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Pour and Swipe


Sounds like a simple way of painting, right? I took the plunge after endless hours of training from the Great Master YouTube. I learned how to mix the paints, how to pour, and how to swipe. I had my pick of artist and technique, color and canvas, novice and expert. Everyone made it sound simple. Mix. Pour. Swipe. I knew the devil lives in the details so I watched video after video until I gained some degree of conceptual confidence.

Last weekend, I went to a nearby art supply store and armed myself with paints, pouring medium, primer, canvas, craft sticks and more. When I got home, I lathered the canvas with primer and set it on four paper cups to let it dry. The next morning I left for work travel and when I returned after a few days, I was chomping at the bits to try what YouTube had taught me. I was going to emulate a particular piece I had seen in a video with navy background and gold, silver, white swipes. Except, I had bought black for the background and gold, white, blue, and teal for the swipes to align with the colors in my bedroom. This change seemed reasonable in the store but insurmountable when I started at the canvas. I couldn't anchor what I was going to do to what I had learned!

The pathological optimist in me propelled me forward!

I mixed the black paint with the pouring medium. I prepared little plastic containers with gold, white, blue, and teal paints using the craft sticks to stir the paints. Paper towel sat on the right and newspapers and plastic covered the garage floor. I was SO ready.

The next 45 minutes were a blur with paint running everywhere, drops falling here and there, paint squirting out of tube unexpectedly, blackened hands, and paint on my clothes. I needed four hands! I went from one thing to the next like I was stuck in a heavy metal riff, praying that I wasn't totally messing up the canvas. On the black background, I dropped thin lines of the other paints across the center, crisscrossing the lines as I had seen in the videos. I cut out the back of a brochure to make stiff "swipers". The first swipe was incredibly hard because the videos hadn't taught me how much pressure to put. I did it so gently that nothing happened. So I tried a little extra pressure at a time until, voila, I saw a swipe that looked like what I had seen before. So fun!

Then I got bold. I dropped paint in random places. A bit of white, more gold, nah some teal. Oh more blue. I swiped with different sizes of paper. I made lines unexpectedly. Then I settled on a line in the center of the canvas and swiped until the line blended. The most unexpected part of pouring and swiping was that the painting continued to change long after I had stopped fussing with it. The paints flowed, reacted, formed cells, and evolved in unexpected ways! Each time I checked on it, a new wave or cell caught my attention.

I would never have been able to do this with a brush because I sit squarely in the zero talent camp! I had no idea that pouring and swiping would be this fun. Now I am totally hooked! Next up are dirty and dutch pours. Bring it on!


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