The Steve Shaw Stripe and Swipe

Sometimes a poured painting isn’t just a pour painting. It’s a practice run for something larger. In this video, I will walk you through how I made a great looking 16×20 inch painting using a technique I playfully dubbed “The Stripe and Swipe.”

Supplies I Used

*Metallic Gold paint was used straight from the bottle with no additives.

Approx. 16 ounces of all other colors were made by mixing paint with water and Zinsser Paint Booster. Four drops of silicone were added to each 16 ounce cup of paint.

My apologies to those of you who like to use these videos as a recipe to create your own paintings. In this blog entry I’m not able to give you precise measurements or even the actual names of most of the colors I used. Most of the paints used in this video were purchased off the “Mistakes Table” at my local Lowes. Paint stores typically have a section for mixed paint that the customer didn’t like. Some people may not consider these paints to be “Artist Quality” but they work great for me and the price is very appealing.

small Stripe and Swipe

A lot of the paint I use in this video did not come from the art store—it came from Lowes. About a year ago I was in the paint department of Lowes and saw a rack of various sized paint cans near the counter. On the rack was one quart can of beautiful, high gloss yellow, latex paint. Immediately I thought about my next pour and how good that paint would look in it. When I saw the price I couldn’t believe it. The quart was only three dollars! I bought it. I used it. It worked just as well as the paint I had been buying at the art store at a fraction of the price. I have been picking up quarts and sometimes even gallons (at $9) ever since. I’m really curious if other people have done this and what their experience has been. I would love it if you would leave a comment and let me know.

In the video, I mix up several 16-ounce cups of paint with the idea that I would make a smaller painting as practice for a much larger painting. In this case, my smaller painting was actually pretty large, 16×20 inches. The painting that you will see me create next week is a whopping 30×40 inches!

Even if you don’t normally make huge paintings, this is still a fun process to go through. I can easily imagine mixing up your paints and doing a pour on an 8×10 inch canvas and then bumping up to something larger like a 16×20.  I suggest mixing up enough of each color at one time to cover both canvases. Use whatever paint you need on the first canvas, then use the rest of the paint on the second canvas.

Everyone knows that no two pour paintings are ever going to look the same but it is so interesting to make two paintings, one right after the other, using the same mixed paints, and then seeing the similarities and differences.

For this project, I wanted to check out the “stripe and swipe” process I had in mind and I’m glad I did. I learned a lot about the paint I was using and how the colors would react together. My idea of doing horizontal stripes of paint then swiping out from the center of the canvas did not produce the results I wanted. In the video, I have to admit to myself that the painting is actually “kind of ugly.” But it was so nice to make that discovery on a small scale rather than on a much larger scale.

Anytime I have a painting that I’m not thrilled with, I do a swipe over it.  That’s what I did here and sure enough, it worked! A swipe of dark blue paint saved the day.

By doing a smaller practice painting I learned a lot about the process I wanted to use and more importantly I was able to take on a much larger canvas with knowledge and confidence. Below is a photo of the final painting. Next week I’ll show the creation of the 30×40 inch canvas and you will be able to see the two final pieces side by side. The similarity between the two is interesting.

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