It is nice to start painting from a reference picture but you might also enjoy the freedom of working on a painting just from memory or imagination. Here is a technique that will allow you to paint without a reference picture.
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To paint without a reference picture, you will need:
- Canvas, I used 24 x 24 stretched canvas
- Gel medium, I used Golden OPEN Acrylic Medium – Gloss
- Fluid Acrylics, I used Liquitex Ink in yellow and blue
- White acrylic paint, I used Pebeo in titanium white
- Payne’s grey Acrylic paint, I used Pebeo
- A Conte Pierre noire pencil
- Blue Sakura Micron marker
- White Oil Sharpie marker
- Watercolor paint, I used Yarka watercolors.
I am working on a series of 3 paintings that are started as abstract patterns done with acrylic and gel medium. The canvas have been painted over with gel medium, then fluid acrylic is dropped on the medium and sprayed with water. The canvas are then left to dry. This is the first painting in this series of three.
When painting without a reference picture, it is easier to start with an abstract background than with a blank canvas. You can look for shapes in the abstract visual texture of the background.
Looking at the abstract background, try to see shapes, here I am looking for flowers or leaves shapes but you could choose another theme like an underwater scene or a landscape. Once you start to see some interesting shapes, you can outline them so it will be easier to paint around later.
For the next step, you want to paint everything on the canvas except those shapes you just outlined, This is called painting the negative space. Here I am using the white Acrylic to paint the negative space.
Use smaller paintbrushes to go around complex shapes.
Once the negative space has been painted you can start adding designs and patterns with markers.
Look at the positive shapes on your painting and start adding more details, here with a Sakura micron marker in blue.
You can also add details inside the positive shapes.
Sharpie Oil markers in white will work well on a dark background.
You can also paint with watercolors on top of the markers. Once dried they are water resistant.
You can also draw designs like flowers with markers on the white background.
And paint over these designs with watercolor.
To make an area darker, like here, you can paint over it with acrylic paint. Here I used Pebeo Payne’s grey, then added designs once the acrylic had dried with the Sharpie marker.
You can add stripes, dots, and more complex designs.
To finish the painting, paint the sides in white and apply some varnish.
Medium: mixed media on canvas
Size: 24 x 24 inches