Color the Emotion

Pick a few colors and create without stiffness.

Create Abstract Botanical Art!

The Odd Nature, a collage by Peony and Parakeet. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

Last Friday I saw impressive paintings. When I see something that appeals to me, I try to analyze that in pieces. It is fascinating to find out little things that make a painting so memorable. I created this collage called “The Odd Nature” by using those factors. The whole subject – abstract botanical art – is mind-blowing.

Inspired by Hilma af Klint

Starting from the beginning: I was at Hilma af Klint‘s exhibition at Kunsthalle Helsinki. I had seen a few of her works before, but never this many at the same time. Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) painted botanical art and landscapes but then moved to create abstract art. She was a female artist and one of the pioneers of abstract art. When that is combined with her interest in spiritual ideas, no wonder she did not make her work public. In fact, she ordered that her work should be shown not earlier than 20 years after her death! Look at some of Hilma af Klint’s paintings on the Swedish Moderna Museet’s website.

Botanical shapes and Paivi from Peony and Parakeet at the exhibition of Hilma av Klint

Here’s what inspired me with Hilma af Klint’s art:
1) Odd compositions that were skillfully balanced.
2) Graphic, often decorative shapes which reminded me of plants and biology.
3) The combination of bright and muted colors with great contrasts.

Zoom in on Nature!

After the exhibition, I began to think about how far we often look at the world around us. To me, it felt like Hilma af Klint had divided living objects like plants into small components and then constructed new pieces out of them. So I began to zoom in on the photos I had taken from my garden this year.

Apple blossoms in black and white. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

When thinking about the structure of apple blossom, I remembered something which is small too: the little box where I save the tiniest scraps of my hand-decorated papers.

A small box of hand decorated paper scraps. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

Creating abstract botanicals from the paper scraps would be the thing to do!

Color Inspiration

Light in the garden. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

The idea for the color scheme and the atmosphere came from this photo, taken just a while ago. I painted the background blue purple by adding several layers with watercolors.

Collage Shapes

After the background had been finished, I began to create the abstract shapes.

Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

You can easily create intriguing collage pieces by combining small scraps together. Your cut shape does not need to be perfect before gluing it on the background. You can think of the shape as the beginning of the final shape. You can add more details with paint and pen around the shape later.

Read about how to create abstract botanical art!


When gluing the shapes before they are finished, you need to make bold moves in the composition. I advise not to think of the composition more than this: make sure that the shapes are not evenly spread in the background. After the preliminary shapes are glued, you can then continue working with them by expanding them with painting and drawing. At the same time combine some of the shapes together and create new, smaller shapes to balance the work.

In my work, the center of the work is left almost empty. There I created a tiny detail that adds dimension to the work: a blue horizontal line near the two small circles.

A detail of the collage by Peony and Parakeet. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

So why not pick up your scraps and honor Hilma by creating surrealistic botanical art!

The Odd Nature, a collage by Peony and Parakeet. Read about how to create abstract botanical art!

Read also

Fun Designs from Decorative Papers – An easy technique to create collage elements.
How to Draw a Rose – A simple rose seen in the collage above. You might want to use it as a decorative element too.

20 thoughts on “Create Abstract Botanical Art!

  1. Hei, olen vallan ihastunut töihisi ja inspiroiduin eilen niin kovasti, että piti tehdä Art Journal kirjaan värikäs kansi 🙂

  2. I get so excited to create when I look at your work and how you accomplish it. My creativity just bubbles over! I wanted to comment on your other blog piece, Fun Designs from Decorative Papers, but there was no place to type for me. You know I love it though!

    1. Stacey, thanks! This theme – botanical abstracts – is so inspiring for me too. For the older posts, like Fun Designs, I had to close comments because of spam. Only the last month’s posts are available for commenting. Great to know that you enjoyed that post too!

  3. I have been a lurking fan for some time now. And I have spent months studying what you do and attempting fo make and find marks of my own that incorporate you mastery of color, shape annd composition.

    Thanks for being the inspired teacher that you are.

    Cheers, Robin M Powers

  4. I love your comment about the composition. I always get stuck with that. You make it seem easier and that is what a good teacher does. Thank you.

    1. Thanks, Femi! I am currently writing a book about visual self-expression and I will certainly include the subject of good composition there too!

  5. I love that you take the time to think out loud for us, it’s such a window into your artistic process. Thank you–and I love your piece!

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