Artist Spotlight: Erika Tenney

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Artist Spotlight: Erika Tenney

Artist: Erika Tenney Paint Pour Academy, Fluid Art with Erika

Hometown: Tucson, Arizona
Website URL: Paint Pour Academy & Desert Hippie Arts
YouTube | Facebook | Instagram

Can you tell us a bit about your background as an artist? How did you first get started with paint pouring?

My grandmother was a professional oil painting artist, and she gave me a love for art. She gave my sister and me drawing classes during our time as children. As much as I loved watching her and her work, I quickly found that drawing and structured painting were not for me. When my kids were little, I started scrapbooking, and I found myself falling in love with mixed-media art. In 2017, I discovered acrylic pouring, and I loved how unpredictable this technique was and how enjoyable it was to experiment with the paint. I was hooked!

What draws you to the medium of paint pouring? What do you enjoy most about it?

I struggle with structured art and drawing. With Acrylic Paint Pouring, I LOVE how versatile this art form is and how many different techniques there are to play around with. I also love how the techniques can be mixed and matched to create truly unique art pieces.

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Describe your creative process when approaching a new paint pouring project. Do you plan your compositions in advance, or do you prefer to let the process guide you?

I definitely let the process guide me! I will pick out the substrate I am painting on and have a color theme to start, but as I work on my art pieces, I will add more color or more layers depending on how I feel the piece is progressing.

Are there any specific techniques or methods that you frequently use in your paint pouring work? Could you walk us through one of your favorite techniques?

Fluid Art with Erika Dutch Paint Pouring Heart

Currently, my favorite technique is Dutch Paint Pouring. I LOVE using a hair dryer or my World’s Smallest Leaf Blower to push the paint around. I love the whispy effects created, and I love the endless options for using this technique. I have been using large wood shapes in my latest Dutch Paint Pouring projects, and they have been turning out AMAZING!

The Dutch Paint Pour technique was originally created by Artist Rinske Douna (who is Dutch). It produces delicate ribbons of color and beautiful lacing details by moving the paint around with a hair dryer or other mechanical blowing device.

What inspires your artistic style and choice of colors? Are there any particular themes or motifs that recur in your work?

I really believe that my personality inspires my artistic style. I am a little bit of “everywhere,” and I love all my hobbies and crafts. My sister helps me stay organized and “gives me rules” to keep me grounded, lol. This is clear when you look at my YouTube channel. I have experimented will all different techniques with fluid art, including resin art. I don’t just stick to one thing.

One of the recurring themes in my work is my passion for helping others learn. By experimenting and showing my process, including my errors, I hope that others can learn quicker so they can jump in and enjoy the fun as much as I do.

Can you share a memorable experience or a significant breakthrough moment you’ve had in your paint pouring journey?

A significant breakthrough moment was when I first started. I spent at least 8 months watching video after video on YouTube, trying to learn about acrylic paint and fluid art and how it all works. I had a notebook with me to write notes, and I wrote ideas and color combinations that I loved. I was so nervous to work on my first painting. My daughter helped me, and I was blown away at how it actually worked and how much fun it was to create something by pouring paint on canvas.

One of my first recordings of a paint pour project I did with my son.

Once I started, there was no stopping. I joined groups on Facebook and helped others with questions. The biggest roadblock that I have found is just getting started. Once that block was down, the fun never stopped.

How do you overcome creative blocks or challenges when working on a project?

I have learned that when I am working on something with an intentional outcome, I need to be relaxed and focused. I have my notebook that I created to keep notes and photos, and I work it out before I mix the paint. I have found that when I am working on my art after a stressful day, then my art looks messy and almost angry. If I have a pleasant day and I am relaxed, my art looks amazing and brings a smile to everyone’s face.

Art is emotional, and it can be a source of release for most people. Fluid Art helps us create without intention, ground us, and bring a little visual light into our world.

Fluid Art with Erika Dutch Paint Pouring Cat

Do you have any favorite tools or materials that you always keep in your paint pouring arsenal? What are they, and why do you love them?

Yes! My FAVORITE is the World’s Smallest Leaf Blower! This tool packs a punch on the smaller projects and I have used it over and over. My other favorite tool is my cake spinner and storage bin. I have used these endlessly and have created some amazing pieces by spinning my canvas, which actually helps to balance out the paint.

For my resin art, I LOVE my Resiner’s Bubble Removing Machine. It has helped me remove 99% of the bubbles in my clear resin and get crystal-clear results, which I have struggled with for some time. I also love my Pixiss resin mixer. My hands and elbows are much happier now without all that mixing, lol!

How do you know when a paint pouring piece is finished? What criteria do you use to evaluate your work?

This is a hard question for me because I tend to fidget too much with the techniques. I also tend to use too much paint, and then I overanalyze my art and try to fix the smallest detail, which leads me to change everything. It has taken me a long time to TRUST THE PROCESS and work slower.

Now, when I start a piece, I verbally say out loud, “Don’t use too much paint; trust the process.” Surprisingly, my art has had much better results by doing this.

What advice would you give to aspiring paint pouring artists who are just starting out?

Just get started! As you create more and repeat the process, your art improves. As you mix more paint, you start to feel the paint consistency easier. Don’t be afraid to make errors, experiment and take notes. Have no expectations, learn and get comfortable with one technique at a time, and have fun!

Fluid Art with Erika Cloud Pour Technique

Are there any upcoming projects, exhibitions, or collaborations that you’re excited about and would like to share with our readers?

Yes! I just finished the Made in Tucson market with my sister. It is a local, twice-a-year market that spotlights Tucson Local Artists. It is a lot of work but it was super fun! The next one is in November.

I am also launching the Artist Spotlight on this website. I am super excited to get to know artists (like me) better, and I am so grateful I can help support their art and adventures. I have found that our artist community is caring and loving, and I enjoy seeing all of the stunning artwork being created with the same techniques I love. I can’t wait to see how this evolves!

Lastly, where can we find more of your work or connect with you online?

Here are my links. Website URL: Paint Pour Academy & Desert Hippie Arts | YouTube | Facebook | Instagram

Fluid Art with Erika Acrylic Paint Pouring Technqiues Level 1

Join Our Artist Spotlight Program!

Are you a talented Fluid Artist looking to share your passion and creativity with the world? We’d love to feature you in our Artist Spotlight program! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out on your artistic journey, we want to showcase your unique style and story. If you’re interested in being featured, simply reach out to us through our contact page. Let’s shine a spotlight on your artistry together!

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