I love contemporary, abstract art. However, I don’t always love the price tags on pieces I find — especially when I’m looking for larger pieces. After searching and searching for artwork for the new home that my heart and my wallet both loved, I ultimately decided to try my hand at painting my own. Not only has it been a really fun and rewarding experience, but I’ve also been really happy with how my masterpieces have turned out.
While I’m certainly not an expert on this topic, I have learned a bit from creating my own art. Here are my tips.
1. Get the right tools.
If you want a professional-quality painting, I believe you need artist-level tools, even if they’re of the “beginner artist” category. Before I created my first real painting, I purchased a few key items:
- Easel: I once did a (really terrible) painting with my canvases lying down. I found it’s much easier, and the end result is much
better,when you use a real easel. You have options when it comes to easel sizes; I personally purchased this large floor easel from Michael’s because I knew I would be painting large pieces.
- Paintbrushes: While it can be tempting to use the really cheap brushes, I’ve found that they can easily shed and ruin the whole painting experience. I grabbed some mid-priced brushes from the professional painting section at Michael’s and have been really happy with them. Just be sure to get a few different shapes and sizes.
- Quality paint: You can go acrylic, or you can go oil, but either way, get the good stuff. I’ve been using Academy Acrylics with good success.
- Quality canvases: Again, I found great, large ones at Michaels. And bonus: they’re often on a major sale. I got the canvas for my dining room for 70% off! Just be sure the canvases are gallery-wrapped and back-stapled to keep with the professional look.
The level3 canvases from Michael’s are my favorite.
2. Start with decisions on color.
When I’m beginning a new piece, I start thinking about color first. Typically, I’ll play off the colors in the room I’m planning to hang the painting in and add in accent colors if I’m really feeling them. Adobe also has this really cool color wheel tool that I often get inspiration from. You can put in your focus color, and the tool will spit out harmonious color schemes.
3. Find inspiration, but make it your own.
Before I begin a piece, I often seek inspiration from websites like Houzz, Pinterest
4. Layer your paints for a truly professional look.
Speaking of studying the technique of people who actually know what they’re doing…one tip I’ve discovered is to layer paint, a lot. I will typically pre-paint my entire canvas white before I even begin with color. I love the look of multiple layers of paint stacked on top of each other and how paint blends together when you paint new colors while existing colors are still wet. In general, I learned that you can never really have too much paint. And if you paint something and don’t love the way it turned out, let it dry and paint over it. At least in terms of acrylic paint, I’ve found it to be very forgiving.
5. Put on some good music, and let your creativity flow.
In truth, while I go into every painting with a general idea of what I want, they have pretty much never turned out exactly as I thought. Once you’re in the moment creating a piece, let your creative juices flow. I find that music helps in this process. Don’t worry about others will think; create something you love.
Have you tried painting your own art? I’d love to hear your tips!