Experiments with Fluid Art

I’ve been hearing about fluid art for quite a while now. Also known as pouring art, it basically involves pouring different colored paints onto a canvas using any one of the recommended pouring techniques. The colors flow across the canvas, creating interesting patterns that result in absolutely unique and amazing paintings.

You can control the patterns to some extent by controlling the pouring technique you use and the way you move the canvas after pouring. But try as you might, you can never make the exact same painting twice. And that’s what makes it so much fun. You can’t really predict the kind of art you end up with, especially if you are a beginner to pouring.

Experienced pourers with vision, of course, have various tips and tricks to guide the colors the way they want and then touch up the painting to some extent to get whatever they have envisioned. Several YouTube videos are available on pouring (see ‘Life is Kumquat or Olga Solby’s ‘Life in Fluid Color‘). Just watching these videos can be very therapeutic.

I was a bit timid about creating my own pouring colors by mixing acrylic paints with a pouring medium and Silicon Oil. So I got two pre-packaged fluid art kits from Camel – one called Aqua and the other called Sunset. Each of the fluid art kit contained a small canvas board, four acrylic shades that went with the kit’s theme, and a polythene apron.

When I set out to create my first piece of fluid art, I realized that starting small had been a good idea. Pouring is not as simple as they make it look in the videos. Or rather pouring is not simple when you have been brought up on a steady middle class diet of minimizing waste and maximizing utility. I just couldn’t get myself to pour and watch paint drip off my canvas. Instead of letting paint flow in rivulets off my canvas, I dribbled and dabbled. In the end, my painting looked less fluid art and more as if I had painted with a palette knife.

For my second attempt, I wanted to complement the Water painting above with a Fire one, so I just used the oranges and yellows from the Sunset art kit, ignoring the pinks and violets. This attempt went a bit better in that I was at least able to pour. Unfortunately, the yellows and oranges mixed at places to become a muddy brown. But I touched it up with a few yellow highlights so that it kind of looks like Fire.

I’d run out of pre-mixed fluid paints by now so I just used regular acrylics for the next non-fluid canvas. I painted Ardhnarishwar (Half-Female God) using orange and blues to sort of ‘hold’ the Fire and Water paintings together. I followed a Youtube tutorial for making this one.

I’ve hung the three paintings in our very narrow foyer. I believe the three paintings go well together. What do you say?

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I’m thinking of creating the complete Five Element series with fluid paints. I’m planning to mix my own paints for the next three elements. That way, I could use silicon oil to get the cell effect that is so popular in fluid paintings. Stay tuned!


Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at leenatpandey@gmail.com.

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