For the past couple months, I have been experimenting with creating paintings where the paint is poured onto the canvas instead of applied with a paintbrush. My two daughters thought it would be fun to try this style of painting too. The video below shows my daughter Darby making her first acrylic poured painting. Either I am an incredible teacher, or she has an innate talent because she rocked it on her first try!
Summer is a time of artistic exploration for me. I spend most of the season in Colorado (out of the New York City heat) where I have a small studio with only a hand full of art supplies. I find having fewer art materials to work with helps me to be more creative with the ones I do have.
I have been wanted to try my hand at acrylic poured paintings. It is a technique where the acrylic paint is poured directly onto the canvas and mingles together into interesting compositions. With only limited control over the paint, every pour gives a different result. Adding other materials (alcohol, silicone, PVAc, and more) to the pour also changes the look of the painting. Even the paints’ opacity and density is a factor that alters the final product.
Working with all these variables has made the creation of these painting more an exercise in chemistry than art. More challenging than I thought, I’ve encountered a number of problems. These problems include:
Crazing – This is where the top layer of the paint dries faster than the bottom layers and causes cracking of the paint surface. This is most likely from the paint being too thick (solution: thin paint) or from not pouring enough of the excess paint off the canvas (solution: leave a thinner layer of paint on canvas.)
Broken paint cells – I add silicon to the paint to create these cells. I am either mixing the silicon into the paint too vigorously (solution: gently, lightly stir in silicone), or trying to over-extend the paint by tilting the canvas too long (solution: use more paint).
Muddy color – I get dirty, brown colors when complementary colors (red+green=mud) mix into each other (solution: be careful of which colors are poured next to each other) and over-manipulating the paint on the canvas (solution: don’t tilt the paint on the canvas back and forth over itself.)
I find I’m getting closer to my intentions with every try but I still have a long way to go. Once I have the technical aspects worked out, I will post a video so you can see the process in action. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them. Advice is always appreciated.