Poured Acrylics for Art Journals

Poured acrylics are exactly what they sound like–add acrylic paints to acrylic medium and pour or spread them onto a canvas. Some artists add water to the paint and spread it to create a blended background.

I tried a variety of mediums (gel, fluid, and glaze) and two different substrates, freezer paper and watercolor paper. The freezer paper allows the release of the poured acrylics and makes them usable in collage.

Experimenting with acrylics takes some time, but the results are worth it. Here are some results I came up with.

Poured acrylics mixed with gel medium on watercolor paper. ©Quinn McDonald 2012, all rights reserved.

Acrylics mixed with heavy-bodied gel medium on watercolor paper. This dries the fastest, but the results are a little more controlled than I like. I prefer the smooth surface of fluid medium.

Acrlic and gel medium poured onto freezer paper. ©Quinn McDonald, 2012, all rights reserved.

If you pour the same mixture on parchment or freezer paper, the acrylic will dry and can be peeled off. The front and back look completely different. This is the same color mix as above, but the colors that sank are different than the ones that were on top.

Acrylic paint and ink mixed with fluid medium and opal/gold glaze. ©Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2012

Mixing ink (green and mallard blue)  and paint (Payne’s gray) with a mixture of fluid glaze and gold/opal glaze gives amazing results. Fluid glaze is designed to retard the drying of acrylics, and it does. This piece took 24 hours to dry.

Swirled and controlled colors. © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2012

Acrylics (Payne’s gray, vermillion, cobalt blue) dropped onto fluid acrylic and then treated like the surface of marbled paper or cake decoration. In the corner is a blend of metallic copper acrylic, and quinadcricone burnt orange swirled together in flue acrylic.

Inks on fluid acrlic and gold glaze © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2012

First, put down about a tablespoon of fluid acrylic and spiral a teaspoon (approximately) of gold/opal glaze (Golden’s) through it. Spray inks (I used Tattered Angels Shimmer mist) onto surface, wait 30 seconds, and tilt mixture, being careful to keep the ink on top of the fluid medium.

Can be peeled off parchment or freezer paper. © Quinn McDonald, all rights reserved, 2012

Payne’s gray, opaque white ink, Graphite Shimmer Mist, swirled on top of fluid acrylic. Once dry, these acrylics can be peeled off the freezer paper and used in collage. Use self-leveling medium to create a thin skin.

—Quinn McDonald is experimenting with inks. There’s something to be said for that. She’s a creativity coach and art journaler.

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10 thoughts on “Poured Acrylics for Art Journals

  1. This is so cool, Quinn…I never thought of painting on freezer paper and pulling it off again. (Is freezer paper the same as wax paper?) I really love that swirled piece, third from the bottom. I will be trying this!

    • Freezer paper is not wax paper. Freezer paper has a coating of plastic, wax has, well, wax. Parchment paper and freezer paper are your best choice. There is also a Silpat sheet–cooks use it to line cookie sheets, but it’s often textured.

  2. Watching your inspiring experiments reminded me of an exhibition that I saw in the National Gallery in Beijing. The artist was a retired Taiwanese businessman who as his hobby had revived a way painting where liquid colours (oil or acrylic) are blended in a way much similar to yours. His paintings were huge: largest were big enough to cover an average living room wall completely. And they were sheer magic! The colours glowed as if lit by a light of their own, and the way they blended and melted into each other was indescribable. Can’t remember what his name was, sadly. I got a card of one of the paintings (the only one that was available), but I find it. It must be somewhere serving as a bookmark, but where? I’ll let you know when I find it. There maybe something by that artists online.

  3. This is a fun technique! I haven’t tried inks yet, but I have used transparent glass paints and medium to paint a thin transparent image then peel it off to become part of a collage. You are such a wicked enabler, lol!

    • I am, because the result require patience. I’m still waiting to pull the others off–they will take about 36 hours to dry if they are thin and you are using fluid medium.

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