After I found the canvas and had it shipped, I have to admit that it sat in my living room, blank, for another few months. I decided to do a smaller practice canvas first. It was a huge help in learning how to better mix colors and use my brushes. The final big one didn’t look anything like the first one, but I really love both of them and have them both hanging in the house. The color schemes are different and the design/pattern/texture is also quite different, but they make me happy when I look at them and that’s all that matters I suppose!
The good news is that I actually don’t have any background in painting. Yes, I was an art minor, but I never took a painting class! I walked in on day one to find that the teacher was my drawing teacher from the year before and she never took a liking to me, so I immediately dropped the class and switched into ceramics.
Today’s tutorial walks you through how I painted my own DIY canvas and how you can do yours too! I’m covering everything from the tools you need and the techniques I use. So, get your canvases ready! The painting below is different than the finished one because I didn’t actually take pictures the first time around — I wasn’t expecting it to turn out as it did, but I still wanted to walk you through my process!
So, shall we?!
HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED
How To Make a DIY Acrylic Painting
1. Sketch a few layouts to get an idea of how you want the final composition to look. Take into consideration balance here!
2. Paint canvas a solid color in the background. Typically something neutral, but also a color you won’t mind seeing if it shows through. Let dry.
3. Start adding color in larger patches to form a rough composition.
4. Layer in different shades of color as you go. Add more color.
5. Use drips and colored pencils and crayons to add texture and interest in between layers.
6. Paint more. Differ brush strokes.
7. When you feel like you’re getting close, stop, let things dry and make a coffee or tea, or heck, pour a glass of wine. Sit back and view the painting. Even take a day off if you need. See how you’re feeling about the composition, balance, use of color, etc.
8. Go back and make additions, changes, etc. to the areas you critiqued yesterday.
9. Repeat step 7 and 8 as many times as necessary.
10. When you’re all done, let the painting fully dry overnight or longer. I finish the edges in white, but you can leave them be or finish them in any other color. The easiest way to do that is to paint from the back of the canvas to the front.
11. Coat with a protecting finish, I like matte medium and let dry.
12. Hang (not too high) in your home and admire!
The good news is there’s no right or wrong way to DIY an abstract painting — it’s abstract! I encourage you to try things out on a test canvas to see which brushes you like best and which effects you like.