Indy artist uses unique approach to paint art in motion

Even frozen on the canvas, the painting seems to shimmer, surge and flow.

Colors appear in motion, while lines and forms blur together. Each work draws heavily from the natural world.

Paula Jessup spent hours working to perfect her approach to fluid art, figuring out how to layer paints in just the right way. The result is invigorating artwork that almost seems alive.

“I came across fluid art by accident and decided I would try it. I loved it and became obsessed with the color combinations, consistency, texture, and the fluid movement of the paint,” she said.

After years as a successful photographer, Jessup has ventured into a new and exciting genre of art. Her abstract paintings and digital art have given her a new way to express herself and her emotions — offering viewers a glimpse into her own world.

That artwork will be on display this month at the Southside Art League, which has chosen Jessup as its guest artist for April.

“All of my pieces are a representation of me, what I may feeling at that moment, what may be going on in life in general,” she said. “My hope is that people enjoy the technique of fluid art and abstract art, and that they can see each piece I’ve created and get the sense of emotion I have tried to convey.”

Born and raised in Indianapolis, Jessup felt the pull of creativity throughout her life. She loved drawing as a teenager, filling notebooks with sketches and portraits, before transitioning to painting.

But it was after her purchasing her first digital camera in her 20s that she truly found her niche.

“When that happened, I was hooked on photography,” she said.

For the past 30 years, Jessup worked as a photographer, specializing in abstract and minimalist work. She has entered innumerable contests and won awards, while she has collaborated with authors to include her photographs as their book covers.

Her work has been displayed all over the world.

But it was over the past two years that Jessup pivoted into a new artistic interest.

“The last few years, with everything with the pandemic and being quarantined, I got back into painting. I started doing some research and discovered something called fluid art,” she said. “When I started doing that, I realized I really like it. The compositions and the colors and the flows, I really enjoyed. So for the past year, I’ve just been painting away.”

Fluid art took some adjusting to. Jessup experimented with diffrent techniques, figuring out how to layer the paint to make it look the right way.

She likes to create “cells” in her paintings, layering heavy paints on top of less dense paint. The heavier paint moves downward, resulting in the cells.

“It’s actually quite interesting to watch this happen, and it isn’t always easy,” she said.

Jessup has done abstract art and textured art combined with the fluid art technique — following her interests wherever they take her. Her paintings are dictated by either the color or composition, both working together to make a cohesive piece.

The Southside Art League show is her second solo exhibition. The show will have mostly fluid art pieces, but Jessup also included some pieces that are acrylic with texture, as well as digital artwork.

As a special treat, she has also included her very first oil painting, named “Passing Storm.”

After a tumultuous couple of years for everyone, this exhibition is an opportunity to show her growth as an artist and as a person.

“Like many people over the last few years, I found myself with extra time and the need for something positive and beautiful in my everyday life,” she said.