Tag Archives: abstract acrylic painting

Little Florals – Getting Grounded

Since the beginning of April, I have been a bit uninspired to continue my abstract painting. Although I will never give up paintings abstracts, there are times when I feel a more structured painting would help me to become more creative.

So I decided to take a “break” and get myself grounded once again. The way I do this is to paint something with a more realistic approach. Since I love, love, love flowers – there aren’t many who don’t – I decided to paint some small 12×12″ florals in acrylic.


March Tulips

First, I decided to do tulips. I remember my first trials at painting these seemingly simple flowers in watercolor several years ago. After painting “umpteen” tulips, I finally got it! So my first small acrylic is of some March Tulips. I painted these in warm colors to signify the warming of the earth as spring rolls ’round.

bearded irises

Iris Parade

Next, I painted my most favorite of flowers – the bearded iris. My challenge was to paint these in more or less of a straight line arrangement; thus, Iris Parade was formulated in my mind. I decided to paint them in cool colors since the first floral of tulips was in warm tones.

And finally, since there are no flowers without a few weeds amongst them, I decided to paint a milk thistle. Their lovely fluffy heads and oddly shaped tendrils surrounding them intrigued me. I loved using a small brush to paint multiple layers of magenta, ultramarine blue and white to create the flower head.


Milk Thistle

My foray into painting a few florals has now made me yearn to go back to working more expressively. Doing more detailed work impresses upon me how much I love putting my feeling into paintings. Now that I am “grounded” I can happily and eagerly return to creating some new abstract acrylic paintings.


Merit – Getting Inspiration from Everyday Things



Finding inspiration for an abstract piece of artwork can come from obvious but often unnoticed objects. You can find inspiration in the bark of trees, in the colors at a farmer’s market, in the shadows on the wall…almost anywhere your eye can wander.

The inspiration for my latest painting, Merit, was inspired by an advertisement photo of various colored ribbons on spools. In order to not break any copyright laws, I have not posted the photo and my painting does not show a realistic representation of the photo.

Merit, Starting Out

Merit, Beginning of the Painting

The layout of the advertisement was used as an inspiration and I revised it to fit the canvas and conform to what I had in mind. The colors are not inspired by the photo as I wanted my painting to be much more vibrant. The spools were transformed into rectangular shapes and colors for the background were chosen with an eye for continuity in the painting.

Some breaks between the rectangular shapes were created with softened areas to give a smooth transition and a path for the eye to follow. In other areas, shadows were added to the edges of the shapes to give them a feeling of depth. When adding the shadows, I kept in  mind that the light source was coming from above left. This helped not only with shadows, but with adding highlights to various areas.

A bit of stenciling was added to the curved shape to add a bit of texture and interest to the painting. A voila! Merit was complete!

Now, I challenge you to find something in your everyday life that inspires you to make a new creation, be it a painting, a quilt, fabric art or wearable art, a 3D structure, a collage, whatever you like. Happy creating!

Pizzazz (Abstract Acrylic Painting)


Pizzazz, abstract acrylic 20″x 24″

Finally the holidays are over and I am ready to begin painting in the new year. Since it is such a busy time of year for me, I have painted three smaller abstracts so far. But in this blog post, I am focusing on explaining my process for painting “Pizzazz.”

Acrylic paint
Pizzazz, paint applied


Starting out, I squeezed some random paint in the colors I wished to use for the painting. I chose white, turquoise, ultramarine blue and cadmium red. These were applied roughly in a pattern that I had in mind.

Pizazz acrylic abstract
Pizzazz, first layers

Then I spread the paint around with a large bristle brush, letting them mix and mingle. Using a small cup, I stamped some circles into the wet paint and used a wine cork to apply and/or remove paint from various areas. I placed these circles in a more-or-less cruciform pattern to assure a nice composition. Though I wanted circles to predominate, I felt the painting might become boring if this were the only design. So I decided to use a zig-zag stencil in some areas to provide variety.

Pizazz with stenciling
Pizzazz, with zig-zag stenciling

Though the painting was coming along nicely, I studied it and decided it needed more definition. Lines were added in a geometric pattern across the painting using a palette knife and black and white paint. Some, but not all, of the shapes formed were painted over with a layer of paint mixed in various shades of gray. All colors used in the painting were used to mix these grays. A paper towel was used to remove paint and let the background show through in some of the areas.

Pizazz Closeup
Pizzazz, closeup

In my eyes, it was still not finished. I dipped my small cup into white, blue and light blue acrylic paint and added more circles to the focal area, as well as a few smaller circles made by dipping the wine cork into these same colors. Being satisfied with the results, I considered the painting finished. It reminds me of spunk and determination; therefore, I named it “Pizzazz.”

Serenity – Did I make a mistake? (acrylic, abstract)



Above you see my abstract acrylic painting entitled “Serenity.” As I tell you my process of painting this, I ponder the fact that I may have made a mistake. Woe be to me! But mistakes are to be teaching mechanisms, so I’ll chalk this one up to being a learning experience.

Not to be discouraged, though, I am okay with how this painting turned out. It does give a feeling of serene peacefulness, which is what I was trying to say.



Serenity – First Washes

My first washes were horizontal and vertical, using cool peaceful shades of blue, green and mauve. I eventually added some darker shades, a mixture close to black, to enhance the composition.Penny-Bantle_Serenity_Collage-Placement

Some collage pieces were placed over the painting at this point to see what effect they might have.

Used dryer sheets are often employed in my paintings to create interesting texture. Placing the sheets onto wet paint, then scraping with a palette knife, can soften areas as well. I had saved some of these used dryer sheets with dried paint on them. They were cut into some interesting shapes and placed over the painting.Penny-Bantle_Serenity_Closeup_Collage

This is perhaps where I made my mistake. The collage pieces do seem to add some dynamism to an otherwise boring composition. I contemplated gluing them down and adding more paint to integrate them into the painting.

But my goal was to describe serenity and peace and I felt the collage detracted from those feelings. Had I used the collage pieces, I may have displayed a different emotion altogether.

So often, our decisions are based on emotions you have at the time – at that very moment. They are influenced by your surroundings, events taking place in your life, and how you, as an individual, are feeling. How you express these emotions is what makes you who you are.

My final painting expressed my feelings at the time. Looking back and regretting the process can only make one feel depressed, inadequate even. So next time, I will delay my decisions until another day when I may have a different goal in mind, a different feeling to express, and perhaps a better painting to post!

UPDATE 5/28/16: I did paint over this one. It just didn’t see to have that zing that I strive for. It did make a wonderful base for my new painting though.


Seeds of Joy (Abstract, Acrylic)

Abstract, Acrylic

Seeds of Joy

Since I was feeling a bit blue and stressed, I decided to paint a joyful abstract. I felt it might cheer me up a bit – and cheer me up, it did!


Seeds of Joy, First Wash

A quite colorful first wash was put onto the canvas using a large palette knife. I used bright yellows and reds, which always evoke a feeling of happiness within me.


Seeds of Joy, In Progress

Next, I began adding some ultramarine blue and used the bottom of a foam egg carton dipped in paint as a stamp. To make it more interesting, I also dipped the egg carton in red paint and added a few more stamps. This added some texture and the egg carton created the circular marks you see. I also used a small round stencil in various areas that may be difficult to see on the large photograph. A closeup photo is included to show these marks, as well as some of the circular marks made by the egg carton.

Seeds of Joy, closeup showing yellow stenciling

Seeds of Joy, closeup showing yellow stenciling

At this point, I assessed the painting and decided it appeared to look as though flowers or grasses were bursting, ready to spread their seeds. Seeds of Joy as a title came to mind, so I let this theme take over. I continued, deciding to add some white to depict the bursting of the seeds as they were being spread into the wind.Penny-Bantle_Seeds-of-Joy_Final-Touchup

At this point, I took a photograph and viewed it on my computer to see if it was finished. I decided that it was. All in all, the process of painting and the resulting joyful abstract changed my emotions from “down in the dumps” to “Seeds of Joy.” I hope it brings some “Seeds of Joy” to you, as well.

Painting a Heart Attack (Abstract, Acrylic)



My posts have been lapsing lately due to the fact that I had a heart attack on September 11th. Yes, I had my own disaster on 9/11 and though it was not a national tragedy, it was a personal one.

Because my attack came on due to a stressful situation, I had a lot of anger and anxiety building up within me. A good friend, Vivian T., suggested that I “paint” my heart attack. So at the first opportunity and when I was feeling somewhat better, I chose a canvas and some paints and began.

Heartfelt, First Washes

Heartfelt, First Washes

My color choices were indicative of the anger and stress I was feeling and my strokes were long and swift. I made use of full arm movement with a large brush to lay down the first washes, working off some of the stress I was feeling.

Cadmium yellow and cadmium red along with some titanium white and burnt sienna fit my mood perfectly and I was off to a great start.

Next, I took a trusty palette knife and began scraping on more paint of the same hues, at the same time removing some of the previous wash that had not yet dried. Jabbing and jerky movements were used to relieve some of the anger I was feeling. This left some rather angry-looking strokes, reminiscent of the spikes on an EKG. Ah, this was definitely helping me come to terms with my situation.

Heartfelt, Sgraffito Lines added

Heartfelt, Sgraffito Lines added

Then I used a chopstick to scribble some sgraffito lines into the composition, allowing some of the first layer to show through. This enhanced the painting and made me feel even better.

By this time, I was feeling tired, but invigorated by the relief I was feeling. Painting seemed to melt away some of my angst and my stress level was improving.

Heartfelt, After Red Splatters

Heartfelt, After Red Splatters

Sitting back and looking at the painting thus far, I felt that bit of red splattering might mimic the blood flow that is blocked off during a heart attack. So I grabbed a brush, loaded it with red paint and made a few, hopefully well placed, splatters over the painting. I was careful not to over-do this as I wanted my initial strokes and sgraffito to be at the forefront. The splatters were made as an enhancement to the painting.

Voila! Stress level decreased! Painting Finished!

PS: Naming the painting was a tough decision. I felt that “Heart Attack” was too personal, too real. So I named it “Heartfelt.” I hope you agree.

Acrylic Abstract Collage: Discovering Street Covers

Fractured Utilities - inspired by water meters and street covers

Fractured Utilities – inspired by “street covers”

My love of what I call “Street Covers” began when I lived in an older part of Springfield. My daily  walks around the area were enhanced by my love of the old architecture and plantings in the area. But the walk was becoming rather boring once I used to seeing all of this, beautiful though it was. That is, until I discovered the wonderful design and textures of the water meter and gas covers placed in sidewalks and grassy strips along the streets. I began looking for different styles, sizes and designs in these lovely, but necessary covers.

Street Cover - Harry Cooper Supply Co

Harry Cooper Water Meter

Street cover - gas access

Gas access cover

On my walks, I began taking a camera to photograph the street covers. Several photos of these lovely covers were added to my “inspiration” file for future reference.

For several months, I tried to decide how to add some of these to my watercolors, which was the type of artwork I did at the time. But the industrial nature of the covers and the lovely flowing nature of watercolors did not seem to be compatible, and I could think of no way to effectively put them into a painting.

Since then, my husband, Don, and I have moved twice and the idea was forgotten.

But, behold!, when I began doing acrylic abstracts, I was searching my computer in my “inspiration” photos folder for fodder for another painting when I came across these lovely meter cover photos. And I was thus inspired to try once again to insert them into a piece of artwork – this time a bolder acrylic abstract.

Street Cover, Neenah Foundry

Neenah Foundry cover

After walking the new neighborhood several times, I found several of the same meter covers I had seen on the north central side of town. Although there was more variety and many older, more interesting ones in our old neighborhood, the new neighborhood still had some very interesting covers….enough for an acrylic abstract collage.

Finally, I remembered to take some parchment paper and a couple of sets of water soluble oil pastels along for the walk. I’m sure people passing by, as well as any neighbors who happened to look out thought I was slightly addled! I would sit on the sidewalk, or grassy area – sometimes even the edge of a lawn – place my parchment paper over the meter (after brushing and blowing away debris) and rub away with my crayons. Several rubbings of street covers in the area were made in various colors.

One idea for collaging street cover rubbings

Street Cover Rubbings Placement – one idea

When I got home with my rubbings in hand, I took a 24×36″ canvas and, after tearing the rubbings into large and small pieces, began arranging them onto the canvas. When I was satisfied with the composition and color placement of the pieces, I photographed the canvas so I could refer to it when gluing on the pieces.

The torn rubbings were removed and my photo was used to place and glue the pieces onto the canvas. Left to dry overnight, the collage/abstract acrylic was ready for some acrylic painting. I decided to mix some colorful grays to simulate the sidewalks in which many of these street covers had resided. As you can see in the final painting at the top of this post, these grays ranged from a cool lavender to a warmer mix with some burnt sienna in it. The edges of all of the collage pieces were covered with paint to help make sure they were integrated into the painting.

When finished, the painting was left to dry for several days before receiving a couple of coats of UV protective spray varnish.

There you have it! Fractured Utilities – an inspired colorful acrylic abstract collage of street covers.