The Pour Saving Gravity Swipe

Pic 1 Cover

The Gravity Swipe is different mainly because you never literally swipe the canvas, but instead allow gravity to do it for you. It does not look like a traditional swipe, but the results have their own unique formation of cells. Here’s a recent pouring adventure gone wrong, where the gravity swipe saved my painting.

I’ll share mistakes made on my original project, and of course provide a step by step on how to create the Gravity Swipe.

Supplies I Used:

The Poured Mistake

I am still down a hand, so I was trying to figure out a creative way that I could do mini pours, and not worry about the weight of a pour cup or precision of a pour. Unfortunately, so many things went wrong!

I started out with a solid blue background.

Pic 2 blue

Next I added bronze puddles, then followed with smaller black puddles on top of the bronze.

Pic 3 puddles

Mind you I use this process all the time, but here’s where I made multiple mistakes.

The first mistake was not mixing my peacock paint thoroughly, leaving unmixed Floetrol in the cup. Plus it was the only paint to which I added silicone, so even my means of cell formation was now flawed.

My second mistake was not layering my pour cup right, I used too much blue so there was not enough contrast between colors.

Pic 4 mini pours

If I had stopped here it might have been a save, as the solid colors would have given a nice contrast to the more muted blue puddle pours. A third mistake—puddle pours, for me only tree rings look right in this type of multi-pour. My fourth mistake, I continued the puddle pours. In my defense it’s been two months since I pour painted, I admit I temporarily fell off the occupational therapy wagon, gonna feel it tomorrow!

Back to the mess I’ve created…

Pic 5 all pours

Yes, unfortunately two more puddle pours were done. I remember at this point I knew there were no delightful surprises hiding in there, but I proceeded to torch, tilt, and re-torch anyway.

Pic 6 after tilting

As expected, just too blah; and cell formation—zip, nadda! Oh and those puddle pours absolutely not working for me.

What to do, what to do… I decided to try a process I’d used a few times in the past, I call it a gravity swipe.

The Gravity Swipe

Whether you are repairing a pour as in this case, or creating the swipe as your initial pour, the process is the same. Your colored paints go on first, and then the white. You can use any heavier paint you prefer instead of white. Cover your sides with white, and only use lines of white throughout, you don’t want puddles.

Pic 7 adding white

How you add your white throughout the pour is up to each artist. I chose straight lines, but they can be wavy lines, random or uniform. Unlike other swipes, you do not add all your white to the top, it must be evenly distributed throughout the canvas.

Pic 8 gravity diagram

Gravity is awesome, you simply start tilting your canvas—top to bottom, side to side, whatever you wish to create the desired look. As you tilt the white runs over the colored paint and yes there will be paint running off your canvas. When you lay it down to start drying, the white continues to sink into the background creating cells. (My painting was tilted in all four directions).

Pic 9 minutes after

As the painting dries the cells continue to form, even if you don’t use a lot of silicone in your colored paints.

After allowing it to dry overnight, additional cells formed and colors are still vibrant. Even better, many of the colors that weren’t coming through before have come to the top as the white covers the bottom.

There weren’t as many cells formed in this painting due to the earlier torching, but a fresh painting would have created even more.

Pic 10 overnight

Gravity swiping always produces beautiful colors with areas throughout the painting of pure white making everything pop off the canvas.

22 thoughts on “The Pour Saving Gravity Swipe”

  1. Thanks for the explanation. But I’m a bit confused. You don’t actually swipe the painting. Is that correct?

    1. Tina Swearingen

      No you don’t use anything other than pure gravity. This is why you must have your heavier paint, in this case white, throughout the entire painting so it can move over the colored paints and as it sinks, create it’s own cell formation. The swipe is done literally by gravity. It’s not for everyone, but just gives you an additional tool to use.

  2. Ronalyn Hurley

    Thank you for fixing the broken link in the newsletter email for the gravity pour. I am delighted to find an additional way to save a failed painting. In fact, I’m going to do a pour today just to try this technique.

    1. Tina Swearingen

      Keren, most whites have a metal component to them, think of Titanium White. They are heavier because of this element, and will automatically sink to the bottom of all the other paints.

  3. This is beautiful! Hope your hand is back in commission soon. Thank you so much for the tutorial. This will be my next thing to try. 🙂

  4. Lorraine Grems

    This is fantastic I have been pouring for a couple of months now and wish I knew this before. I have painted over bad pours or thrown out a few. This would worked on them I think. Love your outcome.

  5. Tina,

    Thank you for the information and step by step instructions… I especially like the the graphic you did showing the way to pour the heavy paint, and found it most helpful!

    I have just found this site a couple weeks ago, as I am just getting back to creating art again after a total loss house fire took everything.

    Had never heard of the pouring technique before that! But I am loving the freedom of it and it’s easing me back into the art world! Heck, who am I kidding! Hahaha I never just ease into anything! Hahaha!

    So thank you for another way to play!

    LaLa la’Art Studios

    1. Tina Swearingen

      Angelala, I’m so sorry to hear about the fire. This form of art is a great way to release tension, and get your mind in a better place. I use it as a therapy session for myself all the time. Plus…the amazing pieces you create simply confirms the effort spent. Don’t know how I lived without it before. Thrilled you liked the article. Tina

  6. Patricia Meeks

    I too live in the Pacific Northwest. Chehalis. I LOVE THIS PICTURE. Blue is my favorite color. I have done 4 paintings now. Bought both your books. Love it it all!!!! Thanks for giving us this resource to use. Patricia

    1. Tina Swearingen

      Love it here 99% of the time, although today’s storm has been a pain. No electricity here right now! Too dark to even paint 🙁 😉

  7. Northwestie here also, but in Oregon, between you all. Love the instruction, done well Tina. Thank you!

  8. Isabelle Dussault

    I love your honesty. And the fact that you never gave up and kept going until you achieved something that you like. Thank you so much for your transparency.

  9. great name! i’m more of a 1.5 hander (arthritis stinks) and started doing something similar a few years ago except i dont use silicone or oil. you’ve got me thinking about it!

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