Seven paintings and several weeks ago, I set out to learn how to create a landscape using pour painting techniques. I went back through my blog entries and found this line from the very first landscape blog:
“My goal is to find a way to create an image that is undeniably a landscape but is made especially unique and beautiful because of the pour painting magic that we all love.”
Below is the painting I created for this project just a few days ago.
Friends, I think I’m there! I have reached my goal and it feels great! I know I have tons more to explore in the realm of poured landscapes (starting with how to make trees!) but I feel really good about my journey so far. I plan to keep making these landscapes and trying out new ideas but I feel the hard work is done.
When I reflect on the experience over the last few weeks, three things come to mind: Confidence, Patience, and Perseverance.
I think the best thing I did during this whole process was to give myself permission to fail. I wanted to try something new with pour painting that I had never done: using the paint to create a landscape rather than an abstract image. Somehow I knew going into the experience that it was going to take time (and several canvases) before I started seeing the results I wanted. I guess you would call that patience.
Perseverance was also a key factor. As artists I think we often put too much pressure on ourselves to create something beautiful. I found that painting was more fun and enjoyable when I told myself “this painting probably won’t be the one I’m going for, but it probably will give me something I can use next time”. When I look back at the first three or four paintings I smile and shake my head a little. They were definitely not what I was hoping for but each one gave me more knowledge to get to where I wanted to be. I think you call that perseverance.
They both have similar color schemes and you can imagine how the sky in the first painting slowly transformed into the huge sky of painting seven. The ground became much more convincing when I switched from tilting to swiping. The biggest thing that helped create a poured landscape was adding a definite horizon line. That is when it all started coming together.
Finally, and I find myself saying this a lot to my students– try to learn something from every painting. Even if you aren’t happy with a particular painting or project, learn from it. Analyze the painting and ask yourself “what worked in this painting and what didn’t?” Then next time you paint, toss out the stuff that didn’t work and recreate the things that did work. If you make this mindset part of your painting routine eventually you will begin creating things you like. That is when your confidence starts to build. Once you have confidence in your abilities, you may not mind so much if it takes awhile to reach your goal. Remember, creating art is a journey, not a destination.
Thank you so much for going on this landscape pouring journey with me. Last week I outlined 10 steps that have been working for me. I hope you grab a canvas and give it a try. These landscapes can be really beautiful.
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.