Meet the Lafayette Woman Who Creates Art for Painting: Acadiana Makers


Stuck in bed with four torn ligaments in her ankle, Janie Varisco spent a weekend in the summer of 2019 watching more than 100 YouTube videos of people pouring large amounts of paint onto canvases, spinning them or using dryers. hair to create different effects.

After so much “research”, she was ready to try the acrylic painting technique herself.

“I’m a creative person,” Varisco said. “I always, always, always wanted to be an artist. I wanted to paint. But I can’t draw. It’s an art that I think anyone can do.”

So, for her wedding anniversary, she asked to celebrate with a trip to a local craft store for supplies. Less than three years later, a back patio of their home has been converted into an art room filled with paint in all colors, thicknesses and finishes, as well as hooks, tongue depressors, spatulas, straws and other tools that might not appear, at first sight, to be for painting.

Janie Varisco de Lafayette creates unique and beautiful works of art using the acrylic painting method.

She uses the giant tongue depressors to mix and scoop paint. Wooden hooks and skewers allow him to manipulate wet paint to include swirling detail. She uses large straws and her own breath to blow ripples into the paint or create a circular center for what will become a multicolored flower.

Varisco continues to follow YouTubers for new ideas and inspiration. She credits them with the many techniques she learned and refined as well as the different formulas she tested and wrote down in notebooks.

Adding alcohol ink and powdered pigment gives different results, as does changing the amount of latex paint additive or silicone oil. She discovered it through trial and error, which she calls “playing.”

“You have to play,” she says as she starts a new modified bloom project.

Art as therapy

Varisco was a wedding planner for over 20 years before retiring. She is used to being in control and organizing down to the smallest detail. That’s not how paint-pour works. She has to let go and drop the paint where she wants.

Lafayette's Janie Varisco creates a modified flower using the acrylic painting technique in her home shop on Tuesday, March 15, 2022.

“If I don’t like it, it’s not a mistake. It’s just the way it came out,” she said.

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She finds the process therapeutic.

“It cleans out the cobwebs in your brain,” Varisco said. “Other parts of me are all turned off when I’m in this room.”

Creating flowers, her latest obsession, allows her to have a bit more influence over the elements. She pours the paint then handles it with her hair dryer or her plastic straw.

She learned to paint leaves and other embellishments and create her own videos. She posts 3-minute time-lapse videos of her process on TikTok, where she has garnered hundreds of followers.

The sexagenarian is getting used to embarking on new challenges. Two years ago she wrote a book and built a following with her art, although she’s adamant it’s not a career. That would take the whole game away, she said.

“I tell people, especially women, don’t be afraid to try something, no matter how old you are,” Varisco said. “Who said I couldn’t be someone at 60?

Contact Leigh Guidry, Children’s Issues Reporter, at [email protected] or on Twitter @LeighGGuidry.

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