Collection: Jaimè Bell - Big Sky Fluid Art

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I am a self-taught painter and former high school English teacher of 11 years whose roots are deep in northern countries. I grew up in Eagle River, Alaska where I first experienced the joy and peace of the Great Outdoors. My family encouraged close communion with nature – hiking, skiing, fishing, camping, boating – and also encouraged creative and artistic expression – poetry, pottery, crochet, painting, drawing, crafting. This being instilled early in life directed my path as I chose where and how to live.

In the summer of 2020, when I discovered fluid abstracts, I immediately fell in love with the look: organic, natural – like the sky in the evening, Aurora Borealis, billowing clouds; or a bubbling river, ripples from a drop of water; or petrified wood, slices of agate, roaring flames; nature as big as galaxies or as small as living cells. It spoke to me. As I experimented with acrylic pouring, I found that I loved the process as well. Mixing paints for fluid art can take hours and is very meditative. I combine acrylic paint with a pouring medium like Floetrol, glue, or even just water. I sometimes use a silicone additive to create cells or just rely on fluid dynamics and the different densities of paint to create a cellular effect.

The act of pouring paint on canvas is usually fast, messy, hard to control – like balancing on the knife edge of chaos. You can only plan so much and then you have to feel it, proceed instinctively – go with the flow. Accept what it will give you – accept what it ends up becoming and work with it… so like life. I choose from a myriad of techniques such as flip cup, swipe, container pour, Dutch pour, string pull, ring pour, straight pour, etc. I love how experimental and even scientific this style of painting can be. The colors come together in surprising ways based on the density of the paint, the quality and color of the pigment and binder used in different paints and pouring mediums can make the same technique come out entirely different. I find myself spending weeks and even months with only four colors used in a variety of ways to create an endless spectrum of effects and contrasts.

Nature is central to my work: all my pieces reflect whimsical or abstract representations of the world around me. The jagged mountains around my home, gnarled pine forests, copses of birch in my backyard evoke an emotional awareness that fuels my work. For me, it is the effect of nature that I want to channel, not the descriptive detail of a landscape, so my pieces have subtle or minimal hand painting in order to emphasize the background…the pour… and the overall effect of the composition. I feel no obligation to represent nature realistically, which gives me the freedom to work with the quasi-controllable process of acrylic pouring… a process that can be unpredictable and chaotic – like nature – and lead to just as many emotional responses.

My work can be viewed on my page Big Sky Fluid Art through Facebook and Instagram. I participate in local markets and also take commissions. This spring and summer, 33 pieces of my work will be on exhibition at KALICO art center in Kalispell as well. I teach pouring classes at both KALICO and Stumptown art studio and announce these classes via social media.

Also find me at these local events: