How to paint a picture

Photo-realistic vs. abstract - technology vs. feeling

At first glance, it may be harder to create a totally realistic image of something: to paint a portrait that looks like a photograph. Or a painted landscape that resembles the “real” environment down to the last detail.

But while photorealistic painting is primarily “craftsmanship” that you can learn by being taught different techniques, perspectives, etc., the abstract image needs one thing above all else:

YOUR feeling.

YOUR experience.

And above all: YOUR courage to lead this image into the abstract.

If you've ever tried to paint an abstract picture, you may have noticed that it's not as easy as it seems at first. You always think that you just start painting and then it will be fine. Not at all!

It's not the techniques that make it difficult for us here.
It is our own blockages, fears and expectations that hold us back.

Painting an abstract picture: The picture is created before it becomes visible

If you want to paint an abstract picture - regardless of whether you want to paint nature, an object, a person or an animal - then the creation of your picture does NOT start with putting the pen on the paper. It starts much earlier! 🙂

Because first and foremost it is about that you perceive what you want to paint in YOU.

If you want to paint nature, you can, for example, use a mindful walk help through this very nature in advance to collect your own personal impressions.

  • What do you perceive while you are walking?
  • What can you smell, see, hear, feel, maybe also taste?
  • What things are you particularly fascinated by?
  • What is your heart beating at?
  • Where do you feel the liveliness, joy, gratitude, astonishment, love?
  • What feelings can you perceive while walking through the landscape?

These are all things that you bring into your picture later.

It also works if you Paint people, animals, objects want and your picture should be abstract. Also here pay attention to your feelings, your perceptions, your experiences. What do you perceive in yourself while you look at the “object of your desire” or also imagine yourself inside?

Painting abstract: from the inside out

When you start painting in the next step, close your eyes briefly and go inside.

Again, remember your experiences and perceptions intensely.

Perhaps you are already able to see some experiences and feelings in colors - or certain shapes, patterns, lines come to mind.

Take all of this seriously! These are precisely the things that make your picture special and unique afterwards - and create the connection to yourself!

Then when you paint, try to stay with your feelings, memories and perceptions.

Draw carefully, each stroke with care. But above all, always in tune with yourself!

Follow your impulses, however “impossible” they may feel to your head at first. Everything is allowed - especially when it can be abstract 🙂

If you find it difficult to get started in the abstract picture

A little tip from me:

If you find it difficult to get into the abstract right away, stick with reality when you start painting.

Paint what is familiar to you.

Paint as it gives you security and orientation.

Your image can grow with you and develop very slowly, step by step. You can always lead it from the realistic depiction into the abstract.

If you with Watercolor paints paint, it is best to start with delicate, washed-out colors, then you can later use more and more courageous abstracts with stronger colors.

With Acrylics you have the possibility to easily lay several layers of paint on top of each other and to paint over your picture again and again until it is coherent. So you can't go wrong at all!

Painting an abstract picture: a small example

Here I show you a small example from my Art Journal. I painted outside and sat by a small lake to do so.

First I have one long walk undertaken and perceived my surroundings as carefully as possible. On those first sunny spring days, it wasn't difficult to enjoy the walk and to be happy about the first colored flowers, small buds and the warm light of the sun 🙂

Then I started painting very carefully with one almost realistic image of some trees. I created the lake that was in my sight a little more courageously in different colors.

I have added to my picture piece by piece. Slowly, with delicate colors at first, then a little stronger.

And then suddenly he was there - the first impulseto move away from the “normal” image towards an abstract image. I followed my inner voice and gave myself completely to my feelings, my experiences and my perception. Feelings of spring came alive in me, the pictures of my walk and suddenly there were so many colors that absolutely wanted to be on the picture!

The more courageously I painted, the less I worried about whether someone would recognize the motif or whether it still had something to do with the reality around me.

It became more and more important to me to put my OWN experience in this picture.

I took the picture home and finished it there. Still in the feeling of this walk and the joy of the colors and shapes of spring!

Just look how it has changed and evolved:

Now it's all mine. Inside and outside are in complete harmony 🙂

What is an abstract image - and what is not

To paint an abstract picture does not mean to bring something onto the picture that no one recognizes - and then to give the picture any title.

It is also not a picture that someone has painted this way because they “cannot paint it more realistically”.

It is an image that brings something inside out. A feeling. An experience. A theme. Painted consciously or unconsciously.

The point is that you can feel free while painting and that your very own picture can emerge.

The point is that this image that arises corresponds to YOU ​​and reflects what is important to you, what is in you.

This creates a unique connection between you and the picture. And your picture is given expression, a mood that the viewer can perceive but cannot grasp in words.

And so your very own style gradually develops.

What do you need for that?
Actually only the courage to follow your inner voice and to trust your intuition, your feelings.

Painting an abstract picture is a wonderful experience because it gives you infinite freedom. Everything is allowed, there is no right or wrong. You can put everything that is present in you right now in this picture.