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Painting an abstract landscape with acrylics paints

Painting an abstract landscape with acrylics paints. We dedicate this tutorial to the world of acrylic colors with an abstract and experimental painting. I decided to paint an abstract landscape with you. Abstract landscape? For some, it seems almost an oxymoron! In this guide, I will show you the opposite, that it is possible to create a landscape using elements taken from reality and abstract elements, working on shapes and colors.

Some time ago, we talked about making an abstract painting, an excellent opportunity for a practical demonstration. First, we will create a geometric background, playing with warm colors and cold colors. Above this, we will trace the skyline of a well-known city and we will work for contrasts of colors, shapes, and style. We use acrylic paints to paint an abstract landscape.

The materials of this tutorial

For the realization of this tutorial, we will use the acrylic colors of the Heavy Body series. They are colors of the highest quality produced by the famous American company Liquitex. However, a very dense and viscous paste characterizes them, and it is from this peculiarity, the name “heavy body” derives. The shades we will use are permanent Carmine Alizarin, Cadmium-free Medium Red, Cadmium-free Orange, Light Yellow, Cobalt Blue Hue, Lively Lemon Green, Light Cobalt Green, and Titanium White.

One of the strong points of the various Liquitex products is the possibility of using them together, even on the same painting, a bit like in mixed media works. For this reason, we will also use fine-tipped acrylic markers, the Paint Markers. Colors used: Cadmium Dark Red and Neutral Gray 5.

Of course, colors alone are not enough! To help us, we will also have two mediums: black chalk and the medium for glazing. Finally, the freestyle flat-tip brushes, a spatula, canvas cardboard of about 25x25cm, and a wooden palette cannot miss the lotus flower drawing.

We prepare the bottom

acrylics paints

We are ready to start painting, shall we leave? The first thing to do is to fix the canvas cardboard to the work surface using paper tape. It will allow you to work in complete peace of mind, without the worry that the surface you are painting on will move and without having to hold it steady with your hands.

The base will prepare by spreading a mixture of color made with Cobalt Blue Hue mixed with Titanium White. Next, apply the paint using the size 6 Freestyle flat brush to get an even result. Remember that we are going to paint over this colored background with other colors. Wait for the first layer to dry completely before moving on to the next step.

We create geometries with warm colors

I came up with this painting to create a geometric and abstract background, using a pattern with squares and rectangles of various colors and sizes. These geometric shapes will be placed side by side or overlap in some places. For creating the geometries, I advise you not to use the brush but the Liquitex spatula size 5. Working with the spatula, you will get a coarser result in applying the paint, but you can create regular shapes with straight lines using the cut of the spatula.

Let’s start by making the first shapes using warm colors. You can use Orange and mix it with Titanium White. Another possibility is to use Medium Red and Light Yellow, combined with the two previous colors. In this way, you will be able to obtain a range of colors ranging from yellow and light orange to red or pink, also passing through light and dark ocher.

Advice on using the cutting spatula

As mentioned above, today, we are trying to work almost exclusively with the spatula. To create the squares and rectangles in the right way, however, I have to give you some tips on holding and using the tool.

The procedure is well explained in the image below:

  • Prepare the color on the palette
  • When you have the color you are interested in, pick up the amount of color you need
  • Apply the color from top to bottom, placing the cutting spatula (also called a knife) on the canvas
  • Try to keep straight lines. Precisely for this reason, I recommend the use of cutting.
  • Apply the color calmly in a decisive way, this time both from top to bottom and from bottom to top until the desired result is achieved.

Tips on using the tip spatula

When the palette knife is used flat or parallel to the canvas, and you need to work on smaller areas, you will want to use the tip.

Here is a series of tips to keep in mind:

  • Prepare the color on the palette
  • Take a small amount of paint and place it on the canvas
  • Use the tip to accompany the color, spreading it out with small touches
  • It is up to you to decide whether you prefer to leave the color with a more uneven thickness or create it flattened with the flat part of the palette knife.

Let’s draw a skyline with markers

While you might think the painting is already beautiful and done with just this geometric pattern, we’re not done yet. So I decided to experiment with the combined use of two products from the Liquitex range. The first is the Heavy Body we used to create the bottom, and the second is the Paint Marker acrylic markers.

The idea is to create a sort of skyline, the profile of a city, where you can see both ancient domes and modern buildings, all using very simplified features. You could create different versions, wherein each painting shows the skyline of a foreign city: New York, Paris, Rome, Berlin.

The picture is ready!

Our painting is finally ready! In the photo, you can see the final result, or at least what my impact is. Today we have seen how to mix and use several products in a combined way, be they colors and varnishes or mediums and auxiliaries to painting.

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