A Galaxy of Abstraction

Sometimes we just don’t want to paint anything particular. For example, we have kids to entertain and couldn’t possibly concentrate on a proper painting. Or we have a headache, or it’s just one of those days. This is when a Galaxy of Abstraction comes to the rescue!

This painting can be as much or as little as you want it to be. Loosely based on Wassilly Kandinsky’s Squares with Concentric Circles, it is deconstructed and embellished over a neurographic-type framework to produce this easy, dramatically bright work of imagination.


I decided to use opaque watercolor (gouache) for this painting. I had a palette already set up with the main primary and secondary shades in it, so I just reactivated the paint with a little water, and I was good to go. This was despite it having been many years since I last used those paints. They really do last forever! These particular paints were by Daler Rowney.

I chose a quarter sheet (roughly 12 x 16 inches) of 140lb Bockingford NOT (cold pressed) paper and because I wasn’t using a lot of water I didn’t bother to tape it to my board.

I also had on hand some Kuretake Starry Colors, a white gel pen and a black waterproof liner as shown below.

With a medium sized round nylon brush, I made concentric circles all over the paper, in different sizes and in as many colors as I could make out of the twelve in my palette.

The Halfway Stage

Here’s a glimpse of the painting about halfway through. Before any of the embellishments, just color in one simple form, the circle. How many possibilities this offers!


Now, once the preliminary painting is dry and armed with my white pen, my fineliner, my Kuretake Starry Colors and my gold pen, you are ready to start with the additions that will make your painting shine.

First some spatter in different colors. Then some outlines in gold paint. Gradually getting smaller and more detailed in the additions.

Here’s a list of the different line work shapes you can add: circles, concentric circles, spirals, radial lines, dots, dots in groups, small circles in groups, parallel lines, rays wide, rays narrow. Squiggly circles in groups, scallops, fringes, curly lines, zig-zags, leaf shapes, floral shapes, chains, arrows, v shapes, ticks and crosses, hearts, diamonds, triangles, helixes, squares, greek key, celtic knots – I’ve only scraped the surface here of the types of lines you can use in your painting embellishment!

Continue in this way until you feel the painting is finished, or until you run out of ink!

One for you and the kids!

Get the children involved and painting as often as you can! This project is ideal and will provide hours of fun. You can use this principle to make not only a big picture but also cut up into bookmarks or to make cards to give to friends.

Kids of all ages will love the bright colors of gouache and the fun of playing with white and gold lines. And so will you!

Here’s the video – and it’s a long one – of how to create the big picture!


Here are the links to Amazon for the materials I used for this painting. If you click on one of our links it will take you to our store and we receive a small commission at no cost to you when you purchase. Or go direct to https://www.amazon.com/shop/dianeantonestudio to see my storefront.

My brush was a Drawell size 9 Golden Round and size 3 Maestro round – both very good synthetic brushes from Drawell in Japan. You can order them from Drawell by contacting Mr Maeyami direct. The prices are very reasonable and they ship worldwide at minimal cost.

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