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DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again)

I’m so excited to share with you another easy, DIY abstract art tutorial.  But first, some fun news!  You might remember that in the fall my DIY Christmas spider tutorial was featured in Ottawa at Home magazine.  This spring the magazine asked for me to create another DIY to be featured!  Because my tutorials for DIY art projects are so popular, I wanted to show Ottawa at Home readers how easy it is to make their very own DIY abstract.  What wasn’t easy, for me, was painting on demand!  Let me tell you, painting while a photographer hung around and waited for me to say “okay, snap a shot now” was a teeny bit stressful.  (I also don’t normally like other humans to see me in my tattered painting clothes, lol.)  As you know, I normally have to tackle the same painting a couple of times (like these and this one), sometimes over days, weeks or months, to get it “right,” but this time I only had a few hours!  Happily, I love the finished piece and I hope you do too.  I hope this DIY abstract art tutorial inspires you to pick up a paintbrush and try your hand at making your own DIY abstract art.

DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again) DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again)

See the full DIY abstract art tutorial (with glossy, gorgeous photos) in Ottawa at Home online, or head to one of these fine retailers to pick up a copy of the magazine.  Here’s the issue to look for:

DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again)

And here’s a peek at my DIY abstract tutorial, which is incredibly simple!  I start with a base of bold colors, applied with loose vertical and horizontal brush strokes.  I use a nice, big painter’s brush – nothing fancy.  Then I work my way around the canvas, layering on lighter shades and letting some of the richer colors shine through.  If it gets too pale, I layer on some more color.  Basically, I just keep layering and layering, creating depth and interest, until I like the finished piece. Working around the canvas lets the paint dry, so I create a layered effect instead of smearing colors together.  The bigger the canvas, the easier this process is!  I use acrylic paints from any craft store and usually pick colors I like, along with red, yellow, blue, and white so I can mix my own colors.  But don’t be afraid to use them right from the tube and buy a nice big tube of white too. 

Here’s a better look at the final product of my DIY abstract art tutorial (I ended up hanging it “upside” down):

DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again)

I also had it hung up in a different spot, oriented sideways (you can see more of the painting here):

DIY Abstract Art Tutorial | See My DIY in a Magazine (Again)

I love a DIY painting tutorial that offers step-by-step photos but that can be sooooo tricky to do because stopping to take a photo often means I lose my mojo and the painting turns out weird.  But I’ve tried to share as many tutorials as I can, with step-by-step photos to give you a feel for how my (novice) paintings take shape.  Check out this black and white painting, the abstract triptych in the bedroom, my fun drippy painting, the Rothko-inspired trio, the geometric painting and its makeover, the coastal inspired waves painting, or, for something a little different, see how I made a simple striped piece with text.  Check out my DIY project gallery here because I have even more art tutorials!

I should mention that although Hubby & I try to support artists when we can (we have bought pottery from independent Canadian galleries and have often bought small works of art when traveling), right now we just can’t afford to adorn all of our walls with the work of professional artists.  Happily, many of our family members are artists so we have their work livening up the townhouse.  Our DIY pieces fill in the gaps and add even more colour and life to our walls.  I love our DIY art and think that making your own art really is doable, but I’m not suggesting that the work professional artists do is as easy as 1-2-3.  Please support local artists and artisans when you can! 



  1. Jazmyn Strydom
    May 9, 2013 / 1:19 pm

    You should get a Go Pro and then you can have it take photos/videos while you're doing all sorts of stuff! A girl I know (google Paper Airplanes) does beautiful artwork (not sure if that's on her blog or not.. I know her personally) and she does photos with a Go Pro.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2013 / 4:13 pm

      Such a good idea!! Hubby would LOVE if I bought a Go Pro and he'd hog it all the time 🙂

  2. Stephanie
    May 9, 2013 / 2:56 pm

    I just love how your artwork pops in your townhouse. You really have an eye for making the pieces come to life. Congratulations on your article, so darn exciting. Someday I want to try to do a piece of abstract art, thanks for the tips! Oh and you motivated me to get my agate pieces done, thank you so much, I love them.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2013 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks!! I LOVE how yours turned out and your knobs are so pretty too. Too bad they aren't available anymore.

  3. Dana@Mid2Mod
    May 9, 2013 / 3:55 pm

    I can see how it might have been stressful to have a photographer snapping your progress, but what a fun article for their readers! Congratulations!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2013 / 4:15 pm

      Thanks Dana! Luckily the photographer was pretty relaxed. It didn't help it was SUCH a hot day and we were dying in my air conditioning-less house!

  4. Cathy
    May 9, 2013 / 6:49 pm

    Since I am visiting Ottawa at this moment I shall head out and find this magazine. What a wonderful city you live in. Each and every time I am here I enjoy something new and exciting, even if it is a cupcake from Thimble Cakes….yummmy!!!!!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 9, 2013 / 9:06 pm

      I hope you have a lovely time in the city and the weather cooperates. Clouds are forming as I type 🙁 And a cupcake is definitely something to celebrate!

  5. cred
    May 10, 2013 / 11:48 am

    very exciting! congrats! I still haven't tried painting my own abstract but you do make it look easy.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 11, 2013 / 2:25 pm

      Definitely try one! It can be such good stress relief and also something fun for family time 🙂

  6. Anonymous
    May 10, 2013 / 11:53 pm

    Are you going to add some of your pretty paintings to your esty shop? I bet they will sell super fast,love the colors you use.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      May 11, 2013 / 2:26 pm

      Thanks so much! I do have plans to add some paintings to the Etsy shop. Realistically, probably in the fall.

  7. Lauren Monique
    May 11, 2013 / 8:42 pm

    Oh it's lovely! I've been thinking of trying abstract for a while, but it's hard to know where to start. This is so helpful! Congrats :){}

  8. Amy Elizabeth Frith
    September 30, 2016 / 4:52 am


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