Friendly Competition: Flip Cup vs. Freestyle

This blog entry is all about a friendly head-to-head pour painting competition. The competition (really it’s just a comparison) isn’t between two artists but rather two very different painting styles. Before I continue I have to give credit where it is due: this entire blog and video were inspired by an Atlanta based artist named Hannah Pearman. You can see her beautiful artwork at her site.  

Supplies I Used: 



I read in our local paper that an artist was going to be a doing a pour painting demonstration at a brewery near my home. I like beer and I like pour painting, so I went. I’m so glad I did because the way Hannah used pour painting to create her artwork was so different than the way I usually work. I’m all about choosing your colors, choosing your canvas and letting the paint do all the work. I especially love doing the flip cup technique because I truly feel like an invisible hand is making the painting right before my eyes. You know that feeling of awe when you lift the cup and a little galaxy is born. It’s pure magic for me.


Typically when I paint the goal is to avoid manipulating the paint too much. I want the painting to create itself. The most I’ll get involved is to tilt the canvas (but not too much!) and if I absolutely have to, I’ll do a swipe. I wish you could have been at the demonstration that day because the way Hannah painted opened up a whole new pour painting world to me as an artist.


This video gives a pretty good idea of how she worked. It was free, loose, and fun. She worked on a large canvas and worked intuitively as she poured, drizzled, and tilted. She easily worked 30 or more minutes on one painting. It was beautiful watching the painting go through it’s growth process. The overall look of the painting would change every few minutes. It was like the painting was evolving as I watched. Hannah simply kept adding more paint and manipulating the paint until she was happy with the overall look of the canvas.


In the video I do a side-by-side comparison of a flip cup painting and a freestyle painting (the style Hannah used). I used the same colors for both paintings. I wasn’t totally excited about the color selection (white, black, gray, and orange) but those were the colors that a client had requested. My plan was to make two pour paintings. I would use the same colors for both but create each painting using the two different styles. When the paintings were done I would let the client choose. 


Competition Featured Iamge


When the side-by-side painting competition was over I definitely liked the freestyle painting better than the flip cup. I sent photos of both paintings to the client and interestingly enough she initially chose the flip cup versionthen she changed her mind and wanted the freestyle version. In the end I think I sent them both to her just to be nice.


If you have time I highly recommend you try this. You don’t need to do a side-by-side comparison like I did but try freestyle painting. It’s fun but it does take more time and mental effort than your simple flip cup. You may love this style of pour painting so much that you never go back to the old flip cup technique. Either way it will be one more step down the creative road we have chosen to travel.

9 thoughts on “Friendly Competition: Flip Cup vs. Freestyle”

  1. Steve – Would please elaborate on the two-part epoxy you mention. Also, a video of you using it on your paintings would be helpful. I have used FolkArt Clearcoat Extra Thick Glaze in spray form and have found it to be effective.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Steve. It was fascinating to see the differences between the 2 techniques! ????????????

  3. Your paint for a flip cup is far too thin, hence why it looks so muddy. If each colour is thicker it doesn’t blend so much.

  4. As someone who hasn’t yet even ‘dipped his toe’ in the technique I found it all very interesting. But it wasn’t clear if there was already a base of white, i.e., acrylic and glue mix, as with some demos. It doesn’t appear to be all that important – is it?

    1. Sometimes you can pour onto white paint, but most of the time you don’t really need to. It just depends what you’re trying to make!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *