Published: 12th April 2018
Dirty pour: Here's an interesting beginner's guide to fluid painting
Free-flowing liquid paints are the key ingredients for the pouring process. Though the pouring and creation part is easy, it is the after-care and preservation that requires more time
I am usually looking out for new and interesting art techniques that have arrived on the scene and happened to chance upon 'dirty pour' recently. It is definitely a most curious name for a very simple art and, let’s be honest, conjures up all sorts of possibilities in our mind. Bloggers on the Internet have humorously recalled their initial reactions to the name. Some thought it was a fetish of sorts, while many others believed it was some form of contemporary art that involved pouring dirt and sludge onto a canvas. To the disappointment and delight of many, dirty pour is the simplest method of acrylic or fluid painting, more so for amateurs who aren’t familiar with acrylics in general.
The process calls for a few acrylic colours of your choice to be poured into a container and then pouring it all out onto the canvas. Tilting and shifting the surface leads to the colours moving around and unfailingly creates patterns and interesting blends. The result is almost always unpredictable. A single surface can also be decorated with multiple dirty pours. For example, the first pour may consist of a couple of warm colours and the second one, on the bottom half of the canvas, could be a mix of cool colours. The overall effect would be a half-and-half composition of broken patterns. Resins or epoxy (also available at art stores) can be added to the solvent to fix the final design and preserve it.
Though the pouring and creation part is easy, it is the after-care and preservation that requires more time and effort and can be a test of patience. Acrylic medium has a tendency to congeal faster than it can dry and might drag across the surface due to gravity if kept in an upright position.
The surface should also be kept in humidity-free and dust-free surroundings to prevent mottling. Quick drying using a hair dryer will help prevent small air bubbles that occur on the surface and will also inhibit disintegration due to moisture. Professional artists also often recommend keeping acrylic art pieces away from the reach of pets as hair and fur shedding can affect the drying surface. So can a stray paw print!
“It is advisable to watch out for colour combinations that may not complement each other unless a contrast colour effect is what you’re looking for in the first place”, says Leela Waehrer, a young American artist. Since colours blend and move when they’re poured and create unforeseen specks and splashes, it is always safer to work with colours that gel with each other. Colour charts and online tutorials can help beginners in this regard if they are unsure about what hues and tones to use.
Acrylic pours often look like the marble patterns one can commonly find in nail art. Making marbled designs on fabrics using water and insoluble pigments is also a craft that resembles dirty pour. The pour technique can be used to decorate various surfaces such as canvas, metal, fibre surfaces, polymer clay and basically any other material that lacks porosity.