Acrylic pour painting, sometimes called fluid or flow art, is a style that captivates many artists and art lovers alike. The unique, smooth swirls and bright colours associated with this form of art appeal to many different types of artists.

But to create this style, you will need to alter the state of your acrylic paints. Straight out of the tube or bottle, acrylic paints won’t naturally be able to create the effects found in fluid art. Without the proper preparation, your acrylic paints will crack and fade, perhaps even separate. None of this is conducive to trying to create fluid art. To get your paints to the correct consistency so that you can create stunning acrylic pour paintings, you’ll need to use a pouring medium.

What Is A Pouring Medium?

A pouring medium is a substance which is used to help improve the consistency of acrylic paints by allowing them to pour more fluidly. Essentially, mixing pouring medium with your acrylic paints transforms them so that you can create amazing acrylic pour art.

Many leading art brands manufacture pouring mediums, and while they differ slightly they create very similar results when correctly mixed with acrylic paint.

What Does A Pouring Medium Do To Acrylic Paintings?

By adding a pouring medium to your acrylic paints, you’re effectively transforming the makeup of your paints so that they can be manipulated for fluid art or acrylic pour painting. Many people mix water with their acrylics to thin them and allow the paint to flow more easily when poured, however this has some undesirable side effects. For instance, water tends to wash out your paints, meaning the finished product will not be as vibrant as if left unaltered or mixed with a pouring medium.

Pouring mediums work differently.  They allow your paints to take on the smooth, fluid form but preserve the vibrant colours you’ll want to capture. This is especially important with the abstract look of fluid art, as bright and vibrant colours are a staple of this.

How To Use Pouring Mediums

The most traditional method for using a pouring medium to create acrylic pour art requires whichever colours you wish to use, your pouring medium, and plenty of plastic cups. You can also utilise items like plastic straws and palette knives, but more on that later.

1. To begin, select your paint colours and a plastic cup for each of them. Add a small amount of paint to the cup, typically just enough to cover the bottom. Then, add in your pouring medium. The amounts of medium you should add will depend on a number of things, including the size of your canvas or board, as well as how many colours you are using. A typical rule of thumb for medium body acrylics is 1 part paint to 3 parts pouring medium, meaning you’re using more pouring medium than you are actual acrylic paint.

2. Once you know how much to use, go ahead and add the pouring medium to all of your different colours and mix them well using a stirrer or popsicle stick. The next step is to combine your colours. Using another, clean cup, begin adding your various colours and layering them on top of one another in the cup. You can repeat colours and use more of the colours you wish to be more prominent in your painting.

3. Once you’ve layered all your paints in the same cup, next comes the fun part! This is the step where you apply your paint to your canvas or board to create an amazing masterpiece. Begin by placing your canvas, facedown, on top of your cup. Place your hand on the back of the canvas for support and hold onto the cup, flipping them quickly so that your cup is resting upside down on the canvas. Wait a few moments for the paint to flow towards the canvas.

4. While you wait, you can apply a base colour to the rest of the canvas. This will typically either be black or white paint already mixed with the pouring medium. Pour it across the canvas and spread it around the edges of your cup and across the canvas with a palette knife.

5. Next, you can either spread the cup across the canvas to begin moving the paint, or lift the cup directly up, allowing the paint to spread and flow across the surface. Tilt the canvas to allow the paint to flow fully across the canvas, covering the edges and corners. You can blow through a straw to move the paint around and lift up the various colours you want to expose and create all kinds of different looks.

Another popular technique is to use a dropper to apply many narrow pours on a vertical canvas. There are many different ways to experiment with acrylic pouring to create wonderful art.

Pouring mediums also work really well with acrylic inks, creating particularly interesting finishes due to the degrees of transparency in some inks.

To begin experimenting with pouring mediums, you can shop our range of Liquitex products here.

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