I love painting, but it is not something that I am great at. I find myself struggling for hours in front of a canvas trying to figure out what I want to paint. And then trying to figure out the best way to paint it. When I found out about the dirty pour painting technique, I was completely enamored by it because it felt like something I could do easily.
And it meshed well with my less patient side. While I know I have done a post a few years ago about some of the paintings I did (oh man… I want to stop time) but I wanted to circle back and go into more depth about the method.
The longest hands-on time for this type of painting is in the prepping. I don’t have a good table to paint on so I set up some tray tables with a drop sheet on the floor. I also used a seal and press wrap on the table to protect the trays from the inevitable paint splatter.
I have found that the best way to lift up the canvas off of the holding surface is to use tacks on the four corners of the frame. Lifting up the painting in necessary to allow the paint to run off edges of the canvas without causing any pooling effects.
Then it’s time to prep the paint. I like using Floetrol as a paint medium to help the acrylic paint to flow. I generally find myself doing 9 parts Floetrol and 1 part acrylic paint. And I generally like to use a more liquid acrylic paint that comes in the container rather than a tube.
I use popsicle sticks to mix the paint together because they remind me of mini paint stirrers. Mixing is important because it works out any unwanted white streaks. The amount of paint I used in the pictures below is double what was needed for the canvas size I was using. It is really easy to make more paint than needed but I would not put it on the canvas because it can cause too much paint movement later in the process.
Then it’s time for the secret ingredient: Oil. I like to add a couple of drops to each color but I would probably refrain from adding oil to the color that will be the base color for the painting. I put oil in all of the colors which cause some spreading away from the canvas on the final result but it still looks cool so I can’t really complain.
Once it’s all mixed in, then it’s time for the dirty portion of the paint pour. This is when you add all of the colors into one cup. DO NOT STIR. The colors added here are going to pour out in the opposite directions so the first color in will be the top color. It’s a weird inverse process that’s easy for me get confused on. Adding each color is fun because you can start to see the silicone and paint mix together. I found this plastic cup to hold the exact perfect amount of paint for this size canvas. I filled it up to the brim!
Then comes the pouring part, where the cup is flipped over and the paint is allows to lay on the canvas. This is an extremely fast motion so be confident when you tip that cup over! The next part can get a little messy so I highly recommend wearing a pair of disposable gloves if you don’t want to get paint all over your hands. To evenly spread out the paint over the canvas, I had to tilt the canvas and gently rotate to allow the paint to spread to every corner. This should be done slowly to keep as much paint as possible on the canvas.
Before letting the paint dry, there is one more step to the dirty pour method and it does involve a blow torch. Taking a flame to the canvas at a decent height will allow the silicone to react to the heat and spread the paint making interesting bubbled pattern.
And now all that’s left is leaving the paint to dry. I always am disappointed that it takes so long (probably around 12 to 24 hours depending on the surrounding temperature). But the results were excellent! I do have future plans for this painting so I am not sealing it up just yet but stay tuned to see if I make something even more interesting or I destroy it!