Painting without a paintbrush may sound strange to some, but for Estelle Renberger, instructor of the class Let Go & Create, said it’s a unique way to create something out of her control.

The McPherson Arts Alliance Gallery, located at 223 S. Main St., is now offering the class, which allows both skilled artists and newcomers to create art without a paintbrush.

"It's a very freeing way to paint and a relaxing way to paint and to let go of any thoughts about rules and how you should paint, what you should do or how to make a tree or shapes. It’s a playful way to paint," Renberger said.

The class is offered on a monthly basis and has grown in popularity since starting in September.

"I've had people return and come more than once," Renberger laughed.

Renberger said most who attend don't understand when she says there are no paintbrushes involved, but with her pouring technique, there is no need for one.

"You layer acrylic paint with oils and you mix each one separately. Then you pour them all into a cup and flip it upside down on a canvas and when you lift the cup up, the paints interact with the oils," Renberger explained.

After the paint has settled, artists can use a straw and blow on the paint to bring up colors that may be hidden below a dominant color, or to create different effects. Painters can also use a blow torch — the heat brings up some of the layers although not as quickly and effectively compared to blowing through the straw.

This class offers a creative outlet for each artist to create a totally unique piece.

"Everyone's painting is different and everyone chooses their own colors. You can't predict the unpredictability of it and you don't know exactly how the paints will react and how they’re layered in the cup," Renberger said.

Renberger was intrigued by this medium from when she created faux finishes on old furniture.

"I used a technique a lot like this and I looked around on the internet and someone was doing the same sort of thing, only on a canvas," she explained.

After many trials and errors and mixing different recipes, the right one finally came to life.

"I tried different ones and I kept putting different combinations of products, finally after working on it after a couple of weeks, I came up with what you call a recipe for this mix that pretty much gives a good result every time," Renberger said. "I knew that the alcohol and oils that you could spray on created a resist for the paints I was using. I was using spray paints back then on furniture and you got a dotted effects or the running effect. I never thought about trying it on a canvas and so it was just a lot of experimenting and it finally came out the way I wanted to."

After figuring out the perfect mixture, Renberger wanted to share her unique experiment with others.

"I'm fascinated by it and a little bit addicted to it. I think some of the people that take the classes end up that way too," she laughed.

Classes are usually scheduled on a monthly basis and are $40 per person, with all materials provided. The class is taught in the Mary Anderson Arts Center, on the lower level of the McPherson Opera House.

For more information, call 620-241-5774 or visit the McPherson Arts Alliance Gallery Facebook page for updates and future classes.

Contact Brooke Haas by email at or follow her on Twitter @ MacSentinel.