6 Abstract art Ideas by Susan Schlepp

Idea No. 1

Radiant Orchid Art by RRR

Lately I’ve been on a bit of a painting kick.  Something about spring’s arrival has compelled me to bust out my paint brushes and some fresh new colors to liven up our home.

I was inspired to create my latest abstract piece when a good blog friend challenged a few of us to tackle a DIY project using Pantone’s Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid.  I have seen mixed reviews regarding this color, but I have to admit, I’m a fan.  I think it adds a nice pop when I pair it with my favorite tried and true blue hue.
I did a little research to see which colors were deemed orchid-y enough and came across several awesome options in this post. The winner for me, though, was Behr’s Orchid Kiss.  After seeing it in Alex’s home tour, I was sold.
I headed to Home Depot to pick up a sample, and while I was there, I fell in love with a combo of three colors….Behr’s Pale OrchidBehr’s Orchid Kiss and Behr’s Balmy Seas {the same color as the accent wall in our master bedroom.}

abstract art by Susan Schlepp

Once I had my colors home, it was time to get to work.


I found a scrap piece of birch wood laying around in my craft stash and I painted it white for a base. Then I pretended I had painting skills and started adding color to my “canvas”.  I kept a separate brush for each color and just added a few lines of the first color, then the second color and then the third.  I repeated that process over and over until the coverage felt right.  After that, it was time for some shine.  Lord knows I can’t finish a project without involving gold in some way, shape or form. 😉 So I pulled out a fourth paint brush and layered in some metallic on top of a few already painted areas.
Now, clearly I am no artist…but for just a few bucks {seriously….the paint samples were about $3 a piece} and a small amount of time, I was able to hop on board with a major trend of the year.  Plus, it may have inspired a possible room refresh in the near future! 😉
Done, this is incredibly amazing to start.


Idea No. 2

Flower crushing-mega-death-destruction art project by View Along The Way

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Heavy paper, like watercolor paper or hobby paper
  • Flowers or berries (more on this in a sec)
  • Hammer
  • Painter’s tape
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Graveyard of buried hopes and deep-seated frustrations which you’ll take out on the flowers as therapy. (Optional.)

Abstract Art Gather your flowers

1. Gather your flowers.

I just went around my yard picking anything with color. You totally don’t need to buy flowers to do this project. Just gather what you can find in your yard or growing wild on the side of the road, and test them all to see which produce the best color. The flowers that gave me the most color were lilies and clover. Chrysanthemum worked great too.

2. Lay out your pattern.

Use the painter’s tape to block off the portions of the paper that you want to leave white. We made two versions: one with a tribal pattern and one with a monogram for Jill’s family.

Abstract art Lay out your pattern

3. Lay out your flowers

Take everything outside and lay your paper with the painter’s tape design on a piece of cardboard. Lay out all your flower petals on top of the design. You can lay them out randomly or create stripes of color like we did:

Abstract Art Lay out your flowers


This is so fun, I’m actually getting a little bit giddy just thinking about it. Lay an extra piece of paper on top of the flowers and just start smashing the flowers with a hammer. Just crush their delicate little faces. Here’s a little gif I took of Erin so you could see how she hit them. (You may need to click over if you’re reading this in email.)

Abstract Art CRUSH THEM

5. Finish it out

Remember when you were a kid putting on a temporary tattoo of Care Bears on the back of your hand, how you’d peel the backing off carefully to make sure it was sticking to you before you rip it off? Same situation here.

abstract art Finish it out

If there are still white/empty spots, just lay the top paper back down and get back to your smashing until it meets your stringent requirements. You can also take the paper off completely, and kind of smush the flowers into the paper to extract the flower dye juice (technical term).

abstract art That is MONEY

See all that purple and yellow gooey gunk? That is MONEY. The flower petals have smooshed into gunky dye that you can now spread around with your fingers if you want to.


(I’m also easily impressed, but I trust you will join me in this.)

6. Remove the painter’s tape and allow to dry

If you still have a ton of flower gunk left on the paper, you can scrape it off first. (We did.) If you love the gunky texture, you have Official Permission to leave it as-is.

The end.

Abstract Art The end

Idea No. 3

Acrylic paint markers by Brittany

ABSTRACT ART Susan Schlepp Ideas

Acrylic paint markers!!! The anatomy of these markers is basically pure genius.  A tube full of acrylic paint topped with a sturdy felt tipped head constructed with a pump system which releases the paint as you go.  Perfection! Montana Cans knew what artists needed, we needed the ability to paint with a pen, not with a sloppy brush.

Acrylic paint markers Susan Schlepp

Instead of re-creating one of the art pieces West Elm is selling, or by some more famous artists, I really wanted to create something with my own mind.  Think of it as a stress release.  Just close your eyes and go to town on a few pieces of paper, pick your favorite one and frame it! It’s art, I don’t care what anyone else says.  We are creative beings and we should pat ourselves on the back  (or shamelessly display your art by framing it in a vintage gold leafed frame and blog about it) whenever we step out of our comfort zones and create a masterpiece.   Maybe not a “masterpiece”, but be proud of your work, people!

Susan Schlepp masterpiece abstract art

Get to it! Get one of these pens (or a boat load, as you can see I did in the photo above) and go crazy. Literally.

abstract-art-susan schlepp

Oh, and that weird little thing beneath the abstract art is also a crazy painting of mine, using the same acrylic markers!  Now it’s your turn.  Go!

Idea No. 4


I love cool DIY art ideas and I love it even more if all I have to do is a minor tweak to upcycle a piece of thrift store art!  Jess and I were hitting up Liberty Thrift store on one of our “Knock It Off” shopping trips and I hit the gold mine of thrifting!  I left with a mid-century furniture piece, a clock, and 3 pieces of art all for less than $35!  As soon as I saw one of the floral pieces, I immediately knew I wanted to bring some neon into its rather boring life! Check it out…

DIY ART IDEAS Abstract art

(and if you’re super obsmy latest succulent project- check back tomorrow for the tutorial and all the details!)Here’s the floral goddess that caught my eye.  It’s “fine,” but definitely nothing to write home about… as is…

Boring Thrift Store Abstract Art

The floral art was a whopping $2.50.  I already had these neon chalk markers that we use on my chalkboard backsplash all the time, and I thought they’d work well to add the neon POP I was envisioning.  If you have anything chalkboard in your house and don’t own chalk markers, you’re totally missing out!  You can write so crisply and have a ton of fun with all the color options!  I love them!

color options susan schlepp

I wanted to accent the flowers, so I used all three colors on them.  Actually… I was only going to use pink and orange, but Eric walked up, said he wanted to help (kinda weird and unexpected) and insisted on purple being included.  I accepted his help and his baseless color recommendation, and in the end the purple was a good move. (Those are his man hands- just FYI.  My hands are huge and kind of man-ish, but not that bad!)

flower abstract art

Next thing I know Kira sits down and wants to help too!  Yeah, I definitely didn’t know this was going to turn into a family affair, but it was kinda awesome.

chalk markers abstract art

I used the chalk markers on the flowers and just a plain neon yellow highlighter on the tiny leaves.  They helped balance out the vivid flowers with the muted background.  I was careful to leave the centers of the flowers alone, so they didn’t become one chalky, neon, blob!  Little details like that will help make any thrifted piece look detailed and intentional.

vivid flowers abstract art

Are you feelin’ this DIY Art Upcycle abstract art

Really, that’s all there is to it!  To be honest, now whenever I’m thrifting I’m looking at the dated artwork in a whole new way… a neon way.  I think I have a mild neon obsession.  I thought it was just succulents, but now the neon is creeping in and I have to fight the urge to add little pops of it all over my house.  I phase things in and out really fast with my tastes, so I have to use some self-control or in 6 months we’d be sitting in a neon house, preparing to repaint for my next great obsession- I wonder what it will be next?!?

So, what say you?  Are you feelin’ this DIY Art Upcycle?  If you give it a try or have a thrift art upcycle of your own,  I’d love to see a pic!

Tag me on Instagram- @EastCoastCreative


Idea No. 5

Modern Cork Art — For Kids! by Remodelaholic

For the next DIY art project….I used the same materials, but had my 6 year old daughter help me out!!!

She started by stamping the paper with different colors of the paint using corks!!

Modern Cork Art Abstract Art

Once she was finished and while the paint was still wet….I used my paint brush to smear all of the colors together….

paint brush abstract art

gain, I was not sure how this would turn out….but again….it took 5 minutes and kept my daughter entertained in the meantime.

Once it was framed….we both loved it and she was so proud of herself!!

framed abstract art

It is now displayed in her room and she says that she loves looking at it each night as she falls asleep…

falls asleep abstract art


Idea No. 6

Gold Leaf Wall Art + Apartment Therapy Contest by Ingrid


abstract art wall

Now, please let me also share with you a small tutorial on how I created my own art wall by using a $2.00 canvas from the dollar store, acrylic paint and gold leaf sheets:

You might remember these canvases from my living room post. I wanted to buy art for this space but I wasn’t ready to commit on anything specific yet. Maybe next year, I will try to get my hands on some of the beautiful pieces from Jen Ramos, Made by Girl for my living room:

living room abstract art

Please let me share with you the steps-by-steps:

These are the tools you need to create your own:

  • – canvas
  • – gold leaf sheets (mine are from Art Minds  (Michaels Arts & Crafts store)
  • – adhesive (mine is from Mona Lisa)
  • – sealer (mine is from Mona Lisa)
  • – small brush
  • – spray paint (color gold)
  • – acrylic paint (color black)

acrylic paint

start by applying the adhesive to the desired area of the canvas where you will be applying the gold leafs:


place the gold leaf sheets to the canvas and apply them gently with your fingertips:

gold leaf sheets

the picture below shows you how it looks when you are applying the gold leaf into the canvas:



wait a few minutes before you start applying a sealer with a brush to ensure that the gold leaf sheets don’t chip and then let it dry for at least 1 hour:

start applying a sealer

I wanted something different, so instead of working with gold leaf sheets again, I decided to spray paint the other extremity of the canvas with gold paint:

paint the other extremity

as you can see from the next two pictures; the look of gold leaf sheets on canvas is very different than the one from gold spray paint:

different than the one from gold spray paint

I prefer the look and texture of gold leaf sheets on canvas, too bad the pictures don’t do the gold leaf sheets justice:

black acrylic paint

before I decided to add black acrylic paint to the canvas, I used the colors pink and blue, I liked it for my craft room but not for my living room. That’s when I decided to dip a medium size brush in black acrylic paint and just draw black lines on the canvas, covering the pink and blue:

couple of pictures

I took a couple of pictures for you in different spots and see how different they look depending on the light and time of the day:

light and time of the day

In the picture below you can really see that the top of the canvas was spray painted in gold:

painted in gold

this picture was taken in the craft room, see how bright they look against a white wall and next to the window:

Susan Schlepp is an abstract artist in Sammamish Washington




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