As we briefly discussed methods of thinning acrylics, I thought I’d introduce you to the pouring painting technique. I used this technique to create paintings “Alive”, “Wonderland”, and “Amarantine”. All can be found in my Facebook gallery that you can access from the home page. I find the pouring technique fun and most unpredictable. It has major potential and it will take your creativity to the next level. It might even discover something new in you. Either way, I guarantee, it will be one of your most favorite techniques.
What is pouring painting technique? Pouring painting technique requires you to pour paint on the canvas. You can use containers, cups, bottles…etc. You can also dip a stick or large brush in to the paint and let paint drip on canvas, but this would be called drip painting technique or Jackson Pollock technique.
Let’s get back to pouring. In order to be able to pour acrylics, you will have to thin them first. In my previous post I mentioned that you can use water (30/70 ratio – water/ acrylic), airbrush medium or flow aid. Comparing to water I would go with airbrush medium, you can use any ratio with it to control consistency of paint; where with water 30 % may not be enough to make your thick acrylics flow. All depends on what kind of acrylic you are using. Thinning will only apply to thick acrylics like student grade, artist, and professional acrylics. You can also use craft acrylics that are already thinned. However, I do not recommend it, as there is way too much water in craft acrylics; overuse of paint will cause cracking of paint when fully dried.
Before starting this fun process I suggest watching couple of YouTube videos to get an idea of the technique and inspiration.
Get started. You will need: old clothes or apron to cover clothes, gloves, plastic cups, newspaper, paint, water or airbrush medium/ flow aid, and TIME. Time is extremely important ingredient in this pouring technique recipe. Availability of time in this case would be directly proportional to the level of success of your art’s final result. You have to dedicate 2-3 hours to this piece. Acrylic is a water based paint, it dries fast. As time passes, paint will be harder to move or to merge. With this technique you’ll have to concentrate and think progressively. With all that said, ironically, it will take good 2 days for this painting to dry, because some layers will be thicker or thinker then others.
Let’s go for it. Get a bunch of newspaper and cover you working space. It will get messy! You will also need couple of wooden boards. Place canvas on them to hold it above newspaper (make sure canvas securely sits on its frame only). Otherwise, newspaper will stick to the canvas, and it will be extremely hard to peal it off. You can use any other non-sticking objects to hold the canvas. For the start, get a smaller sized canvas like 12’ x ’16. This size will provide enough of working area for you to experiment with pouring technique. Always prime your canvas. Primer will make surface thicker protecting it from paint getting through and leaving marks on the other side of canvas. Make sure canvas is dry before use. It’s time to prepare the paint. Take a few colours, not too many, for example you can get a few in the same shade, like cerulean blue, prime blue, purple, lighter shade of purple. You can pick any colour palette you want, whatever talks to you at the moment. Thin your acrylics in cups using separate cup for each colour. Make sure you have enough paint; that it is mixed well with no lumps, and that it is thin enough to flow. Acrylic will start drying immediately; you will not have time to mix more. You can use paper like water cups or plastic cups. I use little plastic containers from baby food. Once paint is ready, you can start pouring it on the canvas. Try to visualize first how you want to arrange your colours, and then pour them bit by bit in different areas of the canvas. Then, gently move your canvas to allow colours to travel, to merge. Add more paint, let it cover empty spots, go over edge covering sides. Paint will intermix and create design. You can somewhat control where and how you want paint to run. Once canvas is covered you can add more colour to it. Make sure canvas surface is fully covered. Missed spots will be hard to fill after. You can leave your art alone to dry now, or you can use chopstick or other side of brush to add design by swirling paint, creating objects, and theme (make sure the paint is still flowing). It’s all on you how you want to see your story unfold.
With more practice you will discover more methods and ideas how to work paint using the pouring method. Welcome mistakes as opportunities, and, most importantly, have fun!