Paint mixing for pouring

I’m in a few acrylic art/pouring groups on facebook and every day, a few times a day in fact, someone asks a question about paint mixing. Usually it comes down to “how do i make my mix work properly/what is your pouring ratio”. The reason I’m writing this post is not to denigrate them but rather to add my own perspective to the answer to this question. Much of the advice that’s given seems to revolve around a one size fits all type policy.

I’ve been doing pours for a long time (my brother did this style of work from his late teens and still does, so I’ve been inspired by him as well as the reemergence in popularity of these paintings) but only became “serious” about them in the past few years. I’ve done a lot of trial and error and I’m hoping that someone might find something a little helpful in this post.

The first and most important thing that you can do for yourself, to save yourself a TON of frustration, is to watch as many videos and follow as many artists from your local geographic area as you can. While YouTube algorithims reward placement based on subscribers and frequency of posting, the wealth of information you can discover from watching artists near you is worth the dig.

That’s not to say don’t watch the “bigger” vloggers! But we’re talking fixing your basics here, which is your pouring medium. Your needs are going to be different than others outside of your area. See what these artists use for their mediums at different times of the year. The needs are going to change. Ratios will change. There’s not a OSFA unless someone has a climate controlled studio, and even then it might change based on the paint they use or manufacturing differences.

I started out using a mix of elmer’s, floetrol and silicon oil based off a wonderful artist in AUS. It was a great leaping point to get in for me but I couldn’t get the same effects that she was. I came across another artist in northern Florida who also had her studio space in her garage, like me. She spent the first few minutes of the video talking about the weather the previous night and the day she was filming and that’s when it hit me – I can’t do my work based on someone else’s ratio that lives in a dry climate when I’m in the middle of a humid swamp. It simply won’t work.

The experimentation led me to a vastly different ratio than even the FL artist, but I found one that opened up what I was hoping for. It enabled me to actually practice and perfect techniques versus becoming so frustrated with the quality of the pour. I was able to concentrate on color theory, mediums and colors and pigments and embellishments and everything else.

I came across another pour artist living in the same climate as me and found that our “ratios” were pretty damn similiar which led to confirmation bias that I might be on to something. Obviously YMMV but if you find yourself getting frustrated with your pouring ratios not leading to the same type of quality as artists you admire, find someone near you that pours and ask them. Or just experiment. There’s endless combinations. The amount that I use for heavy body versus craft paint versus enamel versus pigment versus whatever changes.

I will say that since I have decided to go simply with water and HBA, sometimes with oil but most of the time not, I’ve found it SO much simpler. I’ve found the colors better and more powerful, and I’ve found the quality of my pours has increased dramatically. Again though, YMMV.

I hope that some of this is helpful for someone that’s just starting.

Tiger King

Is anyone else watching this series because oh my gosh, it’s craaaaaazy. Just when I think “that’s gotta be it” it takes another left turn. How on earth does it just get more insane?

Technicolour Kit – Review

This summer, my husband got me the Technicolour Kit by Culture Hustle ($46.00 USD) (Stuart Semple’s art supply wing) and I’ve been dying to play with it. However, like so many of us, I never really felt I had anything that was “worth” playing with these supplies. I get it into my head that this notebook is too pretty to screw up, or these paints are too expensive to waste – and then they end up sitting until I decide I’m good enough.

I ended up with a spare practice canvas this weekend working on Dutch pours and finally decided, what the heck. Let’s do this.

I wanna preface this by saying that it will become quickly apparent as to why I ONLY do abstract and watercolors – I cannot draw to save my life. Also, this is obviously not a sponsored post, or a paid review or anything like that – I just buy art supplies and before I do, I always search out as many experiences as I can in order to make a good judgement so this is me contributing to that in hopes that it helps someone else!

The kit comes with three pieces – “Stick”, “Prysm” and a foam brush, reminiscent in shape and material of a beauty blender type sponge. I recommend watching the video that Stuart Semple put out to announce the product because it’s a great 101. The premise of the material is simple: brush a thin coat wherever you want the powder to go, let it dry to translucent and pat/push/brush the powder on with the enclosed sponge stick.

I remember watching it and thinking that it really reminded me of using holographic or chrome powders for nail art, something I’m very familiar with.

Below are some pictures of the process. You can see that I first taped the main area, then the smaller areas for my crystals that I was creating. The glue dried very quickly – much less than the 10 – 15 minutes recommended, but if you aren’t familiar with this type of glue, it won’t hurt you to wait until the time’s up so you don’t start powdering before the surface is ready.

The sponge is honestly worthless. The top part that attaches it isn’t long enough to give it a sturdy home, so it bends and warps and it’s like using a hot dog to apply this powder, tbh. It also ended up crumbling in parts, and I wasn’t brushing or rubbing vigorously. I was pushing the powder into the glue and moving onwards. I get that we’re not buying the kit for the brush, but if you’re gonna call it out like Semple did in his video and provide it as a tool to use, make it serviceable. That’s a pet peeve of mine. It’s like buying a makeup palette and they talk about the brush included that was specifically designed for use with these pigments and it turns out you can get a better one at Dollar General.

What about the pigment?

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Well, it’s not going to be opaque so don’t expect that. Holos work better on darker surfaces, so for the most intense reactions, you’ll want to use something much darker than what I used here. The powder has good staying power and it’s refractive, but (and I hate to say this) I have holo powders that are much more intense than this one for significantly less. I’m not sure if this has to do with Culture Hustle’s process or if the materials used for this are ecofriendly (such as with their not-glitter), but I wasn’t blown away, even accounting for the lighter colors.

I outlined everything in Blk 3.1 (I was part of the kickstarter backers that got caught at the very end when they had to reformulate due to exploding bottles). I believe that this helped a lot with the holo effect, giving it something to bounce off of.

Here’s a picture of the rainbow gradient I was able to get. The subtle color is about true to life for this one.

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None of the pictures have been put through filters or adjusted in any way. Holo is hard to capture with pro equipment, and I am just using an iPhone so keep that in mind. If I were to do this again, I’d block out the shape with a dark background, then apply the Prysm.

Overall, I wouldn’t say that this is a miss – if you think that you’ll use it in some applications. $46.00 is a lot of money for a supply that you don’t have a clear vision of use for. I do feel that CH has better supplies to use for like, artistic purposes.

It went great over acrylics, and I didn’t notice any degradation or damage to the paint underneath at all. What I’m planning on doing next is a head-to-head with some of my nail powders over a couple of blacks – the Blk 3.1, a mars and a carbon based black, just to see what the actual comparison is.

If you don’t have nail powders, or enjoy Culture Hustle’s products, then pick it up. I’d recommend picking up some sponge eyeshadow applicators as well and forgoing the applicator included in the kit.

Shift of Focus

I’m going to be adding my artwork to this blog in addition to my poetry. I’ve been pulling myself out of a depression over the past year, along with finishing up undergrad and starting grad school, so my writing has been slower to come out. The poem I posted today was the first thing in months that I actually felt good enough to publish.

The whole point of this blog for me was to just share my creative efforts, and I figure since I seem to be expanding that into more areas, I’d go ahead and share. All of you that follow are here for the poems, but I wanted to give a heads up in case you don’t want to see artwork.

I post a lot more of my WIP and finalized stuff on my instagram, @almillercreative , so if you are interested in that versus more of a rambling type thing alongside the paintings, feel free to follow over there!

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy the additions. I’ll keep posting poems as I go and I’m working on another chapbook currently, but no ETA or firm timelines on that one because I can’t handle that bandwidth.

Thanks everyone for your support, likes, etc – it means a lot to me, and I’m so grateful for your time as I’ve been silent for most of this year.

I almost made it the entire month before I realized

What time of the year it was
The leaves are just now starting to change
From vibrant summer green to
Muted violets and browns
The temperature remains in the seventies and eighties
Climbing into the nineties some days,
Forcing me to wear shorts much longer than I wanted to
Even though the nights dip into the 40’s or 50’s.

I was able to make it all the way through the equinox
Creating new pieces
Writing bits of new poems
Feeling empowered and beyond your reach
While the birds kept serenading my days in the yard
Even though our garden is full of rusted plants
Collapsing on themselves in the need of a seasonal rest.
Pumpkins and haybales decorate my stoop,
Blending it into all the other homes in our subdivision,
Covering up the past with the promise of a modern farmhouse future.

I leaned into Halloween for the fun of it this year
Instead of the relief that it provides in allowing me to disguise
Every single bit of me, obscuring what I was with what I am now.
I almost got away with it, except the wind still smells like dust
And rotten leaves
Like the ones that decorate your grave,
Hiding you in the warm comfort of the earth
Away from the annual celebration of how I finally
Painfully
Fearfully
Broke away from you for the last time.

The good news is, it doesn’t seem like climate change
Is going to end any time soon.
I might make it all the way to November next year.

i’m not sure what it says about me

that it took five years of marriage
before i stopped believing
that you loving me
was just another joke
set up by the girls watching
from behind the trees
so they could jump out and scream
“GOTCHA AGAIN YOU STUPID FUCKING IDIOT”
one more time.

But today
today i was able to believe it
wholeheartedly
down to the very darkest places
where i hide myself
wrapped up in the safety of my voices
wearing me out like a rosary
protecting me from the outside
and i opened the door a little,
letting the rays of light in,
feeling their ghosts dissolve
without worrying if the fading laughter
was a punchline to some whispered cruelty
that I’ll never know the set-up to.

the reason i’m so desperate

to be needed
is because being wanted
never lasts and
i wish i figured this out
about 100k in psych treatment ago.

i could have taken a trip
some far-flung destination
five star accommodation
in the heart of everything
a tourist could want,
so i could fire up my laptop
and spend the time watching
friday night dinner again.

sort of how my life is now
except more interesting
and aesthetically pleasing
for the Instagram grid.