Four Geometric Paintings

I was feeling kind of blah one day and decided to do a little painting to lift my spirits. I posted a couple pictures on my work on my Facebook page, and received a lot of comments and e-mails from people who wanted to know how I made these.

I'll tell you now, that while I paint things from time to time, I am not a traditional painter. I can't paint portraits, still life's or landscapes. I can however create some nifty geometric designs. Maybe it's the engineering part of me.

The process is actually pretty simple although it takes a bit of time. It's a perfectly relaxing rainy afternoon project. If you can trace and color in the lines, you can create a piece of stunning art that your friends will ooh and ahh over.


  • Four 6-inch square canvases
  • ruler
  • french curve
  • disappearing ink fabric marker
  • four colors of acrylic paint
  • 1/2 inch wide flat brush


Set the four canvases together to make a square.

Using a ruler, draw a diagonal line from the center to the outer corners of each canvas. These lines are going to be guides to help you trace the other shapes.

Place the tip of the French curve at the center of the canvases so that the tip is along the diagonal line of one canvas and the curve barely touches the diagonal line of its neighbor.

Trace around the curves on the neighboring canvas.

Move the French curve 90 degrees to the next canvas and repeat.

Then again and again until you have the same shape on all four canvases.

Turn the French curve over and repeat the process.

You'll be tracing the mirror images of the first shapes.

This is what it looks like so far.

Now you will trace the other end of the French curve on the outer corners of each canvas.

I think the other end of the curve looks like a bird's head. Line it up so the beak touches the canvas edge, the top of the head touches the first shape you drew and the neck touches the diagonal line.

Trace it.

Like before, trace the shape on each of the canvases. Then turn the curve over and trace the mirror image.

Yay! All four canvases have exactly the same image on them.

Now, it's just a matter of filling in each shape, one canvas at a time.

Start with the first canvas. Fill each shape with paint. Here are the rules:

-Use all four colors
-Each shape must be a different color than the others it touches

If you want your painting to look exactly like mine, fill the shapes as shown. However, as long as you follow the two rules above, you can achieve the same kind of effect.

After the paint dries, apply a second coat of the same color in each shape.

You could paint each canvas identically, but it's an interesting look if each is painted slightly differently. Let me explain.

I used gray, black, light purple and dark purple paint.

On the second canvas, any shape that on the first canvas was painted:

gray will be black
black will be dark purple
dark purple will be light purple
light purple will be gray

It may be helpful to turn both canvases so they are aligned the same way and mark which color each shape will be.

Fill in each shape and apply a second coat of paint when the first is dry.

Select the third canvas you will paint. Align it with the second canvas so the shapes are in the same direction.

On the third canvas, any shape that on the second canvas was painted:

gray will be black
black will be dark purple
dark purple will be light purple
light purple will be gray
(Do you see the pattern yet?)

Mark what color each shape will be and fill them in with two coats of paint.

Finally, the last canvas. Align the third and fourth canvases in the same direction.

On the fourth canvas, any shape that on the third canvas was painted:

gray will be black
black will be dark purple
dark purple will be light purple
light purple will be gray

Again, mark what color each shape will be and fill them in with two coats of paint.

If you choose, you can paint around the edges of each canvas. I did and it gave the paintings a more finished look, especially if you are not going to frame them.

When I layed out the four finished paintings, I set them like this.

 However, turning them in different ways yields some completely different looks.

I think they are pretty stunning. And, when your friends comment about your amazing painting, you don't have to tell them how easy it was. That's our little secret!



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The Chilly Dog: Four Geometric Paintings
Four Geometric Paintings
DIY Art Tutorial - How to make a stunning, four piece, four color, square, geometric, painting that can be rearranged to create completely different effects.
The Chilly Dog
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