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ARA Acrylic Pouring

Hi everyone, today I would like to show you another acrylic pouring project, this time with ARA Acrylic Paints, which are also heavy body paints, like Amsterdam or The Crafter’s Workshop paints, which I tried out before. With this technique I created two small canvasses.

For those that are new to acrylic pouring, let’s start with what acrylic pouring is:

It is a form of painting where you mix your paints with a medium that thins them and allows them to flow, then you pour the paint mixture onto your canvas. You never know what result you’ll get!

Like mentioned before, the recipe for your mixture is very important, mine isn’t holy, every painter seems to have a different one and each paint brand and/or medium can mean a different mixture (or even the humidity where you live, the season of the year and so on)!

That being said, these are the tips that I gathered, after many hours of research, you can use them as your basic guidelines and adjust them with your own experiences:

- I started with two 20x20 cm canvasses. Spray the back of the canvas with water, let it sit for a short while and then dry with a heat tool or hair dryer (this will tighten the canvas fabric). Cover your work surface in plastic because pouring is a messy business and wear old clothes;

- Tape the edges of the canvas on the back of the canvas with painters tape. Put push-pins on the back (on all four corners, so the canvas itself is not resting on the table) and make sure the canvas is level. If you don’t tape the edges of the canvas on the back the paint will make the canvas sag and when the paint dries afterwards it’s really hard to correct this;

- Gesso the canvas and if you like paint the edges of the canvas (when you are using a dark contrasting colour (this way you don’t have any bare patches on the sides). Today I used ARA Acrylic Paint in “Titanium Buff Light” for this;

- Mix the pouring medium (there are a few different ones) with the paint (I did this by weight): I used 2 parts Floetrol (50 grams) to one part paint (ARA Acrylic Paint : 25 grams)), stir well in a plastic cup, avoid creating more bubbles then necessarily (don’t mix like you’re clutching eggs). You can use a pop-sickle stick for stirring.

I always like to add one metallic paint to my project, and today I felt like using two!

Most important is to keep in mind that the consistency you are after is like warm honey!

Add a tiny bit of rubbing alcohol (couple of drops) to the mixture (this may help prevent bubbles) and stir.

Then add (boiled and cooled down) water, in little bits at a time, until you have reached the consistency of warm honey (you can check this by letting the mixture pour of your stick into the cup). Let it sit for about a half hour / an hour (so that the pouring medium and the paint can get to know each other). For this I choose to use plastic cups with a lid.

Just before you’re pouring add a couple of drops of 100% silicone oil (I used treadmill oil) to the recipe and stir a couple of times, not too much (if it’s winter time make sure that you warm the oil up a bit in the pocket of your fleece vest, for example, before adding to the mixture, so that the oil is not too cold when you add it to the mixture)! The silicone oil will create the so called “cells” (the circular shapes that you see in many acrylic pours).

For this particular project I choose the following ARA Acrylic Paint colours: “Titanium Buff Light”, “Burnt Umber”, “Dark Gold” and “Red Brown Bronze”. All the colours contain silicone oil except for the “Titanium Buff Light” (because I want the negative space to be smooth).

- Time to put on your gloves! Check if your canvas is still level. Do the pouring! I love to do a dirty cup flip pour: use a size plastic cup according to the amount of paint, the cup should be almost full, pour different colours of paint in a cup, one after another (don’t stir!), until you think you have enough paint for the canvas you’re working on. Lift the canvas with one hand and put it on top of the cup with the paint. Hold it firm (canvas in your left, cup in your right hand)! Turn the canvas with the cup on top and put on your table. Let the cup sit for about a minute. Pour more of the Titanium Buff Light mixture around the cup and spread over the canvas using a palette knife or a pop-sickle stick.

Puncture a hole in the cup with a push pin. Because air fills the cup the paint should flow out on it’s own. When not, you can help a little carefully.

Now, you can tilt the canvas back and fort, you can use a circular motion if you like. If you are going after “cells” then don’t tilt the canvas too much, it will break the cells. Because I’m going for some crème coloured negative space I’m not going to let the paint flow over on all sides of the canvas, at least that’s the idea, sometimes things just happen really quick!

When you are happy with how the paint covers the canvas as well as the edges, make sure that you always tip the paint back to the middle as your last step, without loosing your design, this will abort the ongoing flow towards one edge of the canvas (the one you tipped to lastly);

- Check if all your edges/sides of the canvas are covered enough with paint, if not, you can use your finger or a pop-sickle stick to pick up the paint from your work surface and add to the sides of the canvas where you need it, in a dabbing motion (don’t rub, it will create muddy colours);

- You can use a torch (like the ones you can buy for crème-brulle purposes, to pop the air bubbles and make the silicone rise to the top. You can use your torch after the pouring (like I did on today’s project) and before the tipping, or only at the end, or both, whatever you like, but make sure that you always have done this at the end so that as many bubbles as possible have popped!

- Now you can use a toothpick of a pop-sickle stick to clean the underside edges of your canvas (while the canvas is standing on the table). Scrape of the paint that is hanging under the canvas so that it doesn’t dry this way. Be careful to not ruin your wonderful project!

On today’s project I also sprinkled some black, gold and copper coloured fine glitter for an additional fun effect. You can use any brand fine glitter that you own.

- The best thing you can do is to walk away and only check every now and then if you have any more overflowing paint that needs to be scraped on the underside of the canvas. Don’t touch the canvas on top, you will ruin it!

- Let the canvas dry! Some say that two days is enough (after two days the top is dry enough to transport the canvas to a save place to dry further). I would advise to let it dry for at least a couple of weeks (on the save side, in winter, at least four weeks, in summer about three weeks, but not in the sun, the paints needs to dry slow and evenly to prevent cracks in the paint surface);

- After drying, and when you have used silicone oil, you will first have to remove this as best as you can (it will sit on top of the canvas). Some will add baby-powder or corn starch to the canvas and/or wash the canvas with soap and water. I felt that gently cleaning the canvas surface with tissue paper (like Kleenex) did the job but it’s not a guarantee. I’m no expert at this (it tried alcohol and that didn’t work, so I decided that when I don’t see it any more it should be gone). You can do whatever you like. Do some research on this! If you resin your piece then left behind silicone oil can create ugly bubbles on your canvas.

- Now you can varnish/seal the canvas: you can choose between many options such as resin, epoxy, regular varnish, whatever you prefer. Most will choose a gloss option though, but if you like matt, go for matt. I choose a regular gloss acrylic varnish, added two coats with a brush and my project is finally finished!

Some detail pictures:

First canvas:

Second canvas:

Let me know your tips if you have tried this technique already!

I wish you a creative day!

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