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How to Paint Abstract Cityscape Paintings With Acrylics

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How to Paint Abstract Cityscape Paintings With Acrylics

In this free tutorial you will learn some techniques on how to paint abstract cityscape paintings with acrylics.

What You Need To Know

Here is a three step process that will help you understand the approach for painting expressively. I encourage you to avoid the finished painting until you have spent quality time developing your connection by doodling with charcoal and acrylics.

  1. Step one is to connect with charcoal first. This process will help you find the buildings, shapes and details that you enjoy working with and help to make the image your own.
  2. The second step is to move into acrylic sketching by focusing on the same features and details as with the charcoal. It's quite different at this stage since you are exploring color & brushwork.
  3. And finally the third stage; creating a finished cityscape based on the connections and discoveries in the previous two steps.

Below is a breakdown of the steps and more info on find, and developing abstract cityscape qualities.

Charcoal Doodling - Discovering Abstract Qualities

  • Use the three step approach; doodle with charcoal, sketch with acrylics & the final painting.
  • Avoid painting images as they are, make them your own by tweaking the details.
  • Connecting on an artistic level is vital & makes the work more meaningful. More importantly, remember that there's a difference between what visually looks like a great painting and actually making it a great painting. The artist needs to interpret the scene successfully to make it work.
  • Creativity happens when you spend time experimenting & exploring your subjects - not painting finished pieces.
  • Start With The Details & Features - Resist Painting Finished Art
  • By zooming in on the image/photo I resist the urge to paint/sketch the entire scene. This exercise is all about finding details, areas, a building etc. and exploring it. AVOID making compositions at this stage.
  • Take note of how these details make you feel. Are they exciting? Do they make you want to take the next step and paint? Or, do they fall flat? Important to understand that we are looking for details, features, shapes, etc. that excite us so that we start to make special

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    connections to the image.

  • Look into the details, try to find patterns & rhythm in the buildings and their features.

Demonstration Images

Abstract charcoal cityscape drawing 1

Expressive charcoal demonstration drawing 2

Cityscape charcoal sketch demo 3

  • Create a series of quick acrylic sketches that will help find freedom with color & brushwork. Be sure to work with the similar areas as you did with the charcoal sketches so we can develop a pattern of how these connect.
  • Explore with color by mixing local and arbitrary colors.
  • This isn't a composition sketch as with the charcoal sketches. Place buildings, details & shapes wherever you see fit - it's about exploring at this stage so don't get bogged down with making finished art. There will be time for finished art later on.
  • This is a good time to explore negative space to shape objects/buildings. I did this early in this video as I added a feeling of shrubbery that shaped the edge of the building.

Demonstration Images

Expressive acrylic sketch demo image

Abstract acrylic cityscape sketch #2

Expressive cityscape acrylic sketch 3

The main takeaway from this tutorial is for you to understand that abstract qualities must be developed long before a final painting is completed. The time one spends doodling with charcoal & acrylics will determine how far, or abstract, the cityscape becomes.

How to Paint Abstract Cityscape Paintings With Acrylics Demo Image

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Category: Abstract

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