abstract art, art classes, Artist Tips, beginner acrylic artist

How to Create the Illusion of 3D on a 2D Surface

Oftentimes I think I am finished with a painting, when in fact, I am not. I thought I had finished the painting labeled Stage 1, above. about a week ago. A couple days later, I looked at it in my studio and just felt it wasn’t finished. Sometimes it’s just an intuitive feeling I get when I look at a piece and realize it’s not done. It just seemed so flat to me. I liked most everything about it except the flatness.

I am still working on the painting above and I’m adding a 3D feel to it by adding cubes and organic spheres. I’m not sure how many stages it will go through, but it seems as though it is definitely adding more depth to the painting.

Of course this isn’t the only way to add depth to a piece of work. I have a whole video lesson devoted to creating depth in abstract paintings in my online abstract painting class for beginners, “Relax + Paint.” The first session begins October 30th. This class will be a blast so join if you can. Learn more and enroll now by going to relax-paint.com.

Did you know you need just 3 colors to create the illusion of a 3 dimensional shape on a 2 dimensional surface? Yep, that’s right. For example, let’s discuss a cube. The easiest way to create a cube is to take a color and paint a square. Then create the shadow side with a shade (add black) of the color. Finally, create the side where your light source is coming from with a tint (add white) of the color. You can see two cubes in my painting above on the left side in the black area. I have enlarged one of them below.

Cube from Stage 2 of my painting

I am taking this painting to our “4 Artist Friends” paint session tomorrow to work on it some more. All four of us are painters and we try to meet every two weeks. Tomorrow is a paint session.

I might call this painting “Potato in Space” because I see a potato in the top right. 🙂

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