I collected the most common questions from my YouTube channel in one place. Hopefully this will help answer some questions about acrylic pour painting you were also wondering about, or hadn’t thought to ask.
1. You don’t use silicone?! Then how do you get cells? Do you use a torch?
The short answer is I use Flood Floetrol and a solid recipe with good quality ingredients. This is all you need for cell formation. I don’t use silicone and therefore do not need the torch either. I will occasionally use a heat gun on the lowest setting to pop some air bubbles if I shook my pigments up but didn’t allow them time to settle before painting. The reason I don’t use silicone is that it doesn’t mix with the paint, can get trapped between layers of paint causing pockets, and can possibly yellow your paintings over time. I have a previous blog post that digs deeper into why I don’t use silicone.
I also have a couple videos on my website that explain how I prepare my paint pigments and preferred brands and tools.
2. Do you seal your paintings with something? Do you coat with varnish or resin when completely dry? How do you get the smooth finish?
I have coated a few of my paintings with resin for a high gloss effect and also for the layered look, adding some illustration between layers, but you will see resin listed in the credit and title of the work. Mostly, however, my paintings dry with a satin semi-gloss finish that is as smooth as a baby’s bottom because of the GAC 800 pouring medium that I use. I have noticed I am one of the few Acrylic Pour artists online who shares the final shots of my fully cured painting. I take them outside and try to get a shot from all angles because I am proud that they don’t dry lumpy, cracked, or with an unpleasant texture. The GAC 800 is an expensive medium, but with it in my recipe, I do not have to coat my paintings afterward with any additional varnish or resin.
3. How do you avoid wasting paint that flows down? What are you using for a drip tray?
First, fluid art is a bit wasteful. You are going to lose some paint. Also, some techniques are more wasteful than others. In my opinion, the flip cup and tree ring pour technique is much more wasteful than the swipe technique. I use a washing machine pan with two yard sticks spanning the edges for my substrates to rest on. I have to give credit to Ann Osbourne for that idea. You can buy them at most hardware stores for about $20-$30. For my larger paintings (24”x 36” and bigger) I use salvaged bulletin board paper from my school and fold up the edges to create a trough to catch the paint. I prop the substrates up on the corners with plastic cups.
4. How much paint should I mix up for a specific size painting?
I haven’t created a foolproof mathematical formula because I am an ARTIST! But I did write a blog post regarding how much paint to mix as well.
The gist of the idea is this:
Substrate Size Coat the canvas Flip Cup/Tree Ring Pour
8”x10” or 12”x12” 8 oz 1 oz (little medicine cup)
18”x24” or 24”x24” 16 oz 4-8 oz
24”x48” or 36”x48” 1.5 Qt 16 oz
5. Can I use tempera paint/oil paint/house paint for this technique?
These paints all have very different properties. The Acrylic Pour technique is unique to the properties of acrylic paint. Oil, tempera, watercolor, and gouache will not work for this painting technique. Some artists have used latex house paint to initially flood the canvas before adding the pigments. Though latex house paint IS the closest of all these to acrylic paint, it is not archival quality and might compromise your painting over time.
6. Where did you buy your float frames? And how are they sized?
I buy my float frames and most of my art supplies from Jerry’s Artarama, an online art supply store based here in NC. The float frames are sized based on the canvas size they accommodate so you don’t have to overthink it. For example, if you were to want a float frame to fit your 16” x 20” canvas, you simply buy the floater frame for ¾” canvas, 16” x 20” or 1.5”canvas 16”x 20”, taking into account the depth as well.
7. Have you done this same color pour with resin?
No. I have a few paintings with clear resin layers and resin coating on top, but I have not experimented with the colored resins. I probably will stick to the acrylic, though I might revisit layering the acrylic with clear resin.
8. And regarding a couple specific paintings like this one below where I DID use resin layers:How did you get the floating/layered effect? Are you drawing on wet or dry resin? What did you use to draw with?
Speaking specifically to the painting above, these were the steps and layers.
1. White paint allowed to dry completely
2. Resin allowed to dry completely
3. Acrylic pour using blue and white allowed to dry completely
4. Resin allowed to dry completely
5. Illustration using gel pen and enamel paint pen
6. Resin allowed to dry completely
As you can see, this was a time-consuming process that took weeks to complete, but the result was worth it. I need to do more of these! I loved the results so much!
9. What brand of paint do you use and why?
GOLDEN Artist Colors are in my opinion the best brand out there for quality, customer service, and available resources for their artists. Just check out their website and go to the resources tab. You’ll be sold. They are the ONLY company that provides their specific gravity chart for all their pigments, so you can use density to assist in cell formation rather than adding silicone, which can compromise your painting. I use their GAC 800 pouring medium exclusively. As I explained above in a previous question, it saves me the trouble of coating or varnishing later to touch up the finish AND it prevents crazing!
10. Do you have to flood the canvas first and is there a cheaper alternative to flood the canvas?
Yes, you have to flood the canvas or you get unsightly snags, ripples, wrinkles etc. Flooding the canvas is when an artist coats the whole canvas with wet paint before the pour, usually white. Acrylic pouring works best as a wet into wet technique. This adds to the costly nature and wastefulness of this technique, but it is what it is. Some artists try to offset the cost with cheaper paint, even using craft paints and latex house paint. This will only diminish the final quality of the work, however. Latex house paint is not archival and can crack over time.
Think about how often you repaint, or SHOULD repaint the walls of your house; ten years max. Don’t you want your paintings to last longer than that? We are still admiring the Mona Lisa that was painted over 500 years ago (which admittedly has gone through a bit of restoration but mostly for cleaning, as the varnish yellows over time).