This is the third installment in the Purple Pour Project. Several weeks ago a friend asked me to create a large painting as a gift for her daughter. I gladly accepted the commission and asked her to supply the canvas she would like me to use. I knew she wanted a large painting but “large” can be a relative thing. I was blown away when she showed up with a 36 inch by 48 inch canvas. That is 12 square feet of art! This was going to be the largest pour painting I had ever done. But rather than feel intimidated, I was psyched!
I wanted to make sure my friend/client would be totally happy with the final painting so I decided to make four smaller test paintings. Each painting was made with similar colors but different pouring styles. I ended up making five paintings in all for this project—four different styles to show the client and then the final huge painting. The client’s daughter loves the color purple and that was the driving force behind the project.
This video shows the creation of the third painting I created. I call this painting style the “Straight Pour with Tilting.” There may be other names for this technique but the basic idea is to mix up your colors and pour them directly on the canvas rather than layering them in a flip cup. Once the paint is on the canvas you can manipulate how the painting looks by tilting the canvas back and forth. While tilting the canvas the different colors of paint will slide over/under and into each other creating cells and hopefully beautiful patterns.
In this pour, horizontal lines of paint were poured directly onto the canvas and the image was created by tilting.
When you try this technique I highly recommend that you put down a base coat of paint on the canvas before pouring on the paint. A base coat will allow the paint to flow more freely and you will spend less time tilting the canvas back and forth trying to cover up any dry spots on the canvas. I also recommend that you use a little more paint than you normally would with a flip cup. A little extra paint will allow you to tilt and manipulate the patterns more.
One final bit of advice—don’t try too hard. Try to remember that pour painting is about giving up control. For me it is much easier to give up control with a flip cup pour than with this style of pour painting. With a flip cup there seems to be an invisible hand creating the work of art and most of the time my job is simply to make sure the paint reaches all four corners.
In a straight pour, like the one in this video, I feel like it is my job to make the lines of paint blend, swirl, and dance together. To me that gives this type of pouring a totally different feel. Somehow I feel like there is a little more pressure on me as an artist to make something magical happen on the canvas. If you get that feeling just take a deep breath and keep tilting. Try to keep things light and fun because that is probably when you will do your best work.
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.