I got a chance to use the table that I built specifically for doing liquid acrylic pour paintings (you can see how I built it here), and it worked out very well! As suspected, after using it, I did realize that there are a couple of modifications I’d like to make, but overall, I was very pleased. (I added my suggested modifications to the end of this post.)
Want to see the artwork I made during the inaugural use of my table? You can see the whole process in the video just below. I narrated the video after the fact because after videoing the process of doing three paintings, I had a video that was over an hour long. Yikes! So I edited it considerably (and added the narration afterwards), but you can still see the process pretty clearly.
Looks fun, right? It is! And its so relaxing! (By the way, if you can’t view the video above, you can click here to see it on YouTube.)
So first, let’s talk about the painting details.
Liquid Acrylic Pour Paintings – Paint, Additives, “Canvas” and Equipment
For all of the paintings, I used Behr paint. Yep, the kind from Home Depot. Behr paint is 100% acrylic, and the sample pots are such a convenient size. I love that it comes in hundreds of colors, so you really don’t have to do any custom mixes unless you just really want to, and I also like the way it pours. I find that it’s very easy to work with. If I’m using paint from a sample pot that has previously been opened and used, I make sure that I shake it up thoroughly and also strain it through a small metal strainer with fine wire mesh before using it to avoid any dried bits getting into the paint.
Behr paint is too thick to use for a pour painting right out of the container, so to prep it for use, I mix it with a few other things. For these paintings, I mixed as follows:
This was a good start, but I’m going to play around with the formula a bit more. I think the paint ended up being a little too thin, so next time I’m going to try less Floetrol, and I might leave the water out altogether.
Floetrol is a paint additive that you can find at big box home improvement stores in the paint department, or you can find it here. I buy it by the gallon, but it does come in smaller sizes if you just want to test it out.
I buy my Liquitex Pouring Medium on Amazon, because I can never find it in bottles larger than 8 ounces locally, and I purchase it by the gallon as well.
I did these paintings on 1/4″ MDF boards, which I cut to a standard frame size using my table saw. I prepped the boards by priming them with a water-based primer, and then sanding them smooth with 150-grit sandpaper. This worked fine, but next time I will go back to my favorite Zinsser Cover Stain oil-based primer, and I’ll do two coats instead of one, sanding well between coats and after the final coat for a really smooth surface.
So why MDF boards? Oh, there are so many reasons I prefer MDF boards to canvas, especially for acrylic pouring. I now this is going to sound strange, especially coming from someone who was raised by an artist, and who even grew up stretching and prepping canvases for my artist mom and some of her students on occasion. But here are my reasons. Of course, you can paint on whatever surface you like.
- I don’t like finished artwork where you can actually see the texture of the canvas through the paint. (I blame that on my mom and her meticulously-prepped canvases that she did her paintings on.) And in order to get rid of that texture, canvas takes soooo much prep work. (My mom used to prep her canvases with SEVEN coats of watered down modeling paste, wet sanding them with super fine sandpaper between each coat.) By contrast, MDF boards are already smooth. They just need one or two coats of quick-drying primer, a bit of sanding, and you’re ready to go.
- I prefer the inflexible rigidity of an MDF board over the bouncy give that a stretched canvas has, especially when doing liquid pour paintings. This isn’t such an issue if you’re doing tiny 6″ x 6″ paintings, but it’s an issue if you’re doing a big 24″ x 36″ (or larger) painting. The very first pour painting I ever did (and didn’t share with y’all) was on a large 24 x 36″ stretched canvas, and I found it very frustrating to work with.
- I prefer framed artwork over an unframed canvas hanging on the wall (so I generally have no use for “gallery wrapped” canvases, personally), and 1/4″ MDF board is much easier to frame than a stretched canvas.
But again, if you prefer canvas, then by all means, use canvas. 🙂
I did try using canvas boards a few months back, thinking that would give me the best of both worlds — the canvas to make me feel like a real, legit artist, plus the strength of it being adhered to a rigid surface. Well, it turns out that the cardboard (even the thick stuff that the canvas is adhered to in order to produce canvas board) isn’t so rigid as a liquid acrylic pour painting dries. Those canvas boards warp terribly as the paint dries, and you’re left with a bowed painting that won’t lie flat in a frame.
You’ll see in the video that I use a blower to move the paint around the canvas. To do that, I use my little pancake air compressor (this is the one I have — the only air compressor I use for all of my projects), and I use a pistol grip air blow gun attachment (like this one). I mentioned in the video that I set my compressor to about 60 PSI, but what I failed to mention is that I never squeeze the trigger all the way. In fact, I squeeze it just enough so that a light stream of air comes out, so I could actually set it way lower and it would work out just fine.
I mix all of my paints in 8-ounce mayonnaise jars (I always buy my mayo in these jars and I never throw them away specifically for this purpose). That way if I have any mixed paints left over, I can store them conveniently in those jars with the lids without them taking up too much space. They’re the perfect size for storing mixed paint. But I don’t like to pour the paint directly from the jars, so when I’m ready to use them, I fill up as many 3-ounce Solo cups as I think I’ll need, and I use those to pour the paint. I just get these at the grocery store. I prefer pouring from these rather than the jars because the Solo cups are flexible and I can squeeze the tops to make a “spout” on one side for a cleaner and more precise pour.
So let’s get to the paintings…
Liquid Acrylic Pour Painting #1 – Teal, Orange, Coral, Green and White, 11″ x 17″
For the first painting, I used these paint colors…
I also used a custom mixed teal that I had on hand, but any dark teal will do. And I also added just a drop of 100% silicone (I got mine at the grocery store in the small automotive parts section, I believe) to each paint cup that I used.
I had a bit of trouble with this painting (as you can see in the video at the top of this post) because I failed to place the painting on a level surface to dry. A level surface is imperative for drying or the liquid paint will move around way too much and you’ll be left with a painting that looks nothing like it did when you left it to dry. And that’s precisely what happened. Although I do like the way this one turned out, I’m going to try again with the same colors. And next time, I’m going strive to actually end up with what I started with. 😀 But I do think this turned out very pretty.
I actually imagine this painting being framed and hung horizontally, but I wanted to show it vertically so that I could use a larger photo to show more of the details.
Liquid Acrylic Pour Painting #2 – Pink, White and Gold, 11″ x 17″
For this painting, I used these colors…
This one turned out to be my favorite of the three that I did on the video. The liquid gold gilding didn’t work out like I envisioned, but I do still like those bits of metallic gold in there.
That picture was taken before I put the protective clear coat spray on top (I seal all of them with a clear matte spray). When I sealed it, the spray actually turned the gold a gorgeous rose gold color. I have no idea why it did that, but it’s so pretty! You can see it here…
Liquid Acrylic Pour Painting #3 – Blue, Light Teal, Orange, Coral, Green and White, 11″ x 17″
For the third painting, I used these colors…
Striking is the dark blue (as opposed to the dark teal I used in the first painting), and Lunar Tide is the light teal.
Here’s how it turned out…
The Roulette is kind of a dark pinkish coral color, and yet when it shows up in small amounts, it comes off more red. I’d love to do another one using all of these same colors, except that I’d swap out the Roulette for a truer pink. Add purple, and you pretty much have the colors I used in my entryway triptych.
I did three more paintings that I didn’t video. Here’s how they turned out…
Liquid Acrylic Pour Painting #4 – Blue, Light Teal, Orange, Coral, Green and White, 11″ x 17″
Out of all six paintings in this post, this one is my favorite. I tried to replicate that original painting in the video — the one that I messed up by not putting it on a level surface to dry. I used the very same colors that I used in painting #1, and while my attempt to replicate the original look didn’t work out, I love how this turned out. And you can also see that when Roulette shows up in a larger quantity, it’s less red and more coral.
Liquid Acrylic Pour Paintings #5 and #6 – Coral, Pink and Orange, 10″ x 10″
These are the colors I used for these paintings…
Painting #5 actually doesn’t have any Sugar Poppy (the light pink) in it. I did these two as a pair that could hang side-by-side or one above the other, but I didn’t want them to be too matchy-matchy, so I only used the light pink on #6.
Here are larger views of each painting individually…
All of these paintings are available. For now (and until I figure out a better way) you can just contact me at [email protected] with the subject line “Acrylic Paintings” (or something similar) and let me know which one you’re interested in. For now, I’m keeping the pricing very simple. Any liquid acrylic pour done on 1/4″ MDF board with a clear coat matte sealer, and that measures under 20″ x 30″ (which is the largest standard size I can do on my table) will be priced at $0.35/square inch. I know that’s probably a strange way to price artwork 😀 but I need to keep it simple and straightforward for my brain. So 11″ x 17″ paintings would work out to $65.45, and 10″ x 10″ would work out to $35.
Any painting larger than a 20″ x 30″, or a grouping of paintings that are poured together with a total size larger than 20″ x 30″, like my entryway triptych…
…will incur additional costs due to the additional time and setup required.
If you’d like to see me do paintings in future posts using specific color combinations, just let me know and I’ll add those to my list of ideas I want to try!