Abstract Watercolors on Canvas

I've been having all sorts of fun in my art room! Watercolor paints on canvas is the funnest thing I've tried this year..... by far! 

abstract watercolor cactus paintings by Elise Engh

I had a hankering to create some therapeutic abstract art so I pulled out some old canvases I had in my art closet and layered some fresh gesso on top.  After the canvases were dry I worked up some heavy watercolors and painted them right on the canvas. So fun! I should have done this years ago!

The watercolors act so differently on a canvas than on paper.  They don't absorb nearly as well, but that makes them all the more fun and interesting! The run and mix and eventually soak in a little.  You have to be patient and you have to use more paint than you would on paper.

If the runny nature of a regular primed canvas really bugs you, you can apply a watercolor ground before hand. I've never tried watercolor ground, but it's on my list now!

abstract watercolor paintings by Elise Engh

I did a little experimentation with clear glue and salt along with the watercolors.  That was a fun one! I felt like a kid again and I loved it!

And then I had to try the spray painting technique too- the more ways you can find to get paint on your canvas, the better.

abstract watercolor paintings by Elise Engh

The last piece I tried was a larger palm leaf pattern, again with watercolors on canvas. More photos of that one to come! 

watercolor palm leaf and cactus paintings by Elise Engh

Do you like abstract painting?

I find it a welcome break from the routine.  I find it liberating! I could experiment with all kinds of art mediums all day long and never get tired of it. I'm always excited to see what will happen when I use materials in a different way or combine things I've never combined before.  I know I'm a bit of an art nerd, gushing about all of this here, but it's my passion and I hope I never lose that.


  1. Ah yes these are great and it looks like you had lots of fun. I havnt tried painting with watercolours on canvas. Abstract painting is the reason I paint. I always come back to it even when I try other things ��

  2. I love what you did! Abstract is fun and I love your palm leaf. Such pretty colors.

  3. Do you have a video of painting the cactuses?

    1. I don't have a video of me painting these, but that is such a good idea! I'll try to make one soon!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.