The Creation of Stella By Bobbi Willmer


Trying to recreate a painting that you noticed online can be difficult and extremely frustrating (especially during your first attempts to do so.)

In today’s episode, Bobbi Willmer shares with us how she created one of her whimsical characters “Stella” using the controlled open cup pour method.

If you have experienced this frustration first hand and/or never heard of a controlled open cup pour then we encourage you to check out this new acrylic pouring technique today!

This episode is sponsored by – the leading fluid arts website which provides fluid artists around the world the inspiration and tips they need.

If you are new to fluid arts and want to get started now then go to  to learn the 5 fundamentals of making beautiful acrylic pours for FREE.  Also, join their Facebook community where every day artists just like YOU are sharing their newest creations that just might end up on another one of these episodes.

More about today’s guest:

Bobbi Willmer has loved art since she was a child, likes to draw, and began creating fluid art in June 2019. Her love for whimsical looking characters has evolved into more than 35 impressive paintings using this controlled open cup pour method and has not needed to scrape one yet!

Walk us through your controlled open cup process:

It’s a strange process and it takes me a few days. The night before I do a painting (usually or a couple days before) I find a picture online that speaks to me and I save it.

Then I draw a small picture on a notepad, mark where the colors should go, and I put it in my studio. Once I’ve got the right size canvas and I’m ready to create, I mix up my paints and draw this character on the canvas with chalk.

I place puppy pads underneath the canvas, mark the corners where specific details (eyes, chin, ears,etc.) will go, and then I erase the chalk and start with the cup (using my freehand drawing as a guide.)

(TIP) Don’t forget to add your base coat (get it as smooth and nice as you can) in order to move and shape your character.

In Stella’s case, I set the cup down where her head would be and then created her antlers first, out towards the ears next, and I work my way down (typically always adding the eyes last.) 


(TIP) If I know where I’m going to place the eyes beforehand, I try to avoid loading it up with paint by going around that.

How do you select your colors?

Once I’ve drawn the picture out on my notepad, I mark the colors by writing “Pink, Teal, White,” for example. I really do try to pour according to the picture but sometimes I do choose different shades of the same color since it never exactly matches the photo. 

A visual of me marking the colors of another character in my collection

If the picture does use extremely bright primary colors then it can be a little scary since they don’t always blend well together but thankfully it always seems to work out.

What about your paint consistency?

The consistency in a controlled open cup pour does not differ much from doing a straight pour. If I’m just doing a regular open cup, I might do it a little thinner so that it moves around a lot but the consistency for this process was not thin.

I use a mix of floetrol, all kinds of paints, and liquitex gloss medium. I want to do the shifting myself (not the other way around) so it’s a little thicker than you’d think but not super thick either.

What supplies are needed for a controlled open cup pour?

My typical supplies I use: Creamer cups, crochet needles, a bamboo skewer, plastic spoon, torch, and toothbrushes to splatter with.

Supplies that I use

I use the tiny creamer cups (like you’d get from 7-Eleven) to pour through because the smaller the cup, the better control I have (especially in certain areas like the ears & eyes.)

I leave as much of the cup intact, and just take the end off so that you have something to hold on to when you’re moving it around.

A variety of small creamer cups

Does height make a difference?

I do try to pour from higher up if possible (even when using a really small cup.) You can try not to make mistakes but honestly, if you do drip beyond your cup, it’s perfectly ok because you’re going to go somewhere with that cup anyway.

What about the eyes?

I’ve learned over time that it helps to add the eyes, nose, and outlines last. I spend a fair amount of time on the eyes, trying several methods to reveal each character’s expression.

How long did this process take from start to finish?

From start to finish it typically takes me about four hours to create these whimsical characters. These hours consist of choosing the perfect character, drawing it out at night, marking the colors, mixing up the paints, and getting the canvas ready.

A visual of everything needed for another character in my collection

How do you name your paintings?

Naming my paintings is actually pretty fun. Once I am confident that my creation is complete, I take photos, look up names of animals that are popular, and sit back while I go through the lists. 

I typically throw some of the names I like against my husband and/or my son to get their feedback and I’ll eventually come to a decision while looking at the character.

In this case I thought ”Does it look like a Stella or does it look like a Henry?” To me it resembled a female and since I’m a Seinfeld fan I thought, “Stella!!” so this name felt like the perfect fit.

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What do you plan to do with all of your paintings?

I’m trying to build a collection of my favorites. I’ve done 35 or so characters and there are some that I’m sure I’ll part with eventually but for right now, my plan is to continue painting and further developing my artistic abilities.

Attached below are a few of my other whimsical creations and a link to my social media platforms:


Bobbi’s Media Platforms:



3 thoughts on “The Creation of Stella By Bobbi Willmer”

  1. Alicia Franco

    It was nice to read the thought process that goes into your paintings… your talent and the works you create are off the chart! Love them all. Saving up for when you open your Etsy shop. Please continue to bring laughter and good feelings to our lives with your work

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