5 lessons I've learned from pour painting

Process -

5 lessons I've learned from pour painting

When I first started pour painting, I thought it would simply be a productive way to fill my time with something creative. Let’s just say this quarantine “hobby” quickly grew out of proportion… and it’s taught me so much more than I bargained for. In a good way!

Pour painting has taught me about more than just art. Here are just 5 of the lessons I've learned so far:

1. Go all in. If it’s worth your time, it’s worth doing right.

I jumped in to paint pouring with both feet in the form of gallons of Floetrol, every color of acrylic in the rainbow, and canvases of every size and shape. But the biggest leap of faith was starting Studio Sweet T. Starting a small business in the midst of a pandemic? Sure, why not. Felt cute, might delete later.

Spoiler alert: I didn’t delete and I’m so glad I stayed the course. Going all in with the whole works – consistent branding, craft shows, business cards, a new website (!) – has pushed my art and skill set further than I ever imagined.

2. Let go of perfection.

The worst paintings I’ve ever done are the ones where I try too hard to achieve perfection (or whatever "perfection" means - is there really a consensus?). Fluid art requires you to accept the unknown, be open to new possibilities and go with the flow when there's a change in plans (pun intended).

Case in point: I've attempted many a dutch pour with paint that’s too thick. Rather than tossing it, the paint gets scraped into a puddle, tilted a few times, and voila! It’s the perfect flow extender base for a tree ring pour. Hope is never lost.

3. Make your own mold. Then, own your awesome.

For the love of Pete, don’t try to mimic anyone other than the visions in your own heart and creative brain. That space is sacred and a pretty awesome place to hang out when you’re creating.

When I first started pouring, I over-consumed videos and articles and blogs and Facebook group posts, thinking I was learning how to finesse my technique. And don’t get me wrong, learning from fellow artists has been one of the joys of this journey.

But I soon found myself trying to mold my style to every cool pour I saw out there. Combine that with perfection paralysis (see #2 above) and it defeats the purpose of art as a mode of expression. You are you. And you are awesome!

4. Stop to smell the roses.

Growing up as a farm kid made me appreciate nature’s intricate and awe-inspiring canvas from an early age. Paint pouring has given me the opportunity to bring seemingly small details to life in a new way.

In my paintings, you might find hints of lush valley views, sunsets behind the silos, fireflies floating over the farm fields, or frost glittering on the grass. It’s the little things that make life sweet.

5. You’re your own worst critic.

So, take the damn compliment. That piece really is as good as other people say it is, or else they wouldn’t be saying it.

I’ve learned to pause and look at the piece from an outsider’s lens just before I scrape a pour. Instead of seeing a corner that was stretched a little too much or cells that didn’t develop enough, I shift my perspective to find the individuality in each piece. More than likely, it will find its way to a new home where the proud owner of that piece loves it just the way it is.

Want to know how I learned these lessons? Here's how a pour painting is made!

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