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  • Writer's picturesarahgoddardartist

Acrylics: from impasto to pour

Acrylics are an amazingly versatile paint. From heavy-body used with palette knives, to fluid acrylics poured and blown, some fantastic effects can be achieved. Made from pigments and acrylic emulsion, acrylic paints can be combined with a wide range of mediums. These also contain acrylic emulsion, and can be used to change the consistency and texture of the paint, to create different effects.

An abstract painting on paper, in a mount and wood-effect grey frame. The painting is a wispy pattern of grey and pink moving outwards from the centre of the canvas, against a white background.
Pink and Grey Burst

Painting more abstract artworks allows me to move away from creating a reproduction of the world, towards embodying emotions within the artwork. Using heavy-body acrylics or structure paste allows me to build up texture in the artwork, adding an additional impact to the visual experience. Impasto painting is a method where the paint can be laid on very thick, using a palette knife, which can create fantastic, loose paintings. Using fluid acrylic paint allows me to create gentle wispy shapes and striking contrasts against white negative space.

Abstract acrylic Dutch pour painting. The background is white. From the bottom left, up to the top and then across to the top right of the canvas is a blue, turquoise and purple pattern of paint, with wispy edges where the paint is blown out into the white background.
Blue Thunder

I particularly enjoy creating Dutch pours. Mine usually have a poured white background. I then pour thin lines of fluid acrylic colours on top of this. I use air to blow this colour out into the background, creating wispy edges. There is a contrast between the white negative space of the background, highlighting the shape of the foreground painting.

An abstract artwork inspired by fire. The work is made up of smaller acrylic pours on MDF panels combined together to make a wide, short painting. The panels are painted in flame colours of red, orange and green, alternating between a background of black and a coloured background.

Fluid art is wonderfully unpredictable. I can create shapes with edges that I would never achieve with a brush. Perhaps counter-intuitively, in some of my large fluid acrylic pieces, I introduce order and balance using carefully calculated formulae. I build up these artworks using smaller acyclic pours on MDF panels, which I then combine into a larger piece. In Phoenix, a piece inspired by fire, I gradually increased the width of the panels towards the centre of the painting, as well as alternating between black and coloured backgrounds, to create balance and contrast within the piece.

All of the paintings pictured here will be on display at the Living from Art exhibition at Parabola Arts Centre, which I am taking part in from 19-23 October.

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