For the love of abstract art – It’s all about playing with art supplies

Abstract art

Having its roots in Cubism (thank you, Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque), abstract artists love to experiment with shape, colour, line, texture and a range of art supplies in seemingly random and chaotic ways. And yet the skilful melding of soft hues or splatters of energetic brightness results in a balanced and harmonious visual ‘story’ that requires no explanation or interpretation – just joyful appreciation. 

Abstract art always evokes an emotional response – love, hate or curiosity – allowing the viewer to use their imagination and engage with the artwork in a very personal way. Even if we’re not sure why, abstract art just seems to work. 

Simply defined, abstract art– aka as non-representational art – is the distancing of an idea from the literal object it references. From Wassily Kadinsky to Jackson Pollock, there is an irresistible urge for artists to attempt an abstract study.  

Abstract art

“I enjoy playing with and rearranging colours, lines and shapes to create images that I want to look at. I want my work to be surprising, playful and provocative. Some of my paintings are doors, others windows. They are all portals. I continue to use these symbols because they are a joyous and mysterious language that is somehow both deeply personal and universal.”  –Adria Arch

Here are a few of the basic elements of abstract art that will inspire you to stock up on art supplies and give it a go.  

The intelligent interplay of colour, shape & line

The first thing that will draw you into an abstract artwork is the way colours and shapes play, move and merge together on the canvas; it is like a visual dance and can be quite mesmerizing. 

Colour inherently sets the mood and makes us feel something. Depending on how you choose to use the colour wheel, you can create a bold and dramatic focal point or a gentle and calming scene. Traditional shapes are stipped back to their core and take on a more organic and dynamic ‘shape.’

Abstract art colour & shape

The tactile and sensory seduction of texture 

Texture is another key element impacting the visual beauty and perception of abstract art. This is often achieved by a technique called ‘impasto;’ applying a thick layer of a  medium with a palette knife to provide a textural dimension. 

Once again, abstract art is all about emotion, and texture achieves this by adding depth, layering, shadows and movement. Besides your basic art supplies (brushes, acrylic paints and a canvas/canvas board), you will need an impasto medium to achieve these desired textural effects. 

Texture in abstract art

The artistic self-expression of ‘going with the flow’ 

Creating abstract art is all about freedom of movement and letting go. It is about getting out of your mind and just feeling, playing and letting the colours, paints and brush take the lead. Abstract art is not meant to be understood, it is meant to be felt. 

When you allow space for intuition and inspiration, inhibitions are banished and an abstract study’s experimental creativity and potential will surface on the page or canvas. It is in this artistic space where, even though all the traditional ‘rules’ are broken, something beautiful and spontaneous emerges. 

Abstract art free expression

If you have always wanted to try your hand (or paintbrush or palette knife) at creating an abstract composition, start by becoming well-versed in the 6 key elements of art (line, shape, colour, texture, form and value) and then make sure your art stash is fully stocked with a range of quality art supplies.  

From pastels and inks to acrylics and watercolours, the possibilities of abstract art are endless; just choose your favourite medium and start splashing, pouring, splattering and swirling. 

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