking about my lighter and darker tones. That's going to determine how I want to play with this. Then, don't forget, I am using thumbnail sketches so that we can walk through that together. Looking at this, I'll focus on the upper part, and then on the side, and then something in the center. Then here, I've got something coming up this way, and then a little sprinkle here, and then here I got something melting down, and then something on the side. What I can do is start laying color in these general areas. I can think about what do I want my base color to be, and then what do I want my primary color, as my primary accent, to be. What are those two colors? What are those two balancing colors that I'm going to use? I can refer back to my colors that I painted out and see, okay, these are the two primary colors that I want to see on my palette, or however you want to go about doing that. I know that I like to use black as a minimal accent. I have used it as a primary accent before, but I personally like it just to be something that's in the background. We know it exists, but it's not a focus. I'll probably go with the blush and off white, and then the capital sienna. Because I know I'm doing the blush and off white as the focus, I know that I'm going to need to mix more of it, and that's okay. I'm going to wait to do that, though. Jumping in, I can just jump in to do that. I'll probably have my blush and off white be my background, if you will. But because I have these thumbnail sketches, I know that I don't need to cover the entire paper in order to get that to come to life. I'm just going to scoop some of this up and just start placing it where I know I'm going to have that color. It's going to be all over here, it's going to be on the bottom here. I definitely need to mix more of this. You can see I'm not making sure that this is nice and smooth, while you can, I just like it when there are ridges in my paint. When I first started using a spatula to do this, I was making sure that these were nice, thin layers that I could build upon. But then, the more that I did it, the more I really enjoyed seeing these stroke lines. It's like what you'll see if you're doing oil paint. You'll see a lot of that, but not so much with acrylic. Acrylic's a lot smoother, so it's not going to come up exactly the same like that. But if I can leave a minimal amount, then that, it just makes me happy, so I'm going to. Really all that I am doing here is I'm looking at my thumbnail sketches and I am taking note of primary areas where this main colors going to lie. I am not worrying about where this would break or creating even lines of color. I'm just getting it on the page and then, also, going with the flow and seeing, once this is on the page, I know my thumbnail sketches are there, but how else can I enhance this space? What feels right? I'm really just going with my intuition of how this feels as I'm creating it. You don't have to worry about areas that aren't fully covered because you're going to take more layers and put that over that more and more. I'm going to start applying this capital sienna. You can use a palette if you want to or you can go straight out of a jar. I'm barbaric, so I'm just going to go straight out of the jar. I'm also going to take this piece off so it's not in the way. I also don't like to waste paint, so I'm going to go ahead and put that on here. Then I can move that around if I want to now or I could leave it. You might notice that, as you are adding paint, if you are sloppy with it, like I am, then you might find that you have some drips going on or you might have splattered somewhere. That's a part of the process. Don't try to cover that up, really embrace it because I think that you'll find that it adds a lot of really fun character to the end result. It'll help you loosen up more too. I really want you to just let it be if that happens, unless it's on your floor, in which case you should pick that up quickly, especially if it's carpet. I have to give my shag rug a haircut because I'm really bad and like to paint in any room of my house. When I'm in the studio, I just like to be where I like to be when I like to be there. I'm going to scoop some of this up because I used quite a bit of paint right here, and then I can't use that in other places. See, what I'm doing is I'm painting before my pink has dried, which is making it so that these colors start to blend together, and that's okay too. If you want to keep it separate, you can totally keep it separate. But I like that stroke work, I like when it adds some depth to it a little more. You will get a totally different stroke if you're applying with a paintbrush versus applying with a silicone spatula. But I save that part for as I'm building up because this is just my background. Now I'm at the point where I need to let this dry. This is the part where impatience comes in and you want to just dive in, you want to keep going. This is why I like to work on multiple projects at a time. I've got a canvas right here ready to go, so you're probably going to see that building up in between takes. But it's the same process, I'm probably just going to use a different color palette, but it's going to be the same process. I like to work on multiple things, and then, when I get stuck over here, then I'm like, "Gosh, I have to think about this for a minute," or, "I have to wait for it to dry." Then I have this project, and I'm like, "Yeah, this stuff is dry now. This is great." But if you don't have the desire to do that, then just go get a tea, go walk your dog, pick up the poop in the backyard. I'm talking to myself. Or you could just get a handy hairdryer, stay about six inches away, just keep it moving. We'll see it in a minute. 8. Beginning Color Transitions: As I work, I like to start using a thicker just brush and then while it's still wet, I go through here and I just spread it a little bit. You can see that it's creating, you see, these brush strokes, you see it's picking up some other color, and it's contributing to what that's going to look like in these transitions of color areas. I really like to use that to my benefit because in those transitions is where it might feel unfinished if you don't have some texture there, and you can always add it later, but especially lately, I found that I like to rough it up when it's about three-quarters of the way dry, and it just add some interests, and then let it dry the rest of the way before moving on. But again, this is totally your experiment, so you can continue as much as you want to. You can add color, you can start mark making early. You can start adding ink, you can start adding drips and then those will be layer. Just know that this is something that we're building upon, so what you might create right here might end up disappearing later but it might also be a feature of your piece in the end. This is time for you to be able to play a little bit. I also like to hold my brush at the very tip of it, and then just see let it go real loose, it makes me have less control, but it adds additional interest without having to be too purposeful with it, it just adds to that greatness. 9. Introducing Texture: When I am at this point with my pieces and they have their background color on, they have a little bit of blending in the transitional areas, it always depends on what they're looking like. But sometimes I like to start adding some more mixed media, and then sometimes I like to just continue by building up layers of paint. I think that for this I'm going to start just building up layers of paint and then add any other media in a bit. I've seen that these are both pretty much mid tones, so I want to break that with my off-white. I can place this wherever I want to, but what I like to do is keep it along the same lines of where my composition was. I can either highlight the blush areas or highlight this [inaudible] area. What I'll end up doing is actually adding some more of this brown color in a bit because I want them to really look like they're interacting with each other, same with the blush. For now, I'm just going to start to do some loose strokes around these transitional areas and they don't have to be throughout the entire thing, it could just be focused in one area. But I just say to get your brush on paint, you can see I'm doing this really loosely, so don't overthink it, your strokes don't have to be perfect, I'm not in a full sweep here, I'm just seeing what happens as I lay it down and then running with that. Sometimes what happens as I'm adding the accent color in is it can start dominating my secondary color, so I just go with the flow here and see what happens. Then here, I definitely want to bring that pink up so I can start doing it now or I can wait until that layer dries, I'm going to just start doing it now because I think that it's going to add a little more dimension. See how there's more dimension in that now, I can bring that pink up through here and then maybe bring a little bit over here. Then what happens is you can start to see, "Okay, what's going to happen in my composition? How am I going to bring that color in more?" That's where I'm saying I want to drag that brown down even more and start having these interact together, and so I'm going to let that layer dry and then do the same thing. It's funny how it works because it really is a strange balance the way that these come together, but I just really want you to trust the process because you might not like it at some given stage but it's all about building it. Sometimes I'll use the edge of my brush rather than going with a flat stroke, sometimes I'll get extra paint on purpose and just drag it so that it makes some drip strokes. You can really play with elements like that to bring out a different vibe because it doesn't have to flow perfectly. But then for balance, because I added some more of this blushing, I want to do that a little bit in these areas just to tie these in together. Because it has that depth and it doesn't have to be be just enough to where I can see that they're all balanced, just to tie them in together, they're all cohesive. Then as I'm starting to balance these out, another thing that I like to do is either with the brush that you're using or with a different one, I like to go in and it doesn't matter what's on my brush, I like to just twist it and tap it. Because what that's doing is it's adding a little texture to the finish in certain areas, and it's totally changing the way that this composition feels as far as how it's transitioning. I don't do it everywhere but I do it in enough places to where I'm adding a good amount of variety. It's always fun to go over an area that has a different color that's wet, and then dragging that back in like this area has a little pink in it, but then I brought it over to someplace else so it features a little more about variety and color. You can see here I've got some areas up here that are going with this brown color and so I can take advantage of that and bring that through. But I've also got some other great brushes specifically work well with texture, I have this one that I found in, we have this store here in Portland called SCRAP and it's not just art supplies but it's basically like anything that you can use to create, and there's a lot of really used items there. I found this brush but it's just like totally free, it's basically straw, and that is a really fun one to pick up a color and then pat it down somewhere else and it just creates this really cool texture, even more so than what I was just using. I don't use it very generously because I don't want a ton of that texture in what I'm doing, but I do like it here and there throughout. Just see how I'm just adding a little bit of depth, I just grab a little bit of the wet color, that's the off-white and then I just sprinkle it over in those pink areas to carry that through. It's just that awesome noise that you add, and I'm a big fan of texture. 10. Visual Balance: Once that has mostly dried, I'm coming in with a smaller flat brush, and I'm going to add a little more of this brownish color back in, and I'm going to do it in the areas that it was already sat down, but I'm just going to bring it even further. I think that why you don't have to do it this way, I think that what it does is, instead of having it look like there's layers on top of a color, it's looking like they're all interacting. It's like a dance on paper instead of having it being covered up. While I do like some of these strokes that go up into the brown, I also want to bring some of those brown strokes down. The brush I'm using right now has these textured tips at the top. Let's see, there we go. So you can see it's like a flat brush, but it's got this cut up textured effect at the top. I don't know the name of it, but it was just one of those ones that I found and picked up that was cheap. I don't like to use really expensive brushes for these types of projects, just because I am pretty hard on the brushes, and I press really hard, and I just destroy them. I don't want to destroy brushes that are really extensive. So I'm just dragging that through, using the tip of it sometimes to make that raking effect and then sometimes just using full coverage areas. You can see that I am just doing it quickly. I focus on the composition, but after that, I just focus on texture and how things are laying and balancing, and I can see that it's really heavily balanced here and I don't have any of that coming down. So I might just add some throughout those transitional areas, and then maybe blur that out a little bit for some balance. But instead of just setting the color down, you'll see that I'm actually really working it in, and I'm going in circles sometimes. I'm going with just very light strokes sometimes. You can see right here, I'm just going to add some texture in, and then maybe here, just a couple of brushstrokes just to bring it all together. Then, you can always layer on top of that with a different color and see how that's just already transforming it, and making it have a totally different feel. If the colors blend together or if it's just a simple stroke on top, I don't want to do that too much in these empty spaces because if I do, then it takes away from how this primarily this flesh color, and I really want that to stand on its own, obviously without a texture in there. I have a little bit of off-white on my brush now, and I'm going in to some of the edges of the brown that I just sat down so it's still wet, and I am just lightly, with the tip of my brush, just swirling it around to create a little extra color for transition so that it's not so harsh. But the more that you layer, the less harsh it's going to appear. It's just going to start looking muddy if you do it too much. That's why you want to isolate these areas, isolate where you want to muddy up, and so I like to do it in the midst of those transitions, like so. Then I'm going to let that dry, and I think that the next part will be a really good time to integrate the other types of media into this project. 11. Mark Making: This is when I want to start adding mixed mia. I decided that while looking at these colors, one of the things I really like to do, this is when you can introduce a weird color that might not make sense and this is my favorite part, or you can use something that's more complimentary. One of the main colors that I always like to use, not always, but a lot of the time is black. This is a Caran D'ache Neopastel. It's an oil pastel. I've used different types of oil pastels like I've got one by Sennelier and this one's a lot stickier. It's like tackier than the Caran D'ache ones. Then there's also the chalky pastels like, let's see if I can find one. Prismacolors got these new pastels. They'll have differently underlying mediums, so it's really just depending on whatever feels good to you. They all have different textures and things like that. One of the things that can be really fun to do is in your color book, returned to it, and make some marks just over that. Let's say I have these dots, those aren't showing up very well on this. Sienna but maybe I might like them on the off-white, or maybe this color might be cool with what I'm doing. Then I can just add some interests there and then you can see exactly how that's going to pop up. Maybe some scribbles and see how that looks throughout. This type of exercise can be really fun to see exactly how you want to incorporate mark-making. You can do it like that or you can just dive right in. I'm going to dive right in. I like to use black. I'm going to very lightly like I'm not having it, I don't have a huge grip on it. I'm going to push with my arm pretty hard, but I'm not going to really have a tight grip on this because I wanted to flow. I'm just twisting my arm. It's just creating this line on my page. That's just adding some interests so I can leave that line alone. I can add another one. I can see how it's going to look on another piece. Like I can have it in here. Maybe add a little bit up here. I can overlap them so I can have another line accompanying it a little bit. Then do it to all three and see how that balance is looking. You don't have to add as much on one of them and the others, or you can do it to where you might just have a little accent somewhere, and that was it. You can really build as much or as little of this as you want. Then I was thinking it might be fun to take this color. This is a light purple-violet also Neopastel from Caran D'ache. I was thinking it would be fun to just do some scribbling marks. So I'm still holding it pretty far away. I'm not gripping it like I would if I was coloring it, I have it at the end, and I'm just going to lightly scribble on the page in a few areas. It's a similar color to the pink, but it's more of a violet tone. I don't want to overuse this, but I want to use it in just a few areas just to bring that cool tone through. The other thing you can do with these is to play around with their finish. I can take the tip of my finger and just rub that in and see how that's going to react. It looks pretty chocky, but then I rub it in and it smears a little more and it becomes a little more a part of things. You can choose how you want that to end up. You can keep it as this, or you can push it and encourage it along inside of your art. Same thing with these oil ones. You'd have to push a little bit harder. Let's say there's just a line that you want to focus on. This line here, I can push that along and it still maintains the line pretty well, but it will smudge around it. That's an option too that you can enhance, that it will look blurry. But again, that might be what you're going for. Play around and see what happens. Let's say I don't like that. Well, I can just paint over it again with this off-white color and see what happens. Like I can either cover it up completely or I can hit it again. But I might like the way is looking as far as balance goes and I might leave it. It's just as you can see, all of that I'm doing is I'm literally working the piece. There's not really a method. That's what I love so much about this particular practice because it really lets you just stay loops no matter what. Even if you're trying to plan it out, you have no option but to stay really loose with it. This has become one of my go-to because it's such a stress reliever, and it's just cool to see this beautiful composition that you can create just from composition linework shapes, textures, and getting your hands dirty. It's just breaking the rules a little bit, which I find extremely gratifying. Once you have added the highlights in those pockets that you find, the cracks, the pockets however you want to call it, or transition areas, feel free to take as much as you want to make marks. I actually decided that this color that I was going to incorporate with all of my paint, I decided to use that as one of my mark-making colors, this magenta. I'm going to put it down, just put a little bit of that paint out. Then I can pick it up with a small tip brush or I can pick it up with a textured brush, or I can pick it up with the silicone tool. I can pick it up with the end of a brush. These are creative choices because all of it will render different results. I'm using a round brush is just a number 4. I'm going to make some just like strokes that look like they're just swatches almost. I want to really pick where I want them to go. I have in my experimentation with this color on different colors, I found that the magenta doesn't work very well with the brown, but it works great with the pink and it works great with the off-white. Now, I'm going to look at this composition and say, "Okay, where would I want to add some noise or some texture?" This can be done with like long thin lines. It can be done with horizontal lines, it can be done with like half triangles, just dots. But one of my favorite things to do is just these loose swatches. You can do them really uniformed where they're stacked perfectly on top of each other. I like to keep them sporadic and I like to overlap where they lay. Some of it will come off of that color and go into colors that it might not make sense with, but that's okay because the bulk of it is going to be really shone and featured on an area that makes more sense. Then you can drag this out, keep a whole block of it, come all the way up. I'm going to keep it isolated here just on this one. I might put some up here, but as I'm working on this, I like to hop around, especially if I'm doing a set like this. That's going to allow me to really create a balance as a whole set rather than a balance on just one composition. Then I think on this one, I'll drag it into the pink more. As I know that that also looks good. One of the important things to know too is when to stop because when I first started doing this, I was creating so many layers and thinking that I have to keep adding and adding. The pieces that I created, while they were fine, for me in my personal preference they were too busy. Sometimes that's great, though sometimes you want to make them busy and have a lot to look at and have layers of texture and color. But then that's also one of the things as you're playing and experimenting, that you will discover very quickly about yourself. I was able to look at those pieces and think, "I thought I loved them." But then as I experimented more I was like, "You know what? Those don't really represent this happy feeling when I look at them now." It's not to say that they're not nice, for me they don't really speak to me the way that something that's more subdued does. I like how this looks, I don't want to add more. But this one I feel like it got a little heavier right here, so I'm going to tie that in to this area right here, also for a little extra balance, and then maybe drop a little bit right here. So rather than having perfectly spaced out areas, I'm just having this area kind of stagger and then have that isolated space. That makes me really happy to see. I think that that is a really fun added interest and then I think that I might also want to add another form of mark making with a more neutral color, and I could choose. I know I wanted to add black into these, so I can choose to add black with mark making, I can choose to add black with paint or with ink. What I think what I'm going to do is actually use ink, and the way that I'm going to use it is to drip it. This part can be really fun and it can also be easy to overdo it. What I like to use is this ink. This one's just a Bombay Dr. Ph. Martin's ink, and what I like to do with these is actually use the dropper. Using the dropper lets me load it up and then I can just slowly release it wherever I am on my page. If I use just the tip, I might want to highlight and bring more attention to the black line that I've already put in here. So I can do that with this ink, and I'm not squeezing at all and that's going to really put a lot more black in there. I can also choose to have an area of concentrated drip. This part it's important to know where you want it before you go into it, because it's going to be really hard to make it go away after that. While drips may seem like they should come up from here, sometimes I do it that way, but sometimes I use like a bottom corner which could be really interesting. I might add a little bit of texture in here, and then I might just squeeze a little more out in a couple of places so that they have a little bit of a drip effect. You can hold your piece up higher for a quicker drip that's going to create a little, thinner line as you can see. Then you can have it to where it drips all the way down or you can stop it and lay it flat. This one's not going to keep going so I'm just going to keep it here and lay it flat, and then it only drips too a little bit. You can also keep this cluster as is, or you can add a little more interest so it looks like it flows a little more. With that, the line work. Then if you find that as you're doing that it starts to drip, I just stop it underneath and just push that ink around so that it doesn't get away from me. So that's a fun way to do that. This is good to me, I don't want to add more to it because I think that if I add more to it, it'll get too busy. This one is already pretty busy I don't think I'm going to add a drip to it, but I will add a little bit of black elements to have that texture for the noise in. This one, I think that a drip would be really fun on. I think coming from this area would be pretty. I think that coming from in here would be pretty but if I'm doing rule of thirds, I don't want it coming straight from the middle, I'm going to want this to be something that's more offset unless I am going to town with it. You can break the rules too. Here is when I can get creative with this. I think that what I will do is actually focus on this area, so I'm going to bring that line up and then maybe add a little more here. So I'm dropping and squeezing this and then it's going to start to do a drip, and then I might bring some down a little more for another drip starting right here. I might need to reload my ink. There we go. I don't think I want these to go all the way down, maybe some of them. We'll add a little more right here. If you want it to drip in a few areas but you want to control the amount and where it lays on the page, you can always wait until these drip more and then add some, or you can wait so those to dry and then add some. The other part of this is let's say they stopped dripping, you can either add a little more ink or you c again encourage it with a little bang on table which usually works pretty well. But I think this looks good, I'm going to let that get to about here and then I'm going to lift it back up. I like how that is looking. Then lastly just to add a little more contrast, I will take my black oil again. Actually, I think I have one that's chunkier. Well, I actually have charcoal, let's play with charcoal. I like to play with different textures because it will add a different finish on how it actually looks. But here's where I can add other types of mark making so I could do little dots or I could do like long slashes, like long vertical lines that are skinny. I'm going to do a few of those and I'm not going to overwhelm my piece. I just want to add a little more so that's creating a little more interest. I'm doing the same thing as I planned out, like where my balance is overall, the same thing I did with the first set of marks that I made. You'll also notice that there are areas where your paint hasn't fully dried. One of my favorite things to do is take like a comb or take a rake, that looks good, and drag it through the wet paint because it's going to create more of those cool marks, but it's coming from your painting itself rather than something you're forcing on your page. I think that I'm happy with how these turned out. I don't think that there's anything else that I want to do with them. I encourage you as you're working on this stuff to take a step back and really observe and see if there's something that you'd want to change or add or anything like that, because you just never know what can come about as you look. The thing about it is also know when to stop. Don't overthink this stuff. Just allow yourself to play. 12. Next Steps: Thank you guys so much for going on this journey with me. I can't wait to see what you guys created. Please be sure to upload your projects to the Project Gallery. At the moment, you can only access that from a tablet or a computer, not a mobile device so be sure to get it out there. I want to see what you created. I want to see the colors that you chose. I want to see your compositions. I know that other people are going to want to see them too. This is one of the most exciting parts of the expressionism in the abstract painting so thanks again so much. Be sure to visit me over at to snag all the freebies because I love giving free resources out and for additional resources in the world of creativity. I'll see you next time.