How I use spray paint in my abstract paintings

In 2010 I first used spray paint in a painting. I’ve loved everything about it since; the atmosphere of the spray, the uncontrollably, the happy accidents. Even different metallic colors have their own drying times, gold is quick and silver is slow.

abstract painting

It’s taken me years to learn the temperament of spray paint. Not all brands act the same and I definitely have my favorites. I’ve learned how to secure the different materials I use for stenciling and masking to, more often than not, achieve my desired results. I need to have a dry base painting, have my collage and stencils cut and secured, and I have to watch the weather.

abstract painting

I prefer to spray outdoors, so the weather has a lot of effect on my outcomes whether good or bad. The sun, wind and rain can help or ruin the look. Also, cats love to jump up on paintings whenever possible and I have two so that’s double the trouble. If I take my chances with a mildly windy day my stencil edges will be more soft or blurred. If I’m under an August summer sun; good luck getting any impressions in the wet gold paint before it dries- that’s not gonna happen. Also, surprising or not, how full a can of paint is affects how rough or smooth a layer will be.

abstract painting

I started this journey with gold. I was slowly braking away from only using that color when a studio visit from a friend pushed me to switch it up more often and it has been for the better. For example, even though I’m still very partial to gold, base paintings rich with blends of purple shades sometimes do look best paired with silver.

abstract painting

While painting my Burn Scar series I started using spray paint to create positive shapes for the first time. I turned to black when I was looking for a new way to depict the burnt landscape I was seeing. It works perfectly for burnt stumps, trees, rocks, and grasses. I mask with shelf liner with these shapes. I really like the way this method creates soft edges. It’s also usually at a pretty critical point in the painting. To have the absolute most control over this I spray indoors.

abstract painting

The versatility and draw-ability I have found with using chalkboard spray paint is great. I get the misty look, but instead of the glow there’s a matte finish. That’s super exciting because I can incorporate drawing into my painting in a way that feels new. Right now I’m enjoying turning that attention towards drawing animals.                                        

abstract painting

If you’re new here, welcome! And check out this post from my archives: From creating paintings to building an art practice that I love.