5 Abstract Painting Tips From a Professional Artist

Abstract Paintings by Megan Elizabeth

Creating abstract artwork can be a freeing and liberating process. But, for many, it can be difficult to let go of the desire to paint a specifically recognizable “thing” or “object.” If you are looking for more clarity on how to paint abstractly, Megan Elizabeth is happy to help. The Maryland-based artist is known for her stunning abstract acrylic paintings that focus on capturing movement and light.

In her online course, Dappled Light: Learn Abstract Painting with Acrylics, she guides us through the process of creating two abstract paintings. As we paint along beside her, she reveals some of her tips and tricks for settling into the process and for embracing creative experimentation.

You'll not only end up with two beautiful canvases, but you'll also learn how to break down and translate a familiar object or a particular feeling into something abstract on the canvas. If you are still hesitant to begin, read on to get five tips from her course on how to paint abstractly. And then take the time to enroll in her course to get all the tools you need to feel confident when creating your own abstract art. The class is available on-demand, and you can watch as many times as you'd like, making it a lasting resource for artists of all skill levels.

Abstract Painting by Megan Elizabeth

Here are five tips from a successful artist on how to paint abstract art.


Know when to stop

Taking a break and stepping back is important. Megan suggests working on several pieces simultaneously, so you can curb your instinct to overwork your canvases and instead move between several different artworks. And if you find yourself being overly critical of a certain piece, step away and come back to it another day. Sometimes a pause can bring a fresh perspective.


A dry brush is your friend

There is a tendency to think that you need more paint to make your work complete, and that’s almost never the case. Using a dry brush technique will allow you to keep working and shifting things in your piece while avoiding unnecessary layers of paint.


Abstract Paintings by Megan Elizabeth


Embrace experimentation

When you aren’t painting a specific subject, it’s important to remember that the experimentation happening is the painting. And the creative process is part of the outcome, and if you can take the viewer on that journey with you, that’s the whole point.


Don’t look for outside validation

When working in an abstract style, you might question yourself. How do you know when the piece is finished? How do you know if it’s any good? It’s easy to get caught up in what others think of your art and seek out validation from friends or through social media. Embrace your own feelings about your work, share it if you’d like, and then try not to get too caught up in what others say. Whether it attracts a lot of compliments or not, there’s always something else to paint.


Tips for Creating Abstract Art


Let go

During the creative process, try to get in the zone. Don’t worry about mistakes as much as letting your natural instincts take over. You can always go back later if you really feel that there’s something you want to change. But in the end, it’s almost irrelevant what the piece looks like if you, as the artist, felt fulfilled while creating it.


Learn more about how to create abstract art in this fun online painting class with Megan Elizabeth.

Megan Elizabeth: Website | Instagram
My Modern Met Academy: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | TikTok

All images via Megan Elizabeth.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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