Abstract Art Painting Ideas

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Foxglove

Abstract flowers ideas for painting
From the Abstract Art Painting Ideas Photo Gallery. Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings.

If you're looking for painting ideas or abstract art inspiration, this collection of photos, and suggestions of how they could be developed into paintings, is the place to start. (For a demo, see How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.)

It's much easier to use something 'real' as the starting point for developing an abstract painting, rather than grabbing an idea out of nothing. Look at the photos for shapes and patterns, rather than what the object is. Simplify down the elements, consider alternate colors, focus in on a small part of the photo. Then do it again, and again. That's how ideas for paintings are developed.

You're welcome to use the photos to create paintings of your own, subject to these terms and conditions.

When you get really close to a foxglove, poking your nose into one of the segments, you're in a weird pattern of dots and splotches. Perfect for painting wet-on-wet, touching the tip a brush with one color onto a still-wet color, letting the paint spread.

Move out a bit and put a slice of the plant in your viewfinder, and you've a pattern of light and dark curves, plus dots and splotches.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Rose

Abstract flowers ideas for painting
From the Abstract Art Painting Ideas Photo Gallery. Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Because they have so many petals, roses are a flower that in the sunlight have all sorts of lovely shadows thrown within the flower. Not to forget the beauty of a back-lit petal. Turn a rose into an abstract of shapes, tones, and colors by selecting only a section. Consider making yourself a viewfinder, which makes it much easier to focus on only a section..

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Rose

Abstract flowers ideas for painting
From the Abstract Art Painting Ideas Photo Gallery. Photo © Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Move your viewpoint so you're seriously close to a rose. Pretend you're a honeybee aiming for the pollen... what do you see? Create an abstract painting by using only a tiny part of a rose as your whole composition. Use lines, light and dark shapes, tones, and colors as the elements of the composition, rather than the concept "a rose".

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Leaf Curl

Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

The leaves of the delicious monster plant (or Swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa) are an excellent place to look for inspiration because of the holes, circles, and curves that occur in them, plus the play of light and shadow.

What caught my eye here is the strong curve made by the edge of this battered leaf. I visualise simplifying down the painting, so you're working just with that curve, against a dark background (such as this).

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Leaf Curl Developed

Abstract Art Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This idea has developed from the photo of a curl in a leaf. Using photo editing software I painted most of the photo black so that just the curves I wanted to focus on remained. Then I adjusted the hue away from green, applied the watercolor effects filter, and rotated the result 90 degrees.

If I were to paint this on canvas (rather than on a computer), I'd do it with glazes, building up a complex color both in the background and on the curves. (The background as it is here is too flat and boring; I'd add some hint of curves echoing the main shape.)

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Leaf Curve

Ideas for Painting Abstracts
From the collection of abstract art painting ideas. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a close-up of a section of a leaf of a delicious monster plant (or Swiss cheese plant, Monstera deliciosa). What I would explore for an abstract is the gentles curves of the two edges of the leaf and the curves of the circular hole in it. Also the smoothness of the leaf against a textured background.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Orange Daisies

Abstract Art Painting Idea Daisy
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo is of the underside of two daisies, a less common view of flowers. For an abstract, study the negative spaces, and the interplay of shadow and color. Experiment with textures, such as making what's flower in the photo smooth and the background rough impasto.

Paint the shapes as areas of flat color, either complementary colors or adjacent. Experiment with tone, seeing how it turns out if you use a wide tonal range (very dark and very light) or a narrow tonal range (all tones are similar).

For a step-by-step demo of various ways to approach turning this photo into an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Incense Sticks

abstract art painting ideas incense Bryce Button
Photo: © Bryce Button

This photo is by a friend of mine, Bryce Button who works in the film industry, behind the camera, which is why he's got such a great eye. It was taken in Vietnam.

I love the pattern made by the smoke and the angles of the incense sticks. That red shape on the side seems intrusive, but put your hand up to cover it and the feeling of the photo changes immediately.

When working with this photo to develop a painting, I'd probably start by eliminating that red shape but rather trying out some extra strong colors in the smoke, or perhaps just red and white (see 'Incense Smoke in Red').

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Incense Smoke in Red

Abstract Art Painting Ideas Incense Smoke
Photo © Bryce Button

Taking Bryce's photo of incense sticks and smoke as a starting point, I used a filter in Corel Painter to change the smoke to red. I also cropped the photo to take out most of the incense sticks. I think the result is intriguing.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Glass Spiral

Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Glass Spiral by Donna Sheppard
Photo: © Donna Sheppard, Canada

This is a photo of a glass spiral that had broken and now sits horizontally in the sun on a glass shelf in my pegoda.

See also: Tips on Painting Glass.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Hibiscus 1

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

Just look at the strong lines in the photo! At the yellow and red dots.

For a step-by-step demo of how to turn this photo in an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Hibiscus 2

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a piece of a hibiscus flower with a digital watercolor filter applied to it. As an abstract I'd use cadmium red for an intense color and deep purplish blue for the darks. (Black straight from the tube tends to be too flat a color for me. If you use black, mix some blue into it, and a little red to create a more interesting color.)

For a step-by-step demo of how to turn this photo in an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Hibiscus 3

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a photo of part of a hibiscus flower that's had a digital watercolor filter applied to it. I see it as a painting done with very fluid paint, wet-in-wet. The background should be simple, not textured, so it doesn't compete for attention.

For a step-by-step demo of how to turn this photo in an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Hibiscus 4

Ideas for painting abstracts
From the collection of abstract art painting ideas. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo of a hibiscus flower was taken with a macro lens. By moving in really close and with such a shallow depth of field (what's in focus) that it begins to look like something alien rather than a plant. I envisage it as a painting done with an extremely smooth background and texture paste for the 'hairy spheres', with the one at the front having the most texture.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Hibiscus 5

Ideas for painting abstracts
From the collection of abstract art painting ideas. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo of a tiny section of a hibiscus flower was taken with a macro lens and, I think, lends itself to a painting done with texture paste for the fine hairs. Put your finger over the tiny bit of yellow and see what a different it makes; this speck of color makes the reds seem stronger.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Lily Leaves

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo of lily leaves was taken in the Okavango Delta in Botswana. It's not been digitally manipulated, those are the actual colors of the leaves.

The photo has a bit of 'visual debris' in it (e.g. reeds and grasses) that you'd leave out of a painting. I'd probably take out the stalks of the leaves too, working with the circles and colors against a single-colored background.

If you worked on a colored ground, rather than a white one, you wouldn't have to paint the background 'around' the leaves once you'd done them.

For an example of what could be done from this photo, see Lily Leaf Blues.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Lily Leaf Blues

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This idea developed from the photo of the lily leaves. It's been manipulated in a photo-editing program to change the hues to blues and a watercolor effects filter applied. This takes it one step away from 'reality' and into a pattern where the interplay of the circles and colors dominates. I visualise this as a series, each done in a different set of colors; each different yet related.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork Shadow 1

Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork Shadow
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

When searching for inspiration, don't forget the things close at hand. The strong vertical lines of the prongs of a fork and the curves of its shadow make an interesting contrast. Then there's the texture of the paper it's photographed against....

For two developments of this idea, check out:
• Fork in Green
• Fork or Ribs?

For a step-by-step demo of various ways to approach turning a photo into an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork in Green

Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork in Green
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is the photo of the fork shadow, adjusted so the shadow is green rather than black, as the first step in developing an idea for an abstract. The next step could be investigating the contrast of the solid color of the fork prongs and the softer, fuzzier color of the shadow.

(See also: Fork or Ribs?)

For a step-by-step demo of various ways to approach turning a photo into an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork or Ribs?

Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork or Ribs?
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

What does your mind try to see in this abstract? A set of ribs and a pelvic bone? Or a detail from a piece of ancient rock art? Actually it was developed from the Fork Shadow photo.

Don't see it? Well, it's the tips of the fork prongs (the black) and a bit of the shadow (the dark red). It's been turned 90 degrees and duplicated, with one half flipped. The one 'half' is more stretched than the other, rather than being an exact copy, which gives it a more organic feel.

By the way, did you know that you can create a textured surface by throwing some coarse salt onto watercolor paint that's still wet? Read: Using Salt in Watercolour.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork Shadow 2

Here the fork and shadow are much more intertwined than in this fork photo. But once again the strong vertical lines and curves make for a mix that's worth investigating (see one painting idea. Don't forget to consider the negative spaces either.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Fork Shadow 2 Developed

Abstract Art Painting Idea fork shadow
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This idea developed from the Fork Shadow 2 photo. I particularly like the way the shadow has become an element in its own, rather than attached to the fork.

Is the solid color in the background is too dull? Does it need some texture? Then again, if the dark areas were done with a painting knife and very textured, perhaps the background would want to be smooth, so it wasn't all too much.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

The bougainvillea is one of those plants made for trivia quizzes because what look like flowers aren't. The colorful 'flowers' that range from pinks to reds to oranges are actually bracts (leaves) that change color. Inside these there's a tiny flower that you hardly see.

Bougainvillea leaves are quite transparent, so when you're viewing them against the light you see all the veins, stems, and shadows, which makes for makes intriguing shapes and patterns.

I visualise using this photo for a painting in two quite different ways. The first is the pink 'flower', with its shapes and variations in tone. The second is to focus on the stems and leaves.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Developed

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This digital watercolor was developed from the photo of the bougainvillea. A small part of the photo was used (the bottom right-hand corner), colors changed, and the painting rotated. I think the blue background is too flat, and needs to be more complex a color, but I particularly like the echo of the three-pronged twig in green.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaves

abstract art painting ideas bougainvillea leaves
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This branch of bougainvillea leaves caught my eye because of the patterns made by the shapes of the leaves and the shadows, and the way the line of the branch cuts through this.

For a painting, I visualise it as being done in strong colors, not necessarily green, against a dark background. Reducing the elements down to their basic shapes.

For a sample of the possibilities, take a look at this yellow painting idea and red painting idea which were developed from part of one of the leaves (look closely and you'll see it). Consider how much they still say 'leaf' to you, and whether this changes if you rotate the painting by 90 or 180 degrees.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaf in Red

Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc
Abstract Art Painting Ideas

Here an idea generated by a bougainvillea leaf has been implemented using photo editing software. The background has been changed to a single, dark color; the photo cropped so the composition is dominated by the shapes and curves; and the hue changed to reds. (I also did a yellow version; not sure which I prefer.)

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaf in Yellow

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

Here an idea generated by a bougainvillea leaf has been developed using photo editing software. The background has been changed to a single, dark color; the photo cropped so the composition is dominated by the shapes and curves; and the hue changed to yellows and oranges.

I think this could make a beautiful series of paintings, done with glazes for rich colors.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Afrikaans Taal Monument Detail

Abstract Art Painting Ideas Afrikaans Taal Monument
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo was taken inside the monument to the Afrikaans Language near the town on Paarl (in the winelands near Cape Town, South Africa) looking up the largest column. The concrete the monument's made of is dull and boring, but playing with the patches of light and dark could be interesting (see manipulations I visualise with texture and one for glazes).

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Afrikaans Taal Monument Manipulated 1

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a digital manipulation of the photo of the Afrikaans Language Monument. I visualise it as a painting that's got a lot of texture in it, possibly done with a painting knife, though it would likely also work as a delicate watercolor.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Afrikaans Taal Monument Manipulated 2

Abstract Art Painting Ideas
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a digital manipulation of the photo of the Afrikaans Language Monument. I visualise it as a painting built up through glazing to create rich, deep colors. It doesn't entirely work for me yet as there are large areas that are too solid or even in color; it's a direction that needs playing with a bit more.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Monumental Origins

Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Monumental Origins
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Believe it or not, this also has its origins in a photo taken at the Afrikaans Language Monument, but it's fairly hard to see any tie between it and the monument. Now it's got a life of its own as a textured interplay of reds and oranges.

For a step-by-step demo of how to turn this photo in an abstract, read: .

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaf

This is a close-up photo of a leaf from a bougainvillea (rather than the colored bracts). What caught my eye was the curve of the edge of leaf, and the curve of the shadow on it.

For a painting, two approaches come to mind. Either simplify down the background, and probably the veins on the leaf too, so your focus is on the curve. Or keep the background 'blobs' of color and reduce the detail on the leaf so the painting is far busier, based on areas of color.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaf in Green and Red

Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

Taking this photo of a bougainvillea leaf as the starting point, I used photo editing software to alter the colors to the complementary colors red and green.

I think the result shows promise, but needs further development, starting with removing or reducing the number of veins on the leaf. Their straightness competes with the curves of the leaf's edge and the shadow.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Bougainvillea Leaf in Oranges

Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

Taking this photo of a bougainvillea leaf as the starting point, I used photo editing software to alter the colors to the complementary colors of orange and blue.

I prefer this to the version in red and green, but would also, as the next stage in developing the idea, eliminate the straight lines of the leaf veins.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Labyrinth Photo

Abstract Art Painting idea labyrinth
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a section of the labyrinth in the courtyard of St George's Cathedral in Cape Town, South Africa. Labyrinths are found in many religious traditions" and this one is a replica of the labyrinth laid in the floor of Chartres Cathedral [in France] around 1220".

The pattern of the labyrinth and the colors of the individual bricks are where I'd start. See the variation in blues and yellows, the one with greens and reds emphasised, and a kaleidoscopic version.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Labyrinth Developed 1

Abstract Art Painting Idea Labyrinth
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This is a development from the photo of a labyrinth, pondering colors and which way is really 'up'.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Labyrinth Developed 2

Abstract Art Painting Idea labyrinth
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This idea developed from the photo of a labyrinth, playing with colors and the angle of what our brain reads as "up".

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Labyrinth Tiled

Abstract Art Painting Idea labyrinth
Image: © 2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This image is a variation of a idea developed from a labyrinth photo. It's been copied and rotated, forming a kaleidoscope-type image. I imagine it done with watercolor, one color at a time, first wetting the area a color was to go in, then dropping it in with a brush and turning the paper to let it run into the damp areas.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Flower 1

Abstract Art Painting Ideas from Flowers
© Karen Vath

This striking flower photo was taken by Karen Vath. Ideas that come to mind are investigating the shape (as isolated on the white background on the right-hand side) and creating patterns with it in various strong colors. Or contrasting a textured background (the ground/leaves) against areas of smooth, flat color (the flower).

See also: Karen's Step-by-step Abstract Art Demo

For a step-by-step demo of various ways to approach turning a photo into an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Idea: Rose Bud

Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Rose
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

This photo is of a rose bud with part of an open rose in the foreground. Both elements have a very different feel to them; one's angular and sharp, the other round and gentle. Both elements fight for the viewer's attention.

Use unexpected colors, such as green or blue for the rose, an it immediately takes it one step away from reality.

Convey a feeling of fluffy softness in the foreground by using smooth paint with sharply defined edges (hard edges), perhaps using the back of a brush to draw a line (sgraffito). Consider continuing it all the way around the bud, into the areas that are green in the photo. For a step-by-step demo of various ways to approach turning this photo into an abstract, read: How to Paint Abstracts from a Photo.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Colors and Textures in the Sea 2

Abstract painting ideas from the sea
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Photo © 2008 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Colors and Textures in the Sea

Abstract painting ideas from the sea
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Photo © 2008 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Colors and Textures in the Sea 3

Abstract painting ideas from the sea
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Photo © 2008 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.
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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Beach Pebbles

Abstract Art Painting Ideas Beach Pebbles
Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans Licensed to About.com, Inc

You probably won't believe me, but I didn't cart that yellow stone from one side of the beach to the other, it was lying there, an aberrant yellow streak among the greys and browns.

I visualise this as a textural painting, done with a painting knife, creating a contrast between the pebbles and the corner of smooth sea sand.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Waterfall 1

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This photo of a waterfall was taken with a long exposure, which meant that the motion of the water was captured as a blur, rather than frozen in place, such as this photo. The water plants with their thin, hair-like texture seem to echo the white threads caused by bubbles in the water.

I think it lends itself to a textural painting, or perhaps one where texture is scratched into the gesso before you start painting.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Waterfall 2

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This photo was taken with a short shutter speed, freezing the water as it falls, and the individual bubbles at the bottom of the waterfall. It's got quite a different feel to this photo photo where the motion of the water is blurred.

I think this lends itself to a painting done with contrasting areas of smooth paint (the dark areas) and texture (the grays and whites of the water). I'd probably zoom in somewhat, like this.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Waterfall 3

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This photo of a waterfall is taken even closer up than this waterfall photograph. I think is even more effective as an abstraction as it's less clear what its origins are. (Of course, you can zoom in even closer, as in this photograph, where you can see tiny bubbles you couldn't with a naked eye.)

I think this lends itself to a painting where one half is done in a very textural manner (the white bubbles area) and the other smooth but thick paint (the dark area). In terms of composition, consider turning it 90 degrees to the left, so the dark area is at the bottom.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Water Drops

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This photo freezes a moment in the action from this waterfall. By zooming in really close, tiny bubbles and water drops can be seen in a way you can't with a naked eye.

I would paint it by first creating a background -- the white at the top and the dark at the bottom (use a chromatic black rather than black from a tube). Once this had dried, I'd splatter paint the frozen drops -- using fairly runny paint, flick your brush at the canvas or paper, rather than painting the paint on. If you've not done this before, practice a bit beforehand. While it is a random technique, you can with practice get some measure of control over it.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Water Bubbles

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is a photo of bubbles formed naturally at the bottom of a small waterfall in a freshwater stream. The oranges and yellows come from the rocky bottom of the stream, while the deep blacks and greens come from plants and algae growing in the water.

I love the contrast between the strong, definite shapes of the bubbles and the loose colors beneath them. I'd paint the background first, working wet-on-wet to let the colors flow into one another, then let it dry completely before adding the bubbles. If you're working in watercolor, use white gouache to paint the bubbles on top of the background.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas: Water Ripples

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

A single leaf touching the water has created the ripples, while the sun has created the bands of light.

I would remove the leaf when I painted this, painting just the ripples it creates. Something like this digital watercolor.

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Abstract Art Painting Ideas Water Ripples (Digital Watercolor)

Reference Photos for Artists: Abstracts from Nature
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Image: ©2006 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

This is a digital watercolor created from this photo of ripples created in a stream by a leaf just touching the surface of the water. The lights and darks of the ripples, together with the various colors of the rocks in the water, make an intriguing painting.

The lights could be put in using the sgraffito painting technique.

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Abstract Painting Ideas: Electricity Tower

Reference photo for painting powerline tower
Get inspiration and ideas for abstract paintings. Photo © 2009 Marion Boddy-Evans. Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Use the strong lines in this electricity tower (photographed from below) as the starting point for a geometric abstract painting. Consider using the black for the lines and a different color in each section. Or sgraffito to scratch the lines in wet paint.