How to find inspiration for your abstract art: 7 paths to creative expression

How to find inspiration for your abstract art: 7 paths to creative expression

Abstract art is a reflection of the artist's inner world, a canvas where emotions, thoughts, and experiences intertwine to create a unique visual language. Yet, even the most passionate artists sometimes find themselves in search of inspiration. Whether you're an experienced painter or just starting your journey in abstract art, here are seven sources of inspiration to fuel your creativity:

1. Nature's wonders


Abstract floral painting by artist Claire Desjardins: inspired by nature.


Nature has long been a muse for artists, offering an endless array of shapes, colors, and textures. Take a stroll through a lush forest, observe the intricate patterns of leaves, or marvel at the vibrant hues of a sunset. Translate the organic forms you encounter into abstract compositions, experimenting with organic shapes and earthy tones to capture the essence of nature's beauty.




Colourful foliage by the water, near artist Claire Desjardins' home.


TRY THIS: Take a walk through nature, and allow yourself to become inspired by the sinuous curves of a winding river. Create a series of abstract paintings exploring the interplay between flowing lines and subtle gradients, using shades of blue and green to evoke a sense of tranquility and movement... Have fun with it!

2. Emotional Landscapes


Abstract Floral landscape painting by artist Claire Desjardins.  

Emotions are a rich source of inspiration for abstract artists, providing a deep well of raw material to draw from. Reflect on your own feelings or explore universal themes such as love, joy, sadness, or nostalgia. Experiment with bold brushstrokes, vibrant colors, and expressive gestures to convey the intensity of human emotions on canvas.

TRY THIS: Channel feelings of nostalgia into a series of abstract artworks that blend soft pastel hues with splashes of vibrant color, capturing the bittersweet essence of memories fading into the past.

3. Urban Exploration


Abstract painting, "Staccato", by artist Claire Desjardins.


Cities are bustling hubs of creativity, where architecture, street art, and cultural diversity collide to form a vibrant tapestry of inspiration. Wander through city streets, photographing graffiti murals, architectural details, and urban landscapes. Distill the energy of the city into dynamic abstract compositions, incorporating geometric shapes, bold lines, and urban textures.

TRY THIS: Draw inspiration from the geometric patterns of skyscrapers and the frenetic energy of street life to create abstract paintings that pulsate with dynamic lines and vibrant pops of color, capturing the essence of urban vitality.

4. Music and Rhythm



Abstract painting by artist Claire Desjardins.

Music has the power to stir the soul and ignite the imagination, offering a rich source of inspiration for abstract artists. Lose yourself in the melodies and rhythms of your favorite songs, allowing the music to guide your brushstrokes and color choices. Translate the mood and tempo of the music into visual form, experimenting with layering, texture, and rhythm on canvas.  

TRY THIS: Create a series of abstract artworks inspired by the evocative melodies of jazz music, using bold brushstrokes and dynamic compositions to capture the improvisational spirit and rhythmic complexity of the genre.

5. Dreams and Surrealism

Abstract painting, "One Day, I was Dreaming" by artist Claire Desjardins.

Dreams are a playground of the subconscious mind, where reality blurs with fantasy to create surreal landscapes and enigmatic narratives. Keep a dream journal by your bedside, jotting down fragments of dreams and subconscious imagery. Explore surrealistic themes and motifs in your abstract art, blending dreamlike elements with abstract forms to create visually captivating and thought-provoking compositions.

TRY THIS: Draw inspiration from a recurring dream of flying to create a series of ethereal abstract paintings, featuring swirling clouds, floating figures, and luminous skies rendered in dreamy pastel hues.

6. Cultural Heritage

Abstract painting by Claire Desjardins, painted in China.

Culture is a rich tapestry of traditions, symbols, and narratives that can serve as a wellspring of inspiration for abstract artists. Explore your own cultural heritage or immerse yourself in the art and mythology of diverse cultures around the world. Incorporate symbols, motifs, and cultural references into your abstract artworks, weaving together layers of meaning and resonance.

TRY THIS: Draw inspiration from ancient mythology to create a series of abstract paintings exploring themes of heroism, transformation, and divine intervention, using symbolic imagery and archetypal motifs to evoke a sense of timeless mythic resonance.

7. Personal Journey

Abstract painting by Claire Desjardins, The Big Send-Off, was painted as a tribute to the artist's late mother, Jane Desjardins.

Your own life experiences, memories, and personal journey are a rich source of inspiration waiting to be tapped into. Reflect on pivotal moments, significant relationships, or transformative experiences that have shaped your identity and worldview. Allow your art to become a visual diary of your personal journey, expressing emotions, insights, and reflections through abstract forms and colors.

TRY THIS: Draw inspiration from a recent journey of self-discovery to create a series of abstract paintings that explore themes of growth, resilience, and self-empowerment, using bold brushstrokes and vibrant colors to convey the transformative power of personal growth.

Large, colourful painting by abstract artist, Claire Desjardins, was influenced by the colors of Mexico.
In conclusion, finding inspiration for your abstract art is a deeply personal and exploratory process, guided by curiosity, intuition, and a willingness to embrace the unknown. By drawing from diverse sources of inspiration and allowing your creativity to flow freely, you can unlock new realms of artistic expression and create works that resonate deeply with viewers on a visceral and emotional level. So go forth, explore, and let your imagination soar on the wings of inspiration!
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