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by Robert Joyner

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How To Paint Abstract Horses With Acrylic Paint - Develop Your Approach

Abstract Horse Painting Techniques - Develop Your Approach

How To Paint Abstract Horses With Acrylic Paint - Develop Your Approach

Learn how to paint abstract horses with acrylics paint. But before I begin you need to know something. I can't teach you how to do this! Why? Because painting abstract, or expressively, requires your emotional response and personal interpretation. And I have no idea who you are, the life you lived, the energy you bring to the easel and so on. But what I can do is share an approach that works for me. This approach will help you develop the connections needed and hopefully you will find your way.

There's a lot of work to do and without doing some due diligence it's nearly impossible to reach your loose painting potential.

Step One: Connect With Charcoal, or Graphite

To create abstract horses it's important to explore the subject by using a very simple medium which in this case it's charcoal. Note that I'm not painting a composition, or complete study of the horse. I feel this would limit me in what I'm trying to do and that's find the features and edges I connect with and to express them in a very loose way. This is where the abstract qualities come from and without these steps I wouldn't have any experience in how to abstract the horse.

The Mistake: Many artists are too lazy to follow these steps and hastily move right to creating finished art. That's usually where the frustration sets in and the results are trite and boring. If you spend more time doodling and experimenting you'll unlock limitless opportunities and methods for abstracting any subject.

Keep In Mind

  • This is more of a gestural sketch - finding and experimenting with features and shapes
  • Try to discover the angles of the horse relative to the 90 degree angles of the image. Using the edges of the paper can help you understand the edges of the horse.
  • The main focus is to identify with a few features and explore the shape of it - avoid trying to draw the entire horse.

Demonstration Images

Graphite horse sketch #1

Graphite horse sketch #2

Graphite horse sketch #4

Graphite horse sketch #3

Step Two: Sketching With Acrylic

Now that you have explored drawing expressively you can enjoy experimenting with brushwork and color. This can be a lot of fun if you take time to invest here. I personally feel this is where you will discover your style and expressive painting techniques.

Keep This In Mind As You Explore This Step

  • It’s all about color and brushwork as I break down the details and features.
  • This is not a composition sketch - still exploring the subject.
  • Under mixing the paint on the palette allows for the colors to mingle on the paper.
  • Avoid trying to capture the exact shapes - just an interpretation of color.
  • Using a small outliner is a fabulous way to add linear interest.
  • Use arbitrary colors as much as possible - find how far you can push color.
  • Sketching is where you develop freedom, creativity and style. Can’t stress this enough.
  • Use the negative space to shape features and edges.
  • Through acrylic sketching I’ve discovered many color combinations that I wouldn’t have discovered if I didn’t take this time to explore.
  • I notice how my art tends to become boring is I don’t spend quality time sketch with charcoal, graphite & color.

Demonstration Images

Abstract Acrylic Horse Sketch #1

Abstract Acrylic Horse Sketch #2

Abstract Acrylic Horse Sketch #3

Acrylic Sketch #5

Acrylic Sketch #5

Note: This is the free version. If you would like access to the Premium Video Tutorial Version it's available via SkillShare

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