You’ll be seeing a lot of fluid art over the next few weeks, specifically acrylic pouring. To date, I have yet to create anything that I would truly call art. We could go around and around about fluid art and whether or not it should rightly be classified as an art, and we’d come up with lots of different opinions with lots of different reasoning behind our thoughts. What I’m wanting to point out here is that it doesn’t matter all that much when it comes to my art. Regardless of your thoughts about fluid art and its randomness, I’ll quickly agree that my pourings and ink projects are definitely not art.
But even so, there’s a lot we can learn from projects such as these, so throughout the month, I’m going to be doing a number of fluid art projects. I’m deliberately making my studio time fun over this holiday season. I’m putting aside any serious painting, playing with my 31-day index card project, and having fun mixing, stirring, flipping, and pouring paints.
Here is my most recent acrylic pour — one that probably took no more than ten minutes from start to finish. It uses Parfait Pink, Admiral Blue, a bit of Pavement, and a lot of Ivory.
The method I used for this falls within the category of a dirty pour, but it’s a bit different from the popular “flip cup” method I used previously. This is referred to as a simple pour, because — quite simply — you put your colors into a cup, add your flow medium and oil, give it a quick stir, and pour it out over the canvas.
Of course, depending upon the viscosity of your paints, you can manipulate it in various ways. With this one, I picked up the canvas and tilted it to ensure that it was completely covered. Some acrylic pour artists move the paint by blowing on it or swirling different areas with a stick or other implement.
Once again, I applied no heat to the pour. It’s recommended that you use a blow dryer, a heat gun, or a small butane torch to complete the painting. Heat is supposed to increase the number of cells that form in the paint. Since I didn’t use heat, I didn’t get any real cells in this. Maybe next time I’ll remember to grab my blow dryer!
I said earlier that even if we’re not creating beautiful works of art — although, please, don’t get me wrong, a lot of talented artists create gorgeous pourings — we can gain a lot from fluid art. Here’s why.
First and foremost, fluid art projects are immensely fun. We never really know what we’re going to end up with. I suppose that as we become more experienced, we’ll have a better idea of what to expect, but when we’re first starting out it really is a guessing game. Will our colors work? Will cells develop? Will we like the results? And there’s something undeniably fun about tipping over a cup of paint or picking it up and pouring it out. It’s childlike. It’s almost magical. It takes us back to a time and place where we can indulge ourselves in pure creativity.
Second, we learn a lot about colors, pigments, and paints. No matter what medium we prefer to work with, understanding color relationships plays an important role in our art. Sure, there’s graphite, charcoal, and black-and-white artworks with scratchboard or pen-and-ink, but most of us employ colors in our art. We can read and learn about various color schemes, we can study books on color theory, but until we put different colors together, we’re not going to fully understand the principles. Because acrylic paints are inexpensive, we can play with many different colors. We can grab a color wheel, plot out a scheme, and see how it it really looks. We can play with monochromatic hues. We can study complementary colors. We can quickly and easily put colors onto a canvas to see how they look together.
Third, fluid art gives us a better understanding of design principles. Although the patterns that form are largely random, we do have some measure of control over the finished design. The best pourings and ink projects are based on strong design elements. While random and free, they still show balance, harmony, rhythm, movement — all important concepts in creating successful art.
I’m using my fluid art time primarily as a means of color study. There are so many different things I want to try, so many different things I want to learn. I especially want to give more thought to the connections between colors and emotions since this is a strong part of the tonalist style I’m studying.
It’s cheap. It’s easy. It’s fun. So why not grab a few acrylics and join in?