“Give me some paint and brushes, I could throw that together easy peasy!”

I have thought that many times when looking at abstract art. It’s just a bunch of random colors slapped haphazardly onto a canvas, right?

I’ve been really inspired by Amira Rahim‘s art lately, and have been a fan of Cameron Schmitz for a couple years. The closest I’ve gotten to abstract art so far has been the backgrounds in some paintings, particularly in my Dreams of Justice series. Recently though, I’ve been thinking a lot about delving into abstract and seeing what I can come up with, and if there’s anything to know about me as an artist, it’s that I am constantly trying new styles and have never managed to stick to one medium, style, or subject.

So… I decided to give it a shot and see what happened.

I pulled out one of the canvases I have in the closet and started slapping some paint on. I had a lot of leftover yellow and orange from a commission I recently finished, so I wanted to focus on those colors first.

I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it at this point and my 3 year old daughter asked if she could paint too, so I let her mess around for a little bit to see what she’d come up with.

The first bits of paint I slapped on.

After my daughter got done with it

I decided to bring in pink and purple and liked the color palette that started to take shape. 

I also started playing more with big ‘lines’ with the purple, trying to convey some kind of movement with the half-swirls.

Lots of purple added!

I decided to bring in pink and purple and liked the color palette that started to take shape. 

I also started playing more with big ‘lines’ with the purple, trying to convey some kind of movement with the half-swirls.

I decided to review the painting in black and white every once in a while, to make sure I was working in enough contrast and not ending up with a muddy mess.

I threw on some more yellow and started adding in white, to cut through the dark colors.

I added a darker purple in the bottom corner to really amp up the contrast. It was also at that point that I saw a sort of shape beginning to take form when I reviewed the painting in black and white. I decided to lean into that shape and craft more of a flowing arc in the painting.

Adding deeper purples.

A desaturated version of the stage on the left. 

After deciding to work on the shape more, I cut through some of the painted sections with white, to get more of a swirling effect. 

I also threw on some more pink, to bridge the orange and purple more.

The beginning of the swirl.

It gets much more pronounced as I add more white. 

After some more swirls and contrast tweaking… here is the finished artwork! I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially considering how muddy it was at times and this being my first real attempt at anything like this.

Ultimately, I found that this was not nearly as easy as I thought it would be. It was very easy to end up with muddy colors, big bland sections, and ugly blobs. In a lot of ways, I had to be much more intentional about color choices and strokes than in my more realistic artwork. There was no ‘autopilot’ here, or relying on techniques I’d used before. It was all brand new.

A friend of mine described it as “summer being boldly swirled away” by autumn and I love that! So I’ve titled this piece “Autumn Blaze”. I’m thinking of doing a ‘4 seasons’ series to explore the other 3 seasons.

The finished painting.

Autumn Blaze original painting is available for purchase. Visit my online store at joannamarieart.com for more information!