20 Dec 2023Mont Marte

10 action paintings to inspire

Action painting, also known as gestural painting, is a concept that sounds a bit intimidating but is very unrestricted and liberating to explore. Anyone can have a go, from children to experts, as the style is entirely interpretive and up to you! It’s all about spontaneously and freely adding paint to your canvas by dribbling, splattering, smearing, dripping, and more. We’ve got loads of inspo below that you can try out yourself or with your family, so pick a project and get going!

Group painting

1. @carlabonini.arte rainbow coloured action painting with lines and dots of splattered paint on a white surface


Image: carlabonini.arte

Grab a long painting surface and gather your family and friends for a fun group activity. Unleash your inner artist by flicking acrylic paint colours across the canvas without a goal or purpose, making a dynamic design that sings true to your collective creativity. Deciding who gets to keep the painting at the end might be the tricky part though! Maybe you could try out a sisterhood of the travelling action painting?

Pendulum painting DIY

2. @lilcraftergroup pendulum swing painting with pink and blue paints spilling from cups on a white surface


Image: lilcraftergroup

Rig up some DIY paint pendulums using disposable cups and string for striking results! This project is great for the kids to get their hands dirty, so it may be best done over a tarp or in the backyard. For more experienced artists, you could try experimenting with pouring paints such as our SuperCell range to see how the colours combine and form cells. Any way you do it, this technique is a blast!

Repurposed drawers




Image: bridgetbradleyart | Website

Action painting can be done on more than just canvas - why not level up your decor and add a personal touch? Bright pops of colour can breathe life into your bedroom, so explore the freedom of playing with paints by decorating furniture, homewares, and maybe even the walls! Create a design that sparks joy and inspiration in your home.

Throwing paint on canvas

3. Rainbow coloured drip painting on a large white canvas with paints in cups around


Make a rainbow design using cups of different coloured paint. Whether you opt for our Satin Acrylics thinned with water as shown in this Project video, or you explore pre-mixed pouring paints, you can create endless designs by throwing the paint onto the canvas at various angles, directions, and speeds. Great for kids and adults, let your imagination run wild and create freely!

Painting a pallet

4. @preschoolforyou rainbow coloured action painting on an upright pallet


Image: preschoolforyou

No canvas, no worries! This project uses a pallet as the base for an epic action painting. Get the kids outdoors with a rainbow colour selection and a pallet, and watch the artwork come to life. You could mount the pallet and hang plants from it, use it on top of cinder blocks as a coffee table, or make a fort with it – the possibilities are endless.

Bottle upcycling




Image: bridgetbradleyart | Website

Add a pop of colour to a glass bottle by dripping paint all over it! Artist Bridget Bradley has used a neon colour palette that draws the eye but you can pick any colour combo that suits your vibe. Once you have the technique down, see what else you can upcycle – maybe a neon vase is on the cards?

Drip painting technique

5. Poppy Key holding her pastel drip painting while standing on grass


Check out Poppy Key’s drip painting technique in this abstract art project. Using squeezy bottles filled with our Pouring Acrylic Paint Sets, she creates a stripey design that’s so fun to recreate. Have a go at home by following along or put your own spin on it with a different colour palette!

Dark sky acrylic painting

6. Galaxy pendulum painting with white circles of paint overlapping on a space background


If you love abstract artwork and outer space, why not combine both trends and make a galaxy action painting? This project uses the pendulum technique, which you can learn all about by watching our online lesson. The stark contrast between the dark, moody sky and the white paint makes for a bold artwork that would pop in any home!

Mud and paint

7. @preschoolforyou mud paint action painting with dark colours on white paper


Image: preschoolforyou

Make outdoor painting next level satisfying for your little artists by throwing mud into the mix. This artwork is made by combining dirt, water, and paint for a textured concoction that’s ideal for gestural painting. Let them throw, splash, and swipe the paint on willy-nilly for a unique result that’s sure to keep them entertained.

Themed artwork




Image: bridgetbradleyart | Website

Abstract pieces can also be used to capture an idea or concept. This artwork is inspired by lava, which you can see through the colour palette and explosions of neon orange across the smouldering-style canvas. Next time you’re inspired by something, use it to drive an action art project for dynamic DIY wall art results!

Layering colours

8. @studiodelionn large rainbow coloured action painting canvas hung on a wall


Image: @studiodelionn

Layer colours to create dimension in your painting! Sharp lines of colour on the surface will appear closer than smudges of colour beneath, adding depth to the artwork. It can help to dry the painting between layers so the colours don’t combine, creating distinct and defined coats.



We hope this collection of abstract painting techniques has inspired you to grab some paints and have a go at gestural painting. Whether you explore bold colour palettes, upcycling, or a new way to apply paint, any type of creating is well worth trying.


If you do make something, #montmarteart or tag us @montmarteart on Instagram or Facebook to show us what you come up with! We’ve got loads of different acrylic paints you can check out to get you started.

For more ideas, explore our Inspo collection, as well as our Projects and How-tos. Sign-up to Creative Connection by popping in your email down below to get stacks of free art projects sent straight to you. We’re here to keep you inspired ✨