Sometimes it’s hard to say No. I recently had a friend ask if I would make an acrylic pour painting for her. She needed just the right piece for a corner in her living room. The catch? The room is almost all white, and she asked if I would make a painting that was subtle, neutral, and would “match the white” in a large painting already hanging on the front wall.
The words “subtle” and “neutral” are not generally associated with me, my personality, or my artwork. Part of me wanted to say No. But she’s a friend, and she wanted a painting created by me. So I chose to take the commission and work outside of my comfort zone.
Supplies I Used
Acrylic paint by FolkArt in Inca Gold, Dorado Gold, Bright Gold, and Wicker White.
Silicone by 3in1 (That really is the name of the company that makes it; they also make a three-in-one oil.)
Zinsser Paint Booster (a.k.a., Zinsser Flow Control Additive)
Water (In Atlanta, I use the water right out of the faucet, but I’m told that in a lot of areas of the country you need to use bottled water.)
Four 12×12 inch canvases
Here’s a good trick I have learned: If you are doing a painting for a specific person and they have a distinct color palette in mind, ask them to visit the local craft store and pick out the colors themselves.
That gives them a vested interest in the painting, and it also eliminates the possibility of you choosing colors that don’t quite match what the client had in mind. In this case my friend chose her colors, as well as the canvases she wanted to use.
Working outside your comfort zone can be a bit intimidating. One thing I tried, which really helped to relieve some painting anxiety, was to do a small test painting. I mixed up the colors I planned to use on the larger painting and made a small, 10×10-inch painting, just to see how it would look.
To my pleasant surprise…I liked it! It was subtle and quiet and not like my usual paintings at all. I felt like I was ready to go.
In the video, you will see that the four paintings came together very quickly. I was very pleased with the beautiful variety of gold paints my friend selected. I never would have chosen these colors on my own, and working with a different palette was actually fun.
I chose to use the swipe technique, thinking that swiping white paint over the various shades of gold would keep white as the dominant color.
The paintings turned out beautiful, but the gold paint ended up being a much stronger element than expected. When I showed the final pieces to my friend, she agreed they were beautiful but way too dark for her living room.
So it’s back to the drawing board (or studio, in this case). I will be creating another set of four panels for my friend. This time I plan to use the flip cup technique, with lots and lots of plain old white!
As predicted by the last few lines in the video, these four 12×12-inch canvas panels will be for sale in my Etsy store. I guess it’s true: Sometimes good art doesn’t match your couch.
Steve Shaw is an artist and teacher living in Atlanta, Georgia. His days are spent in the classroom teaching his students the basics of art and self-expression. In the evenings and weekends, he paints. Steve has shown his work in several galleries in the Southeast and has illustrated three children’s books. Recently Steve has discovered acrylic pour painting and is putting all his other projects on hold while he journeys down this artistic road.