Abstract Oil Painting Techniques

When you know about abstract oil painting techniques, you must be curious to know why it is known as abstract? So, let us first clear the idea of the term ‘abstract’. 

Abstraction means a deviation from realism in portraying imagination in art. This departure from realism can be a little partial or full. An example of total abstraction is a geometric abstraction. 

Therefore, an abstract artist’s thoughts depend mostly on lines, shapes, and colors. 

Abstract Painting Is Not Easy as You Think

While abstract painting may appear simple, it might be more difficult to master than standard or traditional painting. This is because abstract art goes against traditional rules and conventions. As an artist, it is up to you to defy norms, be creative, and define what constitutes art. 

To begin, prepare for painting. Then decide if you want to make an abstract geometric painting at random or a minimalist geometric abstract artwork with strong geometric shapes or if you would rather concentrate on the painting technique.

Characteristics Of Abstracts

You are aware that the concept of abstract painting originated in the twentieth century. Several painters experimented with the new technique. They rejected the three-dimensional concept of the formal artists and began painting with novel approaches. They incorporated vibrant colors, new color combinations, and a unique shape based on their concept. They dubbed their picture “pure art” because it originated with the artist and was not taken directly from nature.

You know abstracts do not comply with any rules. Yes, there is depth. A foreground, a center-ground, and a background all are possible. Hence the more richness you provide to your painting, the more time the spectator will explore it.

What Is Abstract Oil Painting?

Abstract painting is a type of painting that does not depend on real life. Instead, it uses forms, colors, and geometrical shapes to attract a feeling or emotion rather than creating an exact similarity.

Abstract oil painting is all about generating fascinating effects, whether through the use of a distinctive texture, a metallic appearance, or a bold color combination. 

The effects you may achieve with oil painting are quite distinct from those achieved with other mediums like acrylic because oil is a versatile and adaptable medium that you may use to create several effects. 

Master These Abstract Painting Technique

Color Theory Technique

Buy a color wheel that displays different colors and form ideas about primary, secondary, and tertiary colors. A color wheel is divided into primary colors, secondary colors, and tertiary colors at its most fundamental level. These colors are red, blue, and yellow, respectively. 

Next, secondary shades such as green, orange, and purple are created by blending these fundamental colors. Finally, combining primary and secondary colors results in tertiary shades. They come in yellow-orange, red-orange, red-purple, blue-purple, blue-green, and yellow-green varieties. 

To familiarize yourself with the process of color production, consider creating your color wheel. This will assist you in creating diverse color combinations.

Learn About Warm and Cool Colors

Warm colors create a feeling of movement and advancement. Red, yellow, orange are the warm colors. Blue, greens, and purple are cool colors, and they represent retreat or little movement. They are calm colors.

Color Harmonies

There are several formulas for choosing colors that work well together. 

Analogous colors: Pick two or three colors from the color wheel that are adjacent to one another. While one of the hues will likely stand out, all three will look fantastic when combined.

Complimentary Colors

Two colors are opposed diametrically on the color wheel. These vibrant hues can definitely stand out.

Triadic Colors

Choose three colors that are distributed uniformly on the color wheel as triadic colors. If you connect the colors with a line, you will get a vibrant colored triangle. 

Minimalist Geometric Technique

Construct a textured backdrop. Applying artist-quality Gesso, a thick gel-like preparation is one of the simplest ways to accomplish this. Apply it as you would paint or spread it with a palette knife if it is sufficiently thick. This gives you complete control over the texture’s appearance. 

Additionally, you might use a strong paper or poster board. This method eliminates the requirement for surface preparation or priming.

Create lines with a ruler and pencil. Along with vertical lines, you should draw many horizontal lines with varied spacing between them. You may draw as many lines as you wish, but keep in mind that fewer lines result in larger squares and rectangles.

Draw the lines. Create powerful lines with black paint. You can increase the thickness of some lines and decrease the thickness of others. Your painting will now take the shape of a grid with black lines.

Paint only a few squares and rectangles. Utilize primary colors (red, blue, and yellow) to paint numerous shapes. If you fill in every box, this will result in an overcrowded and confusing painting. Rather than that, pick a few simple shapes to paint. They will be more noticeable.

Leave some white space untouched. The white space will draw attention to the primary-colored rectangles.

Layering Technique

Abstract oil painting gives a painter the freedom to completely cover other layers as long as the previous layers of paint are dry. Thus, oil painting permits the artist to paint over and cover them. 

If you intend to use numerous layers, begin with lighter-colored paint in thinner layers. Increase the thickness of your layers and the intensity of your colors gradually.

Geometric Shape Technique

Abstract compositions with geometric features and harmony may require a detailed design to paint over. Either invest in some tools to assist you in making geometric forms or begin by sketching your design on a smaller piece of paper and scaling it up utilizing the grid approach.

Alternatively, you can use painter’s tape to outline desired forms, ensuring that lines remain sharp and tidy.

Dark To Light

Additionally, you must master the art of painting from dark to bright. After your translucent layers have been completed, you can begin painting with opaque colors. 

These are typically lighter, creamier, and more saturated shades. Transparent and opaque hues exist within every color family. Opaque fabrics will conceal any layers beneath them. 

Utilize your opaque paints to create form and depth. Of course, you can always combine transparent and opaques, but keep in mind that they will become opaque when mixed. As the last stage, add highlights and white to bring your painting to life.

The majority of people who appreciate art adore the appearance of oil paintings but are frightened to experiment with them. We understand the most from our errors. It becomes easier as you work more with the colors, and before you know it, you’ll be proficient in oil paint mixing. Prepare to fall in love with oil painting with the help of these three approaches!

Stencils To Paint Abstract 

This one, I believe, does not require much explanation. Stencils are an excellent method to include little patterns into your work. They are inexpensive and come in a variety of forms and patterns.

Additionally, if you already have a 3D printer, countless free downloads are available to let you create your customized stencils.

Indeed, as an artist with design talents, you could possibly even design your stencils. 

Semi-Translucent Abstract Artwork

Maintaining color consistency is essential while using this abstract painting method. This is a multi-layer approach. Take the thickest consistency of paint that you wish to retain visibility after applying a thin layer of acrylic paint.

Abstract Painting with The Sgraffito Technique

Among the many abstract painting techniques and ideas, this one is the most enjoyable. First, you’ll need to assemble instruments for scratching paint onto the surface. Scratch carefully to avoid damaging the painting’s foundation layers.

Color Contrast

Make use of contrast colors in your art. It will create a three-dimensional feeling.

Thin To Thick Technique

This normally means that you should begin with lighter washes and progressively increase the thickness of your paint as you apply additional coats. This technique works exceptionally well with transparent paints. They become significantly lighter and translucent when used with an oil painting medium. Let the old layer dry fully before approaching the next layer of the painting. 

Otherwise, your oil paint will quickly get extremely muddy. By incorporating quick-drying media into your paint, you may significantly reduce the drying period to as little as 12 hours! Without the use of any media, your oil paintings may take days, if not weeks, to dry.

Practice Can Make an Abstract Painter Successful

There is a reason that some abstract painters have become well-known in the art world. What distinguishes many of them is their intention, thought, refinement, delicacy, and expertise in their creations.

It is necessary to understand the properties of oil paint, like its drying time and how to apply it to the canvas to achieve the desired effects. Techniques, brushwork, color theory, and how to design (i.e., compose a painting) are all key concepts of oil painting that contribute to an artist’s expertise in abstract painting.

A painting’s design requires forethought. First, prepare the composition (shape and focal point), the color palette, and the technique for layering paint.

Once you’ve developed an eye for what looks nice and the skill to lay down paint in the manner in which you plan, you can freely violate compositional or color theory restrictions. The application of paint will feel instinctive, and the results will almost always be as desired.

Mastery Of Color

Be a master of colors. First, learn the basics of color theory, including blending and mixing colors, before you start painting. Then, you can immediately improve your skills by controlling the color’s tones, ratios, and saturation levels.

It’s critical to understand subtlety, nuance, and contrast when combining colors.

Inexperienced painters frequently choose overly saturated colors and fail to tone them down. To generate muted tones, combine complementary colors.


Abstract paintings represent the imagination with wisdom. For example, one might perceive twisted lines and tangled figures in abstract painting. It needs the specific quality of vision to interpret an abstract artwork. Since abstract art is formed based on liberty and creativity, new techniques are always being produced. So, no list of techniques of abstract painting is complete. 

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