Experimenting with Pouring Medium

I’ve been intrigued with some abstracts I’ve seen on the internet that use fluid acrylics and pouring medium so I bought some Liquitex pouring medium with birthday money and gave it a go. There are loads of videos on YouTube  so I knew I had to prepare my studio floor with a big plastic cover and pop the canvas on a smaller box so that the drips down the sides wouldn’t stick the painting to the cover. The canvas was a gesso primed cotton stretched canvas 40 x 50cm.

That done I set to work mixing my paint. I had small dropper bottles (about 20ml size) and I filled that 3/4 full with pouring medium. I added a few drops of acrylics. I used Golden fluid acrylics mainly but also some standard soft bodied acrylic which worked better than I’d expected.

Once that was done I started pouring. It became clear very quickly that I didn’t have enough to cover my canvas so I quickly made more – this time in a small pot. I would do this in future as it’s easier to mix as well.

I had an idea in my mind to work out a vague diagonal composition with a vein of dark brown surrounded by aquas and rusts, I love these colour combinations at the moment. However, I didn’t plan well enough and just made a red mix using Naphthol Red Light which was far to pinky (you can see it in the bottom left of the image).

I used a credit card to move the paint around and cover the canvas but I didn’t like the straight edges that created so I tried blowing into the paint with a straw. This created lovely feather like patterns and forced the paint to mix while still maintaining separation of the pigments. I found the paint wasn’t liquid enough so I used a water spray to move it around more and this plus the blowing really helped. I tipped the canvas to one side diagonally and the paint all dripped down (to the top left area on the photo).

This left an area with not much going on however so I added the remainders of the paints and started dripping Hansa Yellow Medium and Titanium white in.

I was interested to see what would happen if alcohol was dripped in to I added a few drops of the Adirondack alcohol inks. To be honest they didn’t make much difference and I didn’t like the circles shapes they formed so I mixed them in a bit.I think to get the full separation effect you have to add alcohol into the paint mix before pouring.

I eventually stopped playing and left it to dry overnight. It was still tacky in the morning but dry enough to put upright.


The final effect isn’t quite as planned and I’m not sure of the colours but it was definitely a great experiment and I plan to do more. Next time I’ll take photos while I’m working to keep a record!

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