Sunday, September 16, 2018

My Art Process and the Fluid Painting Process

I often receive a dozen emails in a day asking about my painting process and how I get some patterns that are not easily obtained with fluid, flow or accidental painting.

There has been a tsunami of acrylic pour paintings and fluid art painters in the past five years. Acrylic paint pouring was originally known as Accidental Art or unintentional art. There is a discussion on Quora on whether any art is intentional or can be accidental. This blog post is not really about that, but is focusing on the differences of my ink painting process and Accidental Art or acrylic fluid painting techniques. 

If you are not familiar with Accidental Art, you can get a good overview here. I must say that once most people try it, they are hooked on it!  This includes kids, people who have never painted, and people in their nineties.  I demo and teach acrylic pouring to mostly kids. Here is a photo of the kid's pours of the last demo that Elena and I did at the Chavis Community Center for the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild.

For my process, my only pre-planning prior to painting is to have my studio clean, assemble my chosen colors, and choose my panel size. I use  Ampersand Claybord™ almost exclusively which requires no prep except for masking the sides of the cradle.

I am primarily working with the chemical and physical properties of the inks and paints to create the patterns.  The viscosity and chemical composition of the inks, the porosity of the substrate, the humidity, and the temperature in the studio affect the patterns.  I often say that how I hold my tongue in the process also affects the designs.

I rarely use a paintbrush, but instead drop, dribble, float, pour, splatter, or splash onto the substrate. However, this is not just throwing paint or ink here or there and hoping for a good composition. It is choosing the spot to drop the ink, choosing the ink that will be changed to a new color when the next ink is added, choosing the chemical compositions and the viscosities of the two inks to push the previous ink to obtain a particular pattern, and all at the same time paying close attention to how the first layer of paints or inks have begun to dry. Seconds will affect whether the intended results are achieved and which patterns are obtained. The inks must have some wetness or the second ink applied to the first drops will not allow the inks to spread to form patterns. During the process, I am continually analyzing how one area is changing and attempting to place the next inks where they do not interfere with the first inks.  This is the biggest challenge of the process. 

Some patterns are happy accidents, but I have been doing this so long that I know how many drops of one ink will force another type of ink to spread and the patterns I will get. I embrace the happy accidents and am quick to change where a painting was headed if necessary to get a good composition. Sometimes there is a point with a painting that I say to myself that this one is a lost cause.  However, one more layer and then it may very well be my favorite painting. So I don’t give up easily.

Most of my paintings feature circles. It is the creation of these circular patterns that is so intriguing to me. I occasionally paint with no circles, but my work is known for its circles, and the layering of circles upon circles. 

I usually work in color, size, or composition series.  I have several different styles—some with lines, some with up to ten layers of painting and resin that give the paintings a dimensional quality, and some with metallic or mirrored leafing. 

You can view samples of my ink paintings on my website. Here are a couple of paintings that show how one element or pattern is obtained by dropping one color into another color of ink. No tools are used except an eye dropper.  

Acrylic pouring has a few similarities to my work, but still it is as different as painting with watercolors compared to oils. The similarities are that fluid acrylic artists usually work without brushes, and most often they float and tip to spread the paint.  They most often use silicone (which I do not use in my ink paintings) that makes it easier to create the cell patterns that many desire. However, these are still uncontrollable to a great extent—esp. the size, shape, color, and where they manifest in the acrylic pours. My paintings on the other hand have each major element as an intention or a deliberate action, and I choose the colors and the location of the elements.

Here are a couple of acrylic pour paintings that I have done.  You can see the cells that formed just as the patterns formed in my ink paintings. I did nothing except mix the paints and layer in a cup and flip it onto a board. It is very easy to see the difference in the effects as most of the designs are not symmetrical and most of the cells are small.

It is next to impossible to get a single symmetrical design element that is very large with acrylic pouring using most of the techniques that acrylic fluid painters use. 

You may have seen the videos of a variety of colors of paint poured through a kitchen strainer to obtain a flower or blooming pattern.  Except for a few designs such as those made by pouring one color of paint on another into a strainer or over a bottle, most acrylic pouring cellular patterns are anywhere from a few centimeters to an inch or two unless a tool such as a strainer is used to control the mix of the colors.  The ones that are larger tend to be one circle of one color paint poured into another circle of paint and on and on, but perfect circles are not the most often obtained patterns. One can get large areas that are flowing with acrylic pouring, but this is not anything like my paintings. I have been able to make a 24” in diameter circle with interesting symmetrical designs within much like a mandala. This is difficult with most acrylic pouring techniques. My large circular designs are caused more by a chemical reaction than the circles made with acrylic paint pours.  I do not use a strainer or any special tool to get my designs.

Yes, we are all masters by accident of acrylic pouring!  Even my two year old granddaughter’s first painting would have been considered a masterpiece.  ;)  However, there are those who have made their acrylic pours as backgrounds for their previously developed art style and their pours are now a signature part of their recognizable style. 

I do not want to make it sound like there is no control over acrylic pouring. To become good at it consistently, one has to do many pours. An acrylic fluid painter can work at developing paint formulas and color palettes that become recognizable as the artist’s work.  But it is very, very difficult to get to that point with acrylic pouring as there is so much left to chance.  I can name fewer than ten acrylic fluid painters out of the 25,000 acrylic pour artists in one forum I am on that I can put an artist’s name to their paintings the moment I see their paintings. So it is a real challenge to make a style one’s own with acrylic pours due to the lack of control with the process.  

I had made a post about eight years ago on artists who worked in similar processes as I work.  It is here if you wish to read it.  My next post may be on artists who work in a similar style as mine and have made it their own.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Changes and Moving Forward

A couple of weeks ago, I went on a working vacation to Toledo, OH for my sister's fiftieth birthday celebration.  It had been many years since all five sisters were together. It was a wonderful visit.

While in Toledo, we went to the Toledo Museum of Art especially to see the Rebecca Louise Law Installation of dried plant materials from all over the world. It was like walking through a waterfall jungle of dried leaves, pods and flowers. It was missing audio of birds singing, leaves rustling, or sounds of nature.  Even better would have been some sculptures made from the same materials.  

 Here are a few photos. 

Some of you may not know that in addition to my work with inks and resin that I also sculpt or make assemblages.  I could not help but think of how much more interesting this installation would be with about 15 sculptures of my gourd ladies or similar sculptures.   Here are just a few images so you can imagine it, too.

The morning before I went to see the installation, I happened to discover these dried onions, potatoes, and garlic.  I was so fascinated by them that I had to take a few photos.  I think a still life painting of them would be up my alley.

I'm headed to Alaska to visit my friends and family.  Just wanted to share a little of my last trip. 

Have a wonderful summer.  I plan on being cool for a few weeks and get lots of loving from the grandkids.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Shades of Blue, Mermaids and First Friday

The Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild is having a member show at the Artists' Loft and Gallery in Wake Forest, NC.  

When:   First Friday, June 1st, 2018 between 6:00 and 9:00pm

Where:  156 S. White Street
              Wake Forest, NC 

Stop by and introduce yourself.  We love to talk art.

Our show is titled Shades of Blue and approximately 90% of the paintings should be blue.

I had planned on posting a sneak peek of the display, but was unable to get a good photo.

This is my submission to the exhibit.  

The Origin of Bubbles

This painting is made with an acrylic pour and polymer clay mermaid, fish, seashells, starfish, and seahorse.  The bubbles are all alcohol inks in or on resin.  The resin is over an inch thick which gives it a very dimensional look.  

The photos below are closeups of the edges so you can see the layering of the paints and resin.  There are nine layers of paint and nine layers of resin. The resin is over an inch thick which gives it a very dimensional look.  

Detail of The Origin of Bubbles


A little about this painting...


I was inspired to create this painting after watching one of our CMMAG members, Marcia Streithorst, make encaustic paintings of mermaids, and following one of the other artists of the Loft, Hannah Stayton, paint a different mermaid or "merfish" each day for the month of May.  She took a different fish each day and added a tail of that fish to make a unique mermaid or merman.  You can see all 31 of her paintings on Hannah's Facebook business page.  Pretty impressive to create a different one every single day for a month.


I have been doing some acrylic pours for a few years, but they are often not exceptional, but I have found that the ones that are not the best are the ones that work the best when adding other deliberate types of art to them. As you may know, a lot of fluid paintings turn out by chance to be works of art and many others are not quite up to what one expects or desires. This painting was all blues and had very little going for it, but that is what makes it work for the background for a mermaid.  

The mermaid was created out of polymer clay in 2006 for a CMMAG sign for a show we were doing as a guild.  Each member chose a letter of the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild, and we each chose the medium we wanted to use for our letter. I chose the letter M and made a mermaid using the letter.  After the show was over, this mermaid sat in a drawer for twelve years.  Our guild encourages recycling, up cycling, reuse, and repurposing.  What better use for the mermaid than to add her to the acrylic pour that did not have enough going for it to be a stand alone painting.

I sculpted a fish, starfish, seahorse and a few seashells to go with her.

The bubbles are all alcohol inks.  Some have metallic or pearl pigment in them.  

The painting is on Ampersand Claybord™.

Come out tomorrow night and enjoy the evening of music, art, and friendship.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Circles: Dots and Spots, Halos and Rings, Saucers and Discs, Globes and Spheres, Spirals and Points

Available at Liquidambar

This blog post will be a little different than what I usually write.  

Recently, many people have commented on the use of circles in my paintings. Many asked, "What do you call your style of painting? Does it have a name?"

Most comments were very positive, and they would explain why they are drawn to circles.  A few asked if I can add straight lines.  Some of my paintings have lines such as the one below, but circles seem to always be what one sees first.

Mystery of Locus

I want to focus in this post on the use of circles in not only my paintings, but of circles in art throughout history. After thinking along the subject, I did a little online research.  

I found a book and Facebook page of The Story of Circlism by Edward C. Stresino, the Father of Circlism.  There is a blog post about Stresino as well which was a planned submission to Wikipedia. Another blog post claims that in 1985 Stresino discovered Circlism and others that make the claim that he is the Father of Circlism

Well, I nearly fell out of my chair!  I remembered having read an article in an old magazine many years ago about Circlism, and had occasionally thought that my work might fit into that style. I also paint in what I consider an organic process using the properties of the inks and the method of application to make the circles on their own.  I use no paintbrushes to make my circles so immediately felt that my art may be considered Organic Expressionism as well as Circlism. The strict definition as I see it though does not allow for my paintings to be considered Organic Expressionism.

A few weeks ago, I was going through some old issues of Horizon which were hardbound magazine-type books on art and culture.  The September 1961 issue has an article about Circlism.  The artist, Alexander Liberman, who was the former art director of Conde Nast publications, had called his style of art Circlism!  

This is a photo of the article.

This is a photo of the painting that accompanies the article.  If viewed in the book it vibrates.


Circles have been used since the caveman wrote on his walls, and since the Aborigines painted on their bodies and rocks up to 20,000 years ago. Since 1971, Aborigines have been known for their dot paintings which pre-dates 1985.  Some African tribes have used dot paintings on their faces for hundreds of years.  

Kandinsky was known for his circles in his paintings.  Circles in a Circle  shows Kandinsky's obsession with the circle as early as the 1920s. Although circles are featured prominently in many of Kandinsky's paintings, he was not the first to make them a featured element in his art.  You can read a good article here about the subject.

If you wish to see some current art of Circlism, check out the digital art of Ben Heine.  You will be blown away.  But remember this is digital art, and not the painstakingly mix of paint and application to a substrate.  Nevertheless, it is probably the future of art, and I am a fan.

So where am I going with this blog post?  

Circles have been a concept of man since he probably first looked up at the moon.  To call oneself the Father of Circlism assumes much that can not be lived up to. I doubt if we can really call anyone the Father of Circlism.  

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Studio News

Jeanne Rhea Studio News

January 2018

53rd Annual Sanford Brush & Palette Club Art Show

I was thrilled that Cosmic Kaleidoscope was the winner of the abstract category for the Sanford Brush and Palette's 53rd Annual Art Show. It is alcohol and acrylic inks, and 

resin on Ampersand Claybord™.  The competition was stiff so I am beyond ecstatic to 

win this category again this year.

I also entered the oil painting below, World Within, in the abstract category.  It received 

third place.

New Paintings

Portal to Infinity
Each panel is 36"x18"x1".

Clockworks VII

In other news

I took a trip to Alaska to install some paintings and to visit family and friends.  While 
there, I had two Accidental Painting classes-one for adults and one for kids.  I don't 
think I have ever taught any art that is as much fun as acrylic pouring.  It is rare for 
a participant to not want to do it over and over.  Below is proof that it is fun for young 
and old!

This is my two year old granddaughter pouring her chosen colors into her cup. She is already an artist!

Lots of fun making gingerbread houses with the little ones for Christmas. 
Always fun to see them make their own decisions on how they want their 
houses decorated.

If you are interested in an acrylic pouring workshop, please email me for available 


Happy New Year!

For 2018, I decided that I would enter one juried art competition each month.  It is difficult
to decide which Calls for Art to enter.

My alcohol and acrylic ink paintings have a high gloss resin for the final coating, and in
real life, they show their dimensional quality.  It is very difficult to obtain photos that
show this dimensional aspect, that  do not have hot spots, and the colors are true.
These challenges have been the reasons that I have not entered competitions when
judging is from photos.

I entered Frenetic Energy and was informed that I placed tenth in the painting category. What a surprise to start the New Year!  I can hear the thoughts a-whirring, "Tenth Place! That is not worth mentioning!" But I'll take it! There were thousands of entries and there were three categories.  There were ten awards and ten honorable mentions for each category.  So I am very happy to place in the top ten of the painting category.

This is Frenetic Energy in the All Women Art Exhibition by Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery.   To view other entries, click on the first link.

I look forward to submitting more artwork for juried shows.


2017 just flew by.  I am looking forward to 2018.  Each new year I reflect on the previous year and make a path for the New Year.  I have not made major goal changes for this year.
I want to continue to do my art, continue to improve, learn more, and hopefully, make this world a little better place for each of us.

Thank you to each of you who has offered kind words of encouragement, purchased my paintings, talked art with me, and shared your lives and passions. I appreciate every one 
of you!

If I have not met you in person and you wish to see my work in person in my studio, 
please contact me by email. I will be happy to set up a time and talk and show art!  If you are interested in attending a monthly Open Studio, please contact me by email for date and time.

Featured Artist at Artsy Shark

I was so happy to be the featured artist on Artsy Shark in July.  Such good company.  

Artsy Shark features a couple of artists each week, and also has very informative newsletters for artists and collectors.  

If you are an artist, it is a great resource with articles on the business of being an artist along with many other topics. If a collector, you will find lots of information on collecting art along with features on the artists who specialize in every type of art imaginable.  

NOTE:  I started this post July 12, and just realized that I had never published it along with two others. This is probably old news to most of you! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Experimenting with Marabu Paints

I love experimenting with new products. 

Recently Elena, my studio buddy, and I spent an afternoon playing with Marabu Porcelain and Glass Paints™ and resin. 

Our mission was to determine if these paints would work with resin using a similar process that I use when working with alcohol inks and resin, and to determine if these paints would work with the fluid or accidental painting process.

With EnviroTex Lite and EX-74, we got some interesting patterns. Here are two photos of some samples. The resins were freshly poured and the paints dropped in within 15 minutes.   A few that had two colors were manipulated with a needle tool by drawing lines across the center sections. If waiting too long, the effect was not as pronounced. If dropped too soon, the paints dispersed more as in the bottom three images. The samples are on 2" square Ampersand Stampbord™ or Claybord.™

If you know my work, you know that I love trying to get interesting patterns using the chemical and physical properties of the inks and paints that I use. Although these patterns are very different (more pointy lines and not so many circles) than my regular patterns, I can see there are possibilities in jewelry and other small works.  I doubt if I will be able to get large design elements since they dry fast when dropped into resin and that does not allow them to spread far.

We also used the Marabu Porcelain and Glass paints for pouring as fluid painters do.  The paints mixed more than most acrylics that we have used resulting in a more muted palette, but we still got some designs that were suitable for coasters. Note:  Photos were taken under a bright light so the colors would show well in a photo.  They are a little more muted in natural light, but I don't know how to do that with photo editing.

I had a play day and demo day for the Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild members this past week-end in my studio.  We had a blast pouring acrylic paints.  With fluid or accidental painting, there is often a lot of waste left from a pour. I captured some from one painting and used the acrylic skins to make a few coasters that are shown in the first photo below.  No waste in my studio! All of these are on Ampersand Claybord™.  I wish I had photos to share with you of all the member's work, but I am the worst at taking photos when friends are in my studio!

And finally, we made a lot of small magnets demo left-overs from the pours.  Some of these were made by turning the tile upside down onto dripped paint.  Fun to see what can be obtained with drips of paint!

Hope you enjoy!