Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Squish That Flower

The first in a series of posts answering the question: “How did you do that?”

Imagined Garden in Vase shown left is one of my Imagined Garden paintings. The images in that series are a distillation of the flowers I have known and loved all my life. Look with your heart and you will see your own special memories reflected there.

Now to the question: “How did I do those mum-like blooms in the vase?” The answer: “I squished them.”

The Making of a Squish Flower requires paint (soft and juicy), water with a tad of liquid detergent, paper or canvas, and plexiglass or flexible transparent plastic.

Some helpful hints: The paint should be the same as that in the rest of the painting. Using acrylic? Don’t dawdle!

The texture and absorbency of the paper make a difference. Experiment.

Keep the water in a spray bottle. Mine is labeled, “joyful water”.

Plexi has sharp edges. Use care or file them down. They work best if sanded on one side.

(I prefer the pliable sheets that come in packages of bacon or smoked salmon from the grocery.)

Place a blob or two of paint on the rough surface of your plastic. Spray with a bit of water if needed.

Center the plexi, paint side down, over your paper or canvas. Squish it by pressing on the clean side. Note that you can control the direction and degree of spread with your fingers.

Gently and immediately pull up one corner of the plastic. A pattern develops depending upon your direction of pull and the consistency of the paint.

Admire your flower.

I sometimes fiddle a bit with a moist brush and in some cases start the stem with the moist paint.

Just for fun you can cover all of the plexi and make a small print. Be sure to pull the plate up by one corner so that you get good texture. This is a great project for small hands, but be sure to use child friendly paints (washable and non-toxic) and smooth-edged squishers.

Thanks for tuning in to Squish Painting 101. Tune in next Tuesday for a more sophisticated (well, sort of) use of this technique. I welcome comments on this painting style and would love to hear about others.


  1. That looks like so much fun, I'll try it. Great post.

  2. What a unique technique and a fun one for children to try too.

  3. Like Beth says, it looks like fun! I'm going to have to try this the next time I drag out my watercolors. Your flowers are scrumptious!

  4. Great informative post! I love your technical terms - squishing! Definitely will have to try it.