Acrylic pour painting turns everyone into an artist

Published 6:34 pm Sunday, January 13, 2019

It requires no artistic skills or training. All it takes is a sense of fun, an affinity for color and the ability to pour paint onto a canvas.

This is the Acrylic Pour class at Contemporary Art Exchange in downtown Washington. Held in the East Main Street studio and led by CAE owner Tina Jandrow, the three-hour workshop consistently draws a mix of people, from established artists to those who’ve never painted in their lives. Acrylic pour painting is the great equalizer of art and artists, because the results are always a surprise, and endlessly, colorfully interesting.

MAKING A SPLASH: Ginny (left) and Dale Harsh (right) prepare to unleash layers of acrylic paint on canvasses at a recent acrylic pour painting class at The Contemporary Art Exchange in downtown Washington.

The process is deceptively simple, though the final paintings appear enormously complex. Participants first pick out acrylic paint colors that appeal to them, add a pouring medium to each color, which makes the paint flow more freely, then layer the paints in a cup — a process known as a “dirty pour.” Each layer is separated by another layer of white paint to differentiate between layers once the paint in poured, and silicone lubricants can be added to create some interesting texture.

A beginner’s pour involves simply placing a canvas atop the paint-filled cup, then carefully flipping cup and canvas over. The layers of paint pour over the canvas, and it’s up to each artist to “paint” in a variety of ways: tilting the canvas in different directions and letting gravity have its way, using a straw to blow paint across the surface or applying a torch to expand “cells” of paint.

ABSTRACT: The work of artists and non-artists is indistinguishable when laid side by side for the lengthy drying process.

The final piece sometimes rivals the work of modern abstract artists; other times, not so much. But each canvas is a revelation of color and movement, and proof of an artistic experience worth having.

Contemporary Art Exchange is located at 127 E. Main St., Washington. More information about classes can be found at The Contemporary Art Exchange on Facebook or by calling 252-721-1753.

DIRTY POUR: Paint layered in the same cup is what’s called a “dirty pour,” a beginner’s go-to process in acrylic pour painting. In the background, Mary Grace Wilder layers paints of her own.

ANY CANVAS WILL DO: A collection of old records doubles as canvasses for The Contemporary Art Exchange’s Acrylic Pour class.