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How to Technique: “Pour Painting”

June 7, 2010


 
  How to Technique: “Pour Painting”

If you have never, ever, ever tried to make a painting before, but really want something you made yourself, this is a no-brainer. 🙂  Anyone can do this.

One way to get started would be to pick a few colors you like and want to put together.  You can use a brush and make one color the “background” of the canvas surface: paint the canvas and its edges that color entirely.  Then pour the other colors you have selected onto the canvas.

It helps if the paint is very liquid; thin the paints with water or a solvent if they are oil-based, to a consistency that flows but still has a desirable level of opacity.  Leftovers from latex indoor or house paints, enamels, acrylics and craft store hobby acrylics, and thinned oils can all be poured.  You can paint oil paints over the top of any other paint just listed, but you cannot reverse this; the other paints will not stick on top of the slippery oils.  Chemically, oils can be over-painted onto other paints; other paints will not stick to oil paints.

I did the canvas in the image because I had some left over Speedball magenta, cyan and yellow process acrylic inks from silkscreen printmaking, which I watered down and poured from their jars.  I splashed water from a bottle onto the canvas before I poured the colors, which I left fall from waist high or higher.  There was some nice splatter patterns created that I like; and because the roof of my Chicago apartment building is uneven in every area, there was a slight tilt to the canvas which made the liquid flow and blend directionally.  I just wanted to have fun with the colors, see how the random blending worked out and play with this as a base / beginning to paint over with more layers.  It has a cheery tie-dye effect that says “kid’s room”.

Here are some Pour Painting pointers:

  • Use a canvas that is laying flat, propped upright at an angle, or move the canvas around manually while the paint is wet.
  • Use a piece of soaking wet watercolor paper -300 lb. variety is the best- with inks, watercolors or thinned acrylics.  Flatten it under a weighted board when it is dry, hang it, maybe even frame it.
  • Put oil paints on a canvas very thickly with a brush, when you are satisfied with your surface coverage, splash the surface of the painting with mineral spirits, and let it run and ooze.
  • Push the paint siting on the canvas with canned air for dusting inside your computer.
  • Get free plastic syringes from the drug store, eyedroppers, spray bottles set to “mist” or plastic drinking straws (dip into your color, cover one end firmly with a finger, and let the magic of “surface tension” do its thing) to drip and spray paint.
  • Throw it and fling it Jackson Pollock style.

It is probably best if you do this technique outside, in a basement or someplace that isn’t going to be a problem if it gets messy.  Tarps and plastic sheeting are also a good idea.  Messy is the idea, bu think of the reward.  If you get a nice big canvas all colorful, you can hang it and invite people over for a dinner or cocktail party and please do gush that you made it yourself.

Some people have gone to graffiti with these ideas.  I have seen guerrilla street art where people have taken water bottles that have pop up tops filled with thinned liquid acrylic paints or water balloons filled with the same which are used to rapidly bombard white walls, ugly subways and other places with free-for-all painting joy.  Warning: this is not legal, but I have seen what I feel are some very lovely improvements altruistically gifted to the urban environment.

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Categories: Painting, Uncategorized
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