One of the great things about acrylics is the speedy drying time. If you are just mixing with water and no other medium then the drying time is very quick and this I tend to find helps the creative flow, as you don’t have to wait for one layer to dry before getting on with applying your vision to the piece you are working on.
Acrylic is a very versatile painting medium though and you can just as easily mix any acrylic with a retarder that makes it more like painting with oils where the painted surface remains wet for a good length of time after application.
Acrylics are the perfect medium for experimentation and you can buy a huge range of different media to add to the mix. There are acrylic gels that can be used for impasto effects and then painted over or you can mix straight in with the paint itself. There are also acrylic pouring mediums that are mixed in with the paint to the required level of fluidity and then dripped, poured or smeared over the surface you paint to. You can get acrylic paint markers too that make applying paint just like drawing.
Acrylics – pour painting experiments
There have been lots of people using paints in this way including Jackson Pollock and Damien Hirst. It is possible to apply enamels or other paints in this style too. With Pollock the paint was dripped onto the canvas surface and with Hirst’s spin paintings the pain is poured whilst the canvas is revolved at speed to create paint splatters.
I prefer to use acrylics to pour paints. The experience of pouring different colours together onto a painting surface is a lot of fun and can really create some intense colour combinations.
The basic method is to mix an acrylic pouring medium (I use Liquitex or Golden acrylics) with a small quantity of acrylic paint or acrylic ink. You can then apply the paint/medium liquid to canvas or a wooden panel. I tend to use gloves and allow for the process being quite messy. I also use a painting mask and I have old dried up brushes to apply the paint with.
If multiple pouring layers are to be applied then it is definitely worth using a wooden panel to paint on, as the canvas will tend to be overwhelmed by the weight of the paint and medium if you apply too many layers. Though applying just one layer should be fine on most good canvas surfaces and the canvas can always be stretched out more too.
The basic method I use is to pour the liquid onto the surface and use gravity to move the canvas around by letting the paint slide over the surface. Or you could drip the paint onto the surface like Jackson Pollock. The result is really fascinating. You get a kaleidoscope of colour.
There are so many ways you can experiment with this type of painting. You can actually just use the pouring medium as a varnish generally because of the glossy way it dries and also you wouldn’t leave any brush marks. One of the drawbacks is the cost of the materials especially the pouring medium itself. Acrylics also can be expensive but you can experiment with cheaper student range or basic colour ranges of paints.
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