DIY Abstract Art No. 2
July 10, 2013
The best part about our DIY paintings is that they are literally impossible to mess up. So even if you're a DIY disaster, I assure you this project will be your best friend. Plus, it involves a little gold leaf and if I had my say, everything in life would be gold leafed.
gold leaf
4 fl oz red, yellow, blue, black, brown, turquoise acrylic paint
8 fl oz white acrylic paint
(1) 3” paintbrush
(4) 1” paintbrushes
Medium round paintbrush
Bristle brush for glue
Plate for mixing paint
30×40” canvas
Plastic painting dropcloth
Masking tape


step-1Tape the plastic dropcloth to a wall and let it cover a thin table or chair so that you can rest the canvas vertically on the table or chair and lean it against the wall. You can also set it up on the floor and paint there, as long as the canvas is upright against the wall.

step-2Use your bristle brush to paint a thin layer of the glue sizing on several spots around the canvas. Let dry 10 minutes or so until tacky to the touch. Press sheets of gold leaf on the glued area and gently brush off with a dry paintbrush. You can paint gently around these areas or slightly over the edge as you develop the painting (and if you paint over too much, you can always add more gold when the paint is dry).

step-3Mix a some black, a small amount of blue, white, and a pinch of brown until you get a dark warm gray. Use the 3” brush to paint several large sections of the canvas dark navy, from the lower left corner up through the center. Rinse the brush and paint the remaining canvas a thin layer of white. Keep your brushstrokes loose and swirly while painting.

step-4Mix the turquoise with some white and a pinch of yellow to make a mint shade. Use a 1" brush to paint large middle sections mint. Mix in with the navy as you get close to the edge.

step-5Mix some black & white to get a light gray and use a 1" brush to blend large areas starting from the middle left of the canvas.

step-6Mix red with some white and a pinch of yellow to make a bright pink. Create a few spots of bright pink with a 1" brush in the lower right and blend with more white as you blend outwards into a larger area.

step-7Now that you have your color areas blocked out, keep playing with the colors to add depth. Try blending, using papertowels to smudge, or drawing thin scribbles. This is a fun time to experiment, and if you don’t like the look of something you did, just add more color on top of it to “erase” it. You can’t mess up! When you feel good about how it looks, let it dry for 24 hrs and then hang away!

-Don’t worry about your brushstokes! Paint sideways, vertical, swirled- whatever- you’ll do so much mixing of colors on this painting that it will all come out in the wash. The more relaxed you feel, the looser and more effortless the painting will come out.

-Step back frequently, take a look at the picture as a whole, and see if you like where it’s going. This is why I had you set up the canvas vertically and not laying down- because it helps you get a perspective of what you’re making, as you’re making it.

-If you are hanging the canvas without a frame, definitely splurge on the canvas that wraps all the way around the sides (you’ll know because you won’t see staples running down the sides) and be sure to paint the sides as well. This feels more luxurious and will look great when hung.

Styling & Photography: Style Me Pretty Living