Tropic Drawing

Abstract painting creates different shapes, sizes, textures, lines, and patterns. If you’re a beginner, there’s no need to worry. Today’s art guide will help you with abstract art and translating ideas into watercolor. These easy painting tips will also help you create your first-ever abstract watercolor painting.

What are the necessary steps for creating your abstract watercolor painting? Is abstract watercolor painting for beginners? What are the essential materials for your abstract watercolor painting? You’ll be able to answer all these questions and more!

abstract watercolor
Watercolor is a difficult yet rewarding medium.


Why Abstract Watercolor Painting?

Watercolor is one of the most straightforward painting media for an artist because of its versatility. There are a lot of artists today from different painting media who want to create unique paintings with abstract techniques.

However, they don’t know where to start sometimes. Fortunately, there are no specific painting rules for creating your abstract watercolor painting and what to put there.

With this article, we will help you master the fundamental methods of creating an abstract watercolor painting. These basic techniques will apply to watercolors, acrylic paints, oil paints, and pastel paints. The proper mixing of watercolor paints is also an essential technique for abstract painting.

What Are The Rules For Abstract Art?

Abstract painting can be an intimidating painting style since it is bound with no rules to follow. Most artists work on their inspiration and imagination to create artwork. If you are staring at the painting and thinking about its meaning, but cannot find the right words to describe it, then you’re at the right place.

Most newcomers to the painting industry will check for rules, tips, and techniques to create stunning abstract paintings. This painting style can be overwhelming and intimidating. However, sets of rules are bound to help newcomers and even advanced artists create their first-ever abstract art.

Abstraction or abstract art is a freestyle painting technique. It allows the spectator to comprehend and understand the artist’s intention in creating the art piece. It also ignites a unique connection between an artist and their viewer. Suppose you’ve been in an art exhibit and found yourself staring blankly at a beautiful painting. In that case, you probably understand why the abstract is a unique painting technique.

  • One of the best ways to understand abstract art is to open your heart and mind to what the artist is trying to express.
  • It allows you to wonder with your imagination about the artist’s creativity.
  • You must look beyond the traditional image and dig deeper to understand its meaning.
  • Try to describe the intangible emotions you felt upon staring at the painting.

With abstract art, there are no secret codes to decode. The best way to fully understand abstract art is not to make things complicated. That means you don’t need to find the exact meaning of the painting.

The primary purpose of creating abstract art is to encourage imagination and involvement. It’s a form of art that allows viewers an emotional and intangible experience. Indeed, every viewer’s experience varies with their feelings while gazing upon the artwork.

abstract watercolor
Watercolor pans are the best option for beginners.

What Are The Materials You Need For Abstract Watercolor Painting?

Before you start your abstract watercolor painting, it is best to prepare all the necessary materials and tools for an easy painting session. These primary materials are the key to a successful abstract watercolor painting.

Since watercolor is an accessible painting medium, you need a few materials to start. They are almost the same as those used for your watercolor paintings.
Watercolor Paints
These depend on what the artist prefers to apply for colors. Since there are different watercolors to choose from, these are great to utilize for your abstract watercolor painting.

Watercolor palettes are a great option if you are working on a small painting surface. Check for tube paints if you are working on a larger surface. They are easy to squeeze and can even be thinned with water.

Watercolor Paper

It is always best to get the required watercolor paper. The heavier the paper is, the more absorbent it can absorb the paints.


For abstract watercolor painting, it is best to use a small paintbrush if you are working with a small canvas or painting surface.

Pencil and Ruler

Though it is not required, it is best to have it somewhere easy to get in the case. There may be instances that you’ll draw patterns, shapes, or lines while working with abstract watercolor painting.

If you will be working with shapes and patterns, it is best to have them handy. They will help you with subtle marking, and later you can erase them. Or you can use light pencil marks to avoid any possible streaks when working with watercolors afterward.

Jar of water

These are essential, especially if you will be working with sets of colors. That way, you do not need to worry about mixing one color over the other. Save some time with paper towels and/or rags for cleaning or wiping off the water, especially with your paintbrush.

abstract watercolor
Don’t be afraid to experiment when it comes to watercolor.

10 Basic Steps For A Successful Abstract Watercolor Painting

Now that you have all the essential materials for your abstract watercolor painting, then let’s begin painting your first-ever abstract watercolor painting.

Step 1. Prepare the materials

Prepare your canvas/surface for your abstract watercolor painting. Make sure you get the right weight required for watercolors.

Step 2. Draw the design

Draw the desired design, pattern, lines, or shapes as the base mark on the background of your watercolor paper. Using your pencil, ensure the pencil marks are light enough to see but not that dark to get streaks when water comes on them.

Note that the shapes or patterns do not need the exact sizes; make them unique and complex.

Step 3. Add more designs and patterns

You can start to add more designs and patterns as you want with more details to the paper. Once you are content with the techniques you have made, it is time to add colors to your designs.

Step 4. Use watercolors in pans (Ideal for beginners)

It is best to use watercolors in pans as they also come with a palette to mix your paints altogether. Before applying them to your watercolor paper, you can use the other side of your palette to see how the colors look. If you are new to abstract watercolor painting, pans are the best option as they are not that costly.

Step 5. Check main colors

Check for the primary color that you will use. You can start to paint the application with one color first. Use that one color to spread it on some designs, patterns, or shapes.

When you are happy with the effect of the color you use, move on to the next color you choose. Make sure to rinse all excess paint before using another paint. Pat dry your paintbrush and move on to the next color.

Step 6. Maximize your colors

To maximize the colors, you can use primary colors first. Once you are done with two colors, you can add water to your palette to produce the next secondary color.

Mixing colors with watercolor is a great technique and time savvy as well. Learning how one color changes when adding different colors gives you the unique feeling of creating different colors along the way.

Step 7. Learn to stop

Learn to stop if you think you have painted most of the details that you wanted, or continue adding more details if you prefer.

Step 8. Fill up the patterns

Fill up with patterns in the spaces (if you want to).

Step 9. Don’t limit the colors

Don’t limit the colors, patterns, and designs in your abstract watercolor painting. Fill it with details or let it become explicit.

The thing is, you are enjoying every detail, color, shape, pattern, and line that you put in there. You can twist your painting surface if you want to see the different sides of your painting. If you think some areas are missing with designs, you can add more.

Step 10. Protect it with fixatives

Once you have decided to stop and are happy with your painting, it’s time to protect it with some fixatives. However, that also depends on your preference. Most artists use a final fixative for their watercolor if they feel everything is done with the painting.

The fixatives not only seal all the colors on the painting surface but also protect the overall painting from accidental damage. For example, moisture will wake the paints since watercolor is water-based, and a possible drip-off with the colors will happen.

The fixatives are a barrier for your painting and colors to be safe before framing or for preservation. To get suitable materials like fixatives, always check the labels on a sample paper before applying them to your painting surface to see the effect they may cause.

abstract watercolor
Abstract art is what you make it.

How To Look At Abstract Watercolor Art

While there are no specific rules on creating abstract art, there are some things worth noting for every audience and artist.

Respect the artist’s imagination

Everyone has a unique style and preference when it comes to artwork. If abstract painting is not your forte, respect the artist’s imagination. Instead of focusing on your preference when viewing abstract art, try to focus on how the artist feels when creating this masterpiece. This will give you a new perspective and allows sensible thoughts to flow while staring at an artwork.

Express your emotions to the right person

One thing you must remember is that art is a subjective form. Some pieces of artwork will be more challenging for you to connect with. This does not mean that something is wrong with you or the artwork. You can fully express your feelings or emotions to the right people to help you understand the artist’s message efficiently.

Since abstract art can be complicated, discussing your imagination or emotions helps you understand the painting’s overall process and message. Discussing it with your 5-year-old son or daughter won’t help you. That means you must find the perfect people to help and inspire you.

Take your time to understand the abstract’s message.

One of the best ways to fully understand abstract messages is to see how you feel about them. It can take hours or even minutes to fully understand the message. Some artists advise you to stay in front of an artwork for as long as you want or as long as the painting speaks to you.

Once the artwork pulls you in, it will be easier for you to describe the emotions associated with the experience.

Don’t focus on the title of the painting.

Titles can be misleading, especially with paintings and abstract art. Most conceptual art comes in various forms of art and has vague titles. One of the reasons why most artists don’t correlate the title with the artwork is to personally understand and connect with the painting.

Abstraction is a personal experience, and the title may differ from what you will feel. On the contrary, titles can still be helpful as this leads you to the perfect image before you can fully understand the meaning of the painting or artwork.

abstract watercolor
Avoid overthinking and let the first impression guide your flow.

Allow connection with the painting.

One of the best ways to fully understand the meaning of abstract art is to not think about anything for the moment. Assuming you’ve been staring blankly at the artwork for a few hours and haven’t felt any emotional connection. Maybe you are stressing yourself too much and are distracted by several factors.

Allow the artwork to convey its message of emotions and personal connections with you. One of the best ways to do this is to check the artist’s textures and colors. From there, you can gather any unfamiliar emotions. Allow yourself to ask questions instead of doing it the other way around.

Read the information on the wall text.

If you are searching for the best guide to understanding abstract art, the first resource you can take advantage of is the wall text. This can provide valuable information about the artist’s inspiration, intention, or background.

Don’t force any emotion right away.

Abstract painting does not necessarily provide any contextual message. Furthermore, you don’t need to necessarily feel any emotion or understand the message straight away. The more you force yourself to understand simple or complex abstract art will only make things complicated.

Emotions and connections to fully understand the message an abstract painting wants to convey come naturally. If you don’t feel any personal relationship with abstract art, then so be it.

Park all your queries first.

Forcing yourself to connect with the painting can sometimes be tiring and frustrating. It disturbs your focus on how or what the painting tries to convey. Before asking all your questions about abstraction art, first, try to understand the artist’s real intention or the artist’s background upon creating the artwork.

Instead of questioning all the small details in the artwork, try focusing on something you know or understand. You can quickly check the message or the artist’s intention when creating a masterpiece.

abstract watercolor
There is no such thing as bad art.

How To Differentiate A Good From Bad Abstract Art?

Identifying excellent abstract art from bad one can be challenging and complicated. As there are no specific bad paintings, several factors affect the overall quality of an artwork. Understanding these factors will help you determine which is a good one.

For instance, if you are looking at a famous abstract painting, have you ever thought about doing a better version of that masterpiece? Or does it challenge you to create something similar?

Sometimes you even question why a simple masterpiece can be pricey; you are not alone. One way or another, someone has felt that way toward an artwork. According to science, specific guidelines help you identify which artwork is created by an expert and which a newcomer creates. The texture of the surface to the color combinations and palettes used will help determine the quality of an artwork.

Before you jump over and try to create a multi-million masterpiece, there are several factors that you need to learn and understand when it comes to making good artwork.

From recent studies done by psychologists, people can quickly identify which artwork is professionally made and which a child or a monkey does.

To help you out on how to do this activity properly, I’ve gathered several essential factors that you need to check when staring at an artwork:


The colors used by the artists that our minds and the overall experience. For instance, the color mixture is a crucial giveaway to help you determine whether an artist is a newcomer to the painting medium or already familiar and comfortable with the paints.

Even with apparent errors in color mixtures, you can still identify whether it is then obviously by an experienced artist or not.


If you are familiar with abstract art, then you will notice that most of the time, layered paints help create a unique surface. Typically a notice underpainting creates a unique texture to the surface of an artwork.


When identifying a good artwork, you must check the consistency the artist applies or implements on the painting surface. This will showcase the artist’s overall portfolio and experience by mixing colors, which creates a unique consistency.

A low-quality mixture of colors creates a subtle surface that can quickly help you identify the artist’s experience. The same goes for when working with a single artwork. The paint’s flow on the painting surface must be consistent from one end to another with precise brush strokes.

abstract watercolor
The standards of art are merely a guide and not a final judgment.


Whenever an artist creates an artwork, their experiences and knowledge about the painting medium increase, which means complexity arises with every finished artwork. The artist grows and works on various techniques which help them create a different yet expert way of looking painterly effect under canvases.

That means if you are working with an abstract painting, the complexity of the technique used cannot be replicated.


Every masterpiece conveys a message hidden on every brush stroke or painting surface. Several emotions are thrown into the painting service, which allows the viewer to feel upon gazing at abstract art. There are planning and thoughtful ideas that convey the message.

If you’ve been searching and working with abstract art, you know that every artwork comes with a unique personality. That means you quickly notice if someone drops random colors and layers on a canvas to create a unique abstract painting.


Merely looking at brushstrokes that make you feel uncomfortable will quickly determine that the artist is a newcomer. Professional artists are confident with every brushstroke they implement, underpinning the surface. Every mark created on the canvas produces a message.

You may even notice paint splatters that randomly place, giving a unique meaning and complimenting the overall artwork.

Elements Of A Successful Abstract Painting

Every artwork has its own visual vocabulary, which gives interest and structure. These visual vocabulary or elements help you determine whether abstract art is a successor the other way around. These fundamental art elements are vital to the success of your artwork.


The value present in your abstract painting allows you to connect and express your emotions while working on the painting. Value varies with every artist’s unique talent, skills, and painting techniques when crafting their masterpiece.


Color selection helps you create a stunning abstract painting. At the same time, there are no specific rules to follow regarding building abstraction.


When it comes to building abstractions, art forms must be included. It’s a three-dimensional shape that allows you to create artwork that’s not flat. The form on your painting surface must have width and height and, at times, includes depth.


Shape opens various possibilities for an artist to implement in their artwork. Shapes help stimulate your creativity and transition from a negative shape to a positive one based on the artist’s preference or the artwork’s intention to convey the right message to the viewers.


The lines present in your artwork vary, whether it’s rhythmic, lyrical, aggressive, or subtle. These various line types can be included in every artwork. We can also transition from one line type to another. As an artist, you must pay attention to how you work or use your lines when painting your surface.


The texture present on your painting surface varies depending on the artist’s intention. This gives you complete control of how the painting’s surface texture will look like. Once you get familiar with various textures and put them on your painting surface, you can create multiple energies and implement them in every artwork.

Final Words

There are still a lot of people who cannot grasp the real intention of abstract art. Some artists may even think about replicating previous or popular abstract art to improve their skills or personal preference and style.

What do you think about abstract watercolor? How does the article affect you and help you when it comes to dealing with obstruction paintings? Leave us a comment down below or suggestions to help us improve.

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