Let Your Paint Splatters Bloom Into Flower Gardens | A Step-by-Step Mixed-Media Tutorial

Isn’t it amazing that we can make something out of nothing? Take note cards, for example. You can take a blank piece of cardstock, fold it and cut it, follow Tammy Northrup’s directions for splattering paint into the form of a garden, and bam! You have a handmade card. Tammy’s flower gardens are featured in Cloth Paper Scissors (subscribe here for more mixed-media lessons), and as a special thank-you for connecting with us online, I’ve included her technique. Use this as a guide for creating mixed-media handmade cards, stand-alone artworks, or whatever else your imagination leads you to.

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Painted flower gardens by Tammy Northrup so you can refer back to this step-by-step lesson for handmade cards and other projects.

Create a Flower Garden by Tammy Northrup

Creating art has always been an important part of my life. I have tried a variety of media over the years, always looking for a new idea or technique to try. Along the way I discovered that adding paint splatters to my watercolors and mixed-media pieces gave them extra texture. After years of playing with different paintbrushes and paints, I found I could splatter paint and then use my imagination to create an Impressionistic-style garden painting. It’s a free style of painting that requires little or no drawing skill. All you need is creative thinking and bold expression. Each painting turns out different, depending on the color of paint you use and the amount of splatters you create.

1. Squeeze a variety of acrylic paints onto the paper plate or palette. Use the paint straight from the bottle. It’s the perfect consistency. (Acrylic paints in a tube are too thick.) I use dark, medium, and light green, and a few flower colors.

2. Place some scrap paper on your protected work surface to practice splattering. Load the larger round brush with green paint.

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Figure 1

3. Flick the loaded paintbrush across your index finger, being sure to flick the paint away from you. (Figure 1) Try holding the paintbrush close to your paper and then farther away to see how the splatters change. Keep practicing until you are happy with how the splatters look. Try some different colors to discover the combinations you like best.

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Figure 2

4. When you are satisfied with your practice pieces, place a piece of watercolor paper on the protected surface. Protect the sky area of your painting by covering it with a piece of scrap paper. (Figure 2) I like to tear this paper so it has an uneven edge.

5. Splatter green paint onto the unprotected area of the watercolor paper to create stems. I use dark green paint first, followed by medium green, and then light green. Sometimes I add a few other colors, especially near the bottom of the painting. (Figure 2)

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Figure 3

6. Next, add a few splatters of color to create flowers. Remove the protective paper and add a few more splatters for a more natural look. (Figure 3) Let dry.

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Figure 4

7. Use a paintbrush to add dabs of colors to suggest flowers and leaves. Don’t paint every petal; just give the impression of a flower. Use light and dark shades of your flower colors to give the flowers depth. (Figure 4)

Once you’re comfortable with splattering paint you can combine it with other techniques and ideas. Try splattering on a watercolor sky or on a canvas with a painted acrylic background. Take inspiration from different seasons and landscapes to create a variety of splattered-paint art.” ~T.N.

Don’t you just love the results? Read Tammy’s additional tips for painting Impressionistic flower gardens below, where you can also let us know how you plan to incorporate this mixed-media art technique. If you’re not a subscriber to Cloth Paper Scissors yet, click here to begin receiving instruction and inspiration such as this to your mailbox or inbox.

Let your flowers bloom,

Tammy’s tips for painting Impressionistic flower gardens:
• Splattering paint can be messy, so make sure you wear an apron and work on a protected surface. Also protect the area around your worktable. I have a trifold presentation board that I put around my work area to catch the stray splatters.
• Lots of paint on your brush will give you long, stem-like splatters. Less paint produces flecks of paint.
• When you rinse the paintbrush to change paint colors, be sure to dry the brush with a paper towel. Extra water in the paint makes it too runny for good results.
• If you get a big glob of paint that you don’t like, leave it alone and let it dry. After it’s dry, scrape or lift it off with the tip of the craft knife. Touch up the area with a bit of paint if needed.


Blog, Mixed-Media Painting Techniques, Mixed-Media Techniques


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