I love paint pouring, but it is challenging for me psychologically.
I have only dipped my toes into this painting technique, so I am by no means an expert, but I know enough to know that I am hooked. I have used Floetrol, Liquitex pouring medium, and Elmer’s glue thus far. I have yet to experiment with resin or silicone in any of my pieces.
I tend to use the flip-cup method when I pour paint. Using this technique, artists mix their paints and pouring mediums into individual cups before combining the contents into one larger cup (or bucket, if you are living the dream). That cup is then flipped upside-down onto whatever surface the artist is working with. This technique has resulted in some successful pieces for me.
Here is the hitch, though: I cannot really say that I paint pour. The simple act of pouring paint on a canvas has proven to be much more difficult than I thought.
For me, preparing to paint looks something like this: I order my canvas, pick it up, gesso and sand it, repeating this last process three times (despite the label telling me that it is already triple primed, because my college professor is still in my head). I select my colors, mix my paints, find a surface that I can afford to get paint on, and... I hesitate the majority of the time. I flip paint, then I splash it around the canvas. I dribble acrylic over the corners. I push paint around once it has already hit the surface.
There is little to no paint pouring happening.
I am so self-conscious about the paint that I am "wasting" that I am not really in the moment. Although my focus should be on making an interesting composition, I am almost always distracted by the paint that is falling off of the canvas. I might not have an issue at all here if money was no concern to me. I am surprised that I have had successful pours.
I know that I am not the only artist concerned about salvaging that dripping paint. Many makers use that excess to make jewelry or other smaller works. I believe that a good solution for me would be to lay down an additional canvas to catch the overflowing paint. This way no product would be thrown out in the process. This might ease me into focusing primarily on the piece itself, instead the paint that is underneath it. Maybe this will be enough to help me get over my mental block. I certainly hope that that is the case, because I so want to create large-scale pieces.
Paint pouring surprised me because it showed me a part of myself that I had been trying to ignore. I know that I need to worry less. I would love to say that I am a Christian who does not struggle with anxiety and worry, but that would not be true. I have seasons of life where I fret more than I maintain peace. I might be able to use something as simple as paint pouring as an exercise in faith. The God who gave me the desire to create art knows that I need something to create that art with. He sees me, even when all I can see are my concerns. He has an excellent track record when it comes to taking care of me. He has used something as basic as paint to point me to His promises. He is my provider.
Our mental health really does matter. Please do the things that you know you need to do to take care of yourself in this strange season. For me, taking care of my soul, spirit, and mind looks like me reading my Bible every morning. You might write for the sake of health, or hike, or read, or cook, or clean, or plant, or talk to family or friends. Tell me what you are doing to cope with anxiety and worry this year. Now is not the time to ignore our internal alarms. If what you are doing is not working, be willing try something else. What might have worked for you before might not yield the same results.
If you know you need to do something different, be willing to try. Do continue to do the things that do work. I will do this with you.
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When I am stressed out, I often reach for a pen and whatever notebook I am using at the time. I have done this since middle school, when angst first knocked. I keep writing in my back pocket, and I pull it out when I need to work through things in my life. I do not use pen and paper to let anyone else into my world. I write to untangle thoughts. Writing is usually a calming activity for me. I am Linus and writing is my security blanket. My pen and paper might be the most useful item I have in my toolbox. The last thing I want to do with this valuable exercise is make it into some type of work or chore. For all of my life, I have placed writing exactly where I like it – off to the side, like fries.