Important decision for planning a painting

Some people would ask if it is important to plan a contemporary painting in careful detail before you begin, or should you let it develop as you go along. Well, planning for your contemporary paintings could be a help because you know what exactly to do, but it could also hinder spontaneity. Letting your painting develop as you work is very free and lets you be spontaneous but also leads you to the possibility that the painting won’t go anywhere and end up with such a mess.

Green paint

Eventually, the degree to which you plan out a painting depends on your personality that’s why there are some people find it important while others are not. But despite of how detailed you like to plan or not, there are many decisions that you have to make before you begin to paint.

1. You should first decide for a subject. This is the logical first step as it affects the format of the support, type of support used, and the technique you will use to come out with the abstract art painting or any artwork. If you only have a fuzzy idea of what to do with an appealing subject like a glorious landscape, sketching, or doing small studies rather than s full painting will let you see if the composition and selection of elements work well without wasting time or materials. You could also do a study that can be used as the staring point or reference for a full scale painting.

But if later on you found out that doing a study makes you stiffen up when you come to the large scale painting because you are actually focusing on replicating it and not making your original one, try doing only quick sketches to see if the composition works and taking reference photos to work from back in your studio.

2. After deciding for the subject, next thing you should think about is the format for the support. Whether it should be landscape or portrait, or maybe square. What shape for the canvass will go well with the subject matter? For example, a very long and thin canvas used to tote up a sense of drama to a landscape, especially one of a wide-open space.

3. Then decide for the size. Abstract art paintings should not be in specific size because that’s the size of the sheet of paper you have. You could buy primed and stretched canvases in several various sizes so that you have a choice. Imagine how the subject would look if it was painted small, or maybe very huge. Would you want life-sized or oversized?

4. If ever you will use one medium, you don’t have to decide which one you think is best for this specific subject. How about the technique? For example, if you use acrylics, are you going to use them thickly or thinly? Like water colors, would you want to use retarders to slow down the drying time? If you would use water colors for your abstract painting will you use masking fluid to keep areas white?

5. Think about the type of support you will use. Would you want to paint on canvas, primed hard-board, or paper? Would it be a canvas with a fine weave, such as linen, or a coarse weave that will show through? Would it be a smoothed, hot-pressed paper or a rougher water color paper? These decisions would influence not only the texture of the end result but also how you work, like for example canvas will stand heavy impasto being reworked repeatedly. Alternately, the methods you wish to use will reveal the best support.

If you are using oil, acrylics, or gouache, would you use a ground and what should it be? How about complementary color to the main color in the picture? If you using pastels, what color paper will you use? And would you lay down an initial layer of complementary colors?

6. Decide on colors. Will you use colors realistically or not? Will you just use whatever color you have or select out a few to make up a palette just for that abstract art? Working with a limited range of colors can add to a sense of unity in a painting and create a sense of identity.

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