Top Five Favorite Art Tools and Techniques—Spring/Summer 2021

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been really exploring the freedom of abstracts lately. I did a lot of work around abstracts in 2019 and 2020, especially around experimenting with different mediums, surfaces, and tools/techniques. Right now, though, most of my abstract work has been centered around color, brush strokes, and mark making.

Below are five of my favorite tools and techniques that I've been using lately while creating my abstracts:


  • Wood: I have really been into painting on wooden surfaces lately. It’s just a nice switch from canvas and I enjoy the harder surface and that it’s a little bit more durable. I also like that it can be smoother and it always produces a beautiful product in the end.


  • Large filbert brush: Look, I know a lot of painters swear by the square brushes because of their straight edges, but filberts have always been my favorite for the variety of things you can do with them. I didn’t used to work with larger brushes, but I found a filbert on clearance one day at Michael’s and it’s quickly become my favorite. I love the expressive marks I can make with it.


  • Scratches: I’ve been experimenting more and more with putting scratch marks into my paintings. It creates a fun texture and visual element, and I find it just adds a little extra spunk.


  • Splatters: I’ve always been a huge fan of splatters, especially because I can literally get hands on with my paints. Lately I’ve been trying incorporate them more into the flow of the painting so that they look a little bit more “natural”. It’s been a fun process and one that I will no doubt continue.


  • Lines: I’ll admit this is a visual element that I haven’t quite mastered in abstracts and has been something that I’ve been practicing. Making lines look natural in abstracts is surprisingly not easy to do for me. I either over do it and it winds up looking cartoonish or I under do it and wind up taking them out. My left-brain/rational mind wants lines everywhere, but my right brain says, “nah”. Finding the balance in this visual element has been a challenge that I am currently embracing.

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