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





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

Abstract Painting of Charlotte, NC


abstract painting of Charlotte, close up

Thanks for reading!!

My Mixed Media Maps- Representing History

Mixed Media Maps- “City of Oaks”

mixed media maps Raleigh

We use maps pretty much every day.  Whether they’re printed on paper or interactive on our smart phones, they help us understand the direction were traveling.  Try as we might, it’s pretty much impossible to keep track of our direction by ourselves.

More than that, though- an up to date map is a culmination of years of history, and represents the stories of thousands of families and individuals who, through their struggles with the topography and use of resources, their industry, politics and beliefs, have all influenced the shape, size, and surroundings of each block.

What a symbol a map is!mixed media maps, Raleigh NC

I wanted to capture some of this symbolism in these mixed media maps.  I focus on the big picture, but the variations in the layers of paint and ink, the outline of the streets, and the feathered ink and paint splatters bring to mind all the individuals who, recognized or not, have made each city what it is.  Each layer is like a generation, which stacked together makes the city richer, fuller, and fascinating.

Mixed Media Maps- “The Bull City”

mixed media maps DurhamI began with the cities where I live.  It’s so interesting to me that after living here for a few short years, and meeting a tiny percentage of the people who live here, that I can feel so connected to these cities.  There is good and bad here, dark history and history to be proud of, but it all makes these cities what they are.  They aren’t perfect, but they are beautiful, and the maps of these cities (and of every place around the globe) represents that truth.

mixed media maps, Durham NCMaps, and the meaning behind them, are works of art that are functional, but also emotional.  They evoke memories of people as well as places, and those places and the history behind them influence us in ways we can’t begin to understand.  And I love them for that.

What city should I paint next?!

Here’s a link to my project video Master Plan– this will give you an idea of the process behind these pieces.

DecoArt Dimensional Effects in Abstract Art

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  I have a couple awesome mini canvases for you today, one of them bright green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  🙂  I created them with DecoArt dimensional effects paste.  The consistency of this texture paste is so interesting- it’s like pudding.  For some reason, I just want to eat it out of the bottle.

decoart dimensional effects

It’s fascinating to me how brands of texture paste are so different from each other. I guess dimensional effects is not technically texture paste, but it’s similar.  However, the dimensional effects has an opaque, shimmery quality about it.

In this first piece, I’ve also added some green acrylic paint in various shades (also DecoArt) and some white india ink among my paper pieces.  I love the way the splatters of india ink and paint interact with the opaque quality of the texture paste.  It’s such a cool look!

DecoArt Dimensional Effects

decoart dimensional paste decoart paste in abstract art

This sunset colored one, however, looks just awesome.  I love the colors, obviously, but for this piece I used all india ink with the dimensional effects and quilling pieces.  The liquid ink clung to the edges of the paste, really highlighting those areas and making them pop!

decoart paste with india ink decoart with quilling

What do you think?  Have you tried different brands of texture paste?  Which brand is your favorite so far?  I will confess, I see so many possibilities with this dimensional effects paste.  The fact that it is opaque, with a rather elastic consistency, kind of blows my mind.  I can’t wait to try some other techniques to mix it with paint, ink, etc. and see how it reacts, not to mention using it through stencils, with stamps, and who knows what else!

“Forces of Nature”- using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces

I’ve been experimenting with different tools and mediums lately because I’m setting up some workshops and I want to find the best tools to create easily understood and mimicked techniques.  This is one of the best canvases from these experiments, using a make-up dauber with acrylic paint and india ink to create awesome layered, cloudy backgrounds.

using a make-up dauber to create- "Forces of Nature"

At first I didn’t like the using a make-up dauber.  It’s has a tapered end, but the bottom, where it’s the widest, is rectangular and when I would use it to add paint to the surface, I would get a rectangular, or corner imprint.  It wasn’t a huge deal because I would just spritz it with some water or smear it with my finger to blend it into the background.  Despite this, I’ve come to really like them and now I use them all the time.

They’re cheap, first of all- you can get a whole pack of them for just a dollar or two. The material is good for either daubing or brushing, they’re absorbent so they will hold a lot of water to help dilute the paint if you need it.  They’re still not perfect, but it’s fun to get messy!  I can spread the paint super fast with these babies, and then load them up with water and wring them out in certain spots that need it.

They are also great for layering- once your main background is dry, you add a small amount of paint to the end and daub straight up and down.  Especially if the paint your using is a bit lighter, but the same shade as the background, it will blend wonderfully and add more texture and depth to the colors.

Using a Make-up Dauber

One more thing about using a make-up dauber to paint – if you mess up and use too much ink or paint, the dauber is great at soaking it up (if you using a lot of water, like I do), and then you have it to use somewhere else.

using a make-up dauber to create using a make-up dauber to create abstract pieces using a make-up dauber to create mixed media backgrounds using a make-up dauber to paint

I hope this has been helpful!  I’d love to hear your feedback- what are your favorite painting tools?  I’ve always on the lookout for some awesome new techniques.  🙂

Abstract painting- “Master Plan”

Ok, confession time- this had been a rough week.  I won’t go into all the details, but suffice it to say that the past few days have not been pleasant.  So, I headed to my studio and started painting.  I had no idea what I was doing, I just started working and let this abstract painting take shape on it’s own.

IMG_2961-compressorAbstract Painting Tutorial

I love this style of abstract painting because the way the paint and ink blend is so soft and spontaneous.  I can control the way it looks, and yet at the same time, I can’t control it.  Learning the way the paint and ink behave and allowing them to work the way they’re designed to work is so essential and powerful, and really easy.  When you let things go, the result can be fantastic!

In fact, since I just worked on this abstract painting without any really thought as to the finished result, I find it a little ironic that I named it “Master Plan”.  Perhaps it’s the gridded lines and squares and the map feel of the piece that makes me think of designed streets and a master planned neighborhood.  I guess not all good things have to be planned to the hilt.

And I have to say something about the purple- it was definitely therapeutic, working with my favorite color.  The different shades and brands of paint worked beautifully together.  I find it fun to use different brands of paint when I work, because they each have different qualities that are fun to watch and work with.


IMG_2964-compressor (1) IMG_2966-compressor IMG_2969-compressor

Creating abstractly, especially when you’re not sure what you’re trying to create, can be a bit terrifying.  Don’t worry- even if you end up painting over what you’ve done, you still learn something in the process, and it’s exhilarating and so satisfying when you see where the piece has led you.  So throw aside your fears and give it a shot!!