We’ve probably all seen those famous paintings by artists like Rembrandt or Leonardo da Vinci and maybe even by Bob Ross (because his PBS show is the most relaxing thing ever…!). These and many, many other artists used oil paints and classical tools like paint brushes and knives for their work.
Unlike these techniques fluid art mostly doesn’t use any such tools, or uses them in a different way. When pouring acrylics, as the name suggests, most of the work is done by means of pouring paint onto a surface and not by applying it using brush strokes. And especially not to a canvas which is propped up on an easle.
If you’ve ever used acrylics you will know that they are of pasty consistency and in order to make them fluid you’ll need a pouring medium. Many artists use Floetrol which is a latex paint conditioner. Liquitex also makes a pouring medium. Others use white glue (which might not be as resistant to yellowing as the other options). The main thing to make sure here is to use a medium that thins your paints to give them a more liquid consistency, while, at the same time binding the pigments to keep them from losing their properties. Some water can be added for further thinning, but only a tiny bit.
After mixing my paints with some medium in in individual cups I add (very few) drops of silicone to each colour. Next I start layering the paints in a new cup until it’s filled. Then comes the fun part: pouring. There are different ways of applying the paint to the canvas. The two most popular are the flip cup and the dirty pour.
After tilting the canvas in such a way that it is covered in paint I use a torch and quickly move over the paint. At this point the silicone will be pulled up and create the typical cells everyone is so keen on. And then… I wait. Watching paint dry was never so exciting!