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Creating Fluid Art with Leftover Wall Paint

My master bedroom has been long overdue for an upgrade.  It was basically just 4 walls and a bed, with the weird yellowish color on the walls.  It was terrible.  So, I finally fixed it, and my favorite part of the whole process was creating a series of small fluid art  paintings using all the left over paint from my accent wall color and all the samples that I had purchased little bottles of, but decided not to use.  What are you supposed to do with those little sample bottles?  Just store them in your basement forever?  Well, I’m happy to say I found the perfect solution.  Mixed with my wall color in these paintings, they pull everything together perfectly!

 

fluid art tutorial

 

This is the final result.  I need to rehang a couple pieces on the left side- they’re spaced out a bit too much, but it looks so great anyway that I’m not in much of a hurry to change anything.

Oh, and I did make  a free printable for you!  If you’re interested in doing this technique, the printable puts the whole process on a single sheet of paper that you can print out and refer to while you’re working!

So, here’s a breakdown of my process.  I’ll share a list of supplies with you at the end of the post.

  • I started by prepping my work area.  I created these on my kitchen table, and used the upside down lid of plastic tub as the base that would catch all the dripping paint.  Around this lid I gathered all the paints I was going to use, a bunch of red solo cups, and a bag of popsicle sticks to stir the paint.  You’ll also need some racks to lay the canvases on while you work.  I didn’t have much on hand, so I used the paint bottles themselves, which worked, but if you have something else that would prop your canvas up without extending past the edges, that may work better.  Paint will drip all over everything you use, so keep that in mind.
  • Once you have everything you need around you and set up, you’ll begin mixing your paint.  You’ll need a cup for each color.  Pour in equal parts acrylic paint and pouring medium.  The pouring medium is pretty essential- it makes the pour dry flawlessly, without cracks, and look really smooth and awesome.
  • If you are using a variety of similar colors, you’ll need to use a lot of white for contrast.  You can see that I’m using varying shades of blue.  I tried one small one where I didn’t use any white, and you can barely see any of the differences in the color.  They just blended too much.
  • Once all your paints are mixed in their own cups, it’s time to combine them into one cup.  Pour a small amount of each color into the cup, without mixing.  When you’ve added all the colors, add them again until your cup is full.  It’s better to have too much paint then too little.
  • Before you pour, take some white and slather it on the edges and corners.  This will make it much easier when it comes time to tilt the canvas.
  • Ok!  There’s several ways you can pour the cup of paint onto the canvas.  You can just dump it on there and see what appears.  You can put the canvas on top of the cup, then flip it over, then lift the cup up and let the paint spill out.  You can even spin the canvas while you pour if you have a lazy susan you can prop your canvas on.
  • Once your cup is empty, lift your canvas gently under the edges and tilt it so the paint can move around and cover the surface.  The edges and corners are tricky, but if you’ve added some white to those areas, it should be easier to work the paint there.
  • It’s important to let the paint drip until it forms a thin layer over the entire canvas.  If you all paint to pool thickly on the surface, it will warp and dimple as it dries.
  • Thick drips may form off the edges of the painting as the paint dries.  You can avoid this by wiping the back edges of the canvas with a cloth once the paint finishes moving and begins to dry.

And that’s it!  When everything is dry, you’ll have a beautiful fluid painting that perfectly matches the walls of your home!

 

fluid art acrylic painting

 

I love the way these fluid art pieces turned out.  I hope you have as much, if not more success with your own attempt!  Don’t forget to grab the printable, and let me know how it goes!  Did you try something different that worked well?  I’d love to hear about it.  Share it in the comments!

 

 

Supply list-

  • Extra wall paint in varying colors.  (Don’t forget white if you need contrast!)
  • pouring medium (enough to do equal parts paint and pouring medium)
  • stirring sticks
  • disposable cups
  • base to catch all the dripping paint
  • racks or lazy susan to hold canvases away from the base
  • cloth to wipe bottom of painting
  • gloves if you don’t want paint to drip all over your hands.
  • It may also be a good idea to cover your work surface with a plastic sheet and wear an apron

 

fluid acrylics

 

 

 

 

Encaustic with Alcohol Inks and a Dry Shellac Burn

It’s been a long time since I’ve created an encaustic with alcohol inks, but I was inspired recently to take them out and play with them again.  It is fascinating to watch the way the inks interact with each other.  The alcohol gives so much movement, creating a look within your painting that you don’t have much control over.  You simply have to watch the way everything settles, and try to add or take away little bits at a time.  At least, in my experience.  But watching the way the alcohol moves across the surface is totally worth the extra effort that’s needed.

I created a free printable for anyone who is interested in using alcohol inks in their encaustic paintings.  I include the steps I used to add color to these paintings, as well as some tips for additional ways you can work with the ink to create cool effects.

Alcohol ink free tutorial

 

encaustic and alcohol inks

 

The Dry Shellac burn is much easier, in a way.  I simply let the shellac I’ve sprayed on the surface dry for about 10 minutes, then I use a small blow torch to “burn” the shellac to create those awesome open cells.  It works so great with alcohol ink, especially the metallic ones because those produce these amazing glittery trails when you do the shellac burn.

 

 

I love using bright colors, but sometimes you just need to go a bit more vintage, you know?  So I used a mix of browns, golds and yellows for this set of little wax paintings.  What do you think of the ink?  The colors?  The burn?  I’d love to hear your thoughts and questions! Oh, and don’t forget to download your free printable!

 

free printable

 

Here’s a breakdown of my process:

  • Start with a bare wood board.
  • Brush your encaustic medium on the surface- I’ve done two layers of white so the colors of ink really stand out.
  • Add your ink.  You can use isopropyl alcohol to move the colors around, blend them, and even lift them from the surface in certain places.
  • Use spray shellac to keep from moving the colors around with a brush.  Let it dry for around 10 minutes or so.
  • Use your torch to do a dry burn to create cells on the surface.
  • You can add more ink, or leave your painting as it is.  I like to do a final fuse to solidify the colors a bit more.

 

encaustic painting with alcohol ink

 

If you’re interested in learning more about the shellac burn, check out my new online course- Painting with Wax- The Shellac Burn TechniqueIt’s great for beginners to encaustic and shellac burns, and includes a lot of great bonus content that I keep adding to…  We’d love to have you join us!

Either way, go try painting an encaustic with alcohol inks and see what kind of beautiful mess you can create!!

 

 

Encaustic Map Cube

I’ve been so obsessed with maps lately that I can’t stop painting them.  I think it’s mainly because they have so much meaning.  A map is essentially just a picture of straight and curved lines.  But if you recognize the place it represents, you can find your home, your old school, your best friends house, and so many other meaningful pin pricks on this otherwise innocuous picture.

I’ve lived in a lot of places throughout my life, and when I stumbled upon the idea of doing an encaustic map cube, I knew right away I had to put a different city on each side.  Though, I do think it would be pretty cool to try and do one city and have all the sides blend into the other.  Not sure how that would work, but it would be fun to try.

Would you like to commission a cube for you and your family?  Contact me at classicanj@gmail.com and we will discuss cities, colors, and timeline for delivery.  This painting would be a fabulous Christmas present for anyone on your list!

Encaustic Map Cube

I know it looks a little messy.  What doesn’t show in the video is that I actually messed up a bit on this project.  Usually when I fill in my lines with oil paint, I wipe the excess paint away immediately with a paper towel and some linseed oil.  This time, I was working on a few projects at a time, and once I added oil paint to 3 sides, I laid the cube down and didn’t come back to it for a couple days.  By that time, the thin layer of oil paint on those 3 sides had dried to the point where the linseed oil wouldn’t take it off.  I had to scrape it away with a clay tool, and that’s why some of the sides look a bit messier than they should.

So, important tip- don’t let your oil paint sit on the surface of your encaustic painting for more than a day if you want to be able to wipe it off.

Despite my mistakes, though, I love the way this map cube turned out.  What a fun way to commemorate the special places and memories in your life!

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

I hope everyone’s fall has been spectacular so far!  I’ve been so busy bouncing from one project to the next that I’m stoked if I even finish anything at all!  Is anyone else like that sometimes?  I really hope I’m not the only one, and since I finally finished one project- this abstract painting of Charlotte, NC. And it turned out so incredibly well, I’m stoked to tell you all about it!

The tough part about this painting is that photos do not do it justice.  No matter how many settings I switch, or how much light I add or take away, I just cannot seem to capture the colors in their true form.  The greens and turquoises I used in this painting of Charlotte, NC blended so well, I almost can’t even believe it.  This map is so bright, so colorful, and it’s almost a shame to write about it at all since these pictures are only about a tenth as brilliant as the painting is in real life.  But, I love it too much not to share it.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte

This map was a bit hard to free hand.  The freeways make a giant circle, but the scale made it almost impossible for me to add any grids to the center like I usually do with my abstract maps.  However, once I finished adding the ink and acrylic paint, I decided it didn’t need any other streets or outlines. Definitely not a dark spot to represent downtown.  The only thing I added was a bit of pearlex powders to give it a little shimmer.

Since this is a painting you need to see in context, here is picture of my table set up for an art market I participated in recently-

If you’re interested in seeing more photos or purchasing this piece, just comment below or email me at classicanj@gmail.com.

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC

  

abstract painting of Charlotte, close up

Thanks for reading!!

Abstract Encaustic Maps with Layers of Color

There are so many artistic possibilities that are unique to encaustic painting. Achieving these kinds of transparent layers would be difficult, if not impossible, with any other painting medium.  It’s the main reason I love encaustic painting so much.  These encaustic maps have grids that are layered on top of one another.  They appear to be floating almost, and are noticeably at different levels within the painting.  Love it!

By the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this set, it’s listed here.

 

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Abstract Encaustic Maps

If you read my last post (also about abstract maps) you’ll know that I love the idea of the history behind the streets and grids that maps display.  How each city developed into what it is today fascinates me- the changing neighborhoods, the forgotten infrastructure, and all the hidden stories that these lines represent were constantly in my thoughts as I created these pieces.

Have any of you ever seen those shows that take you underneath the streets of a city?  They show you catacombs and sewers, modern infrastructure and historic, hidden places.  I love watching those shows, and I always wish that I was there with them.  The idea of touring beneath the streets of some of the most historic and famous cities in the world, learning the history and imagining the lives of the people who once stood where I would be standing, is so fascinating to me.

 

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Although these small 6×6 encaustic maps are not representative of any specific city, I imagine those hidden streets and sewers each time I see these pieces.  I created them organically, drawing the lines and shaping the grids quickly without references.  They really just represent possibility- how everything is created a piece at a time, and is constantly evolving.  Once thriving places will decay and be forgotten over time.  Maybe in the next life I’ll be able to understand the truth of what happened in so many of these places.  That would truly be awesome.

 

encaustic-maps-mock-up-compressor

Interested in purchasing this set?  Click here!

Abstract Mixed Media Piece- “One Great Whole”

I have had such a difficult time writing this post.  I don’t know what it is, but every time I try to type out the meaning, or the process of this particular mixed media piece, every word that pops up on the screen is terrible, and I hate it.  It’s taken me a week to get to this point, and I can truthfully say I have never had such a hard time sharing a piece of my art, which is funny because the artwork itself was so easy to create- my ideas were flowing, I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and the materials cooperated (for the most part).  Yet now when I want to share what I’ve created, how I did it, and the meaning behind it, I can’t seem to do it.

So, I won’t go into detail on the meaning behind my piece, as I was originally intending to do.  I’ll share with you the process, and listen to your ideas and questions on its’ meaning in the comments.  (hint, hint!)

Abstract Mixed Media Piece with India Ink and Quilling

adding symbolism

My initial idea with this piece was do make it completely black and white.  I began by taking my compass and drawing a variety of different sized circles on the surface of my 20*20 canvas.  I used my calligraphy pen to draw over the circles with black india ink, then spritzed the wet lines with water from my water bottle to feather the ink.

It was at this point that I had a flash of inspiration.  If I outlined one of the smaller, central circles with colored ink, it would really pop against the black and white.  In that moment of inspiration, I knew what this entire piece was supposed to represent, and from there it affected every choice that I made- elements, colors, words, my paper pieces- everything.

Here’s the full process outline-

  • I began by drawing circles with my compass, being careful not to punch any holes in the canvas.
  • I outlined the outside circles with black india ink, then while the ink was wet, I spritzed them with water.
  • I did the same with the colored circle, though I used 3 colors- purple, turquoise and teal india ink.
  • Once the surface was completely dry, I went over the circles again with the same colors, adding a rough, sketchy outline to the edge of each circle.
  • Lines of “lightning” from the main circle reach out to colorize former gray areas.  I used some fast and messy calligraphy along those lines, adding specific words.
  • Quilling pieces next!!  Just a few black and white ones.

Everyone responds to art differently, and even when you add specific ideas into your work, others will see different things.  I would love to hear anything that comes to your mind.  What does this mixed media piece mean to you?

adding symbolism to my artwork

mixed media piece- black and white with a pop of color mixed media piece with calligraphy abstract mixed media piece mixed media piece mixed media piece with india ink

Thank you for reading, and especially for sharing your thoughts below!