Is is possible to recreate the magic? I was pretty sure that I could but you always worry just a little bit. I was so satisfied with my last poured landscape that I wanted that quality, that look, to be my new starting point. In painting, as in life, sometimes you find yourself in one of those “two steps forward, one step back” situations. I did not want this to be one of those situations. I wanted to keep moving forward.
Fortunately, I was able to repeat the creation of a beautiful sky and recreate some great colors and cells in my land area. That opened things up for some fine tuning and exploration. For this painting I returned to using a long 10”x20” canvas. One of the tricks I tried this time around was laying down a nice thick line of black paint beforehand and letting it dry. My thought was that the line might act as a dam and give me something of a pre-made horizon line. I quickly discovered that didn’t work. The paint, once it dried, was flat enough that the poured paint flowed right over it. Now I can check that idea off the list.
I did continue using blue painters tape to cover the area that would be the ground. I would remove the tape once I had the sky the way I wanted it. In this painting I also learned not to be shy about adding more white paint if I wanted to create the illusion of more clouds. Once I was satisfied with the sky I removed the tape and reused my technique of pouring horizontal lines of paint along with puddles and then swiping from one side to the other rather than tilting.
Another technique that I reused from my last painting was using a squirt bottle of black/brown paint to create a horizon line. In the video you will see that I was worried that I had used too much brown paint for the horizon line, but when the painting was done the brown looked fine.
The newest experience for me while creating this painting was using a paint brush. I know that must sound silly to anyone who doesn’t pour— but I’m just not used to using a brush on my pour paintings. You have probably heard me say several times “Let the paint do the work.” I’m quickly discovering that if I want to create a clearly defined landscape I’m going to have to include some brushwork. I started using the brush to create the horizon line and I used it even more to start creating trees.
What’s next you ask? In a word… trees. The last several minutes of the video are of me trying to figure out trees. I need to find a way to create trees that look like they belong in a pour painting. I know there has to be some technique out there to create quick, natural-looking trees. I just have to find it— or maybe create it!
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.