Wednesday, September 07, 2016

What the heck is a dirty pour?

You may or may not know this, but one of my leisure activities is to troll the internet for unusual art activities. I belong to several resin and alcohol ink groups, and the latest one I joined, “Let It Flow”, introduced me to the “dirty pour” term. Just like in the old blogging days, one Facebook group leads you to another group, and the cycle is endless. It’s fun, it doesn’t hurt anyone (other than discretionary time), and you are always learning.
What exactly is this strange and wonderful term? It has nothing to do with either bad language, or construction leering! It really is an art term, but perhaps one that has not been associated with jewellery yet. I haven’t actually played with “dirty pours” (except in a very limited sense), but I find it quite fascinating. You take either resin, or acrylic pouring medium (dries clear and somewhat shiny and found at an art supply store), and then layer up various densities of paint dollops (heaviest on the bottom, and lightest on top). A couple of light swirls with a stir stick, and then you pour on your background. When you’re done, you start tipping the substrate, for a wonderful, swirling explosion of colour saturated eye candy! Gloves, masking tape, and table protection, are a very wise investment! Lacing effects and cells (think frothy waves on a beach) can be obtained via various methods, which include some that I’m not comfortable with (at least yet)! Effects are intensified, and bubbles vanquished, via your trusty torch (I’ve heard that a heat gun is also useful). You apparently need to do this at 10 minute intervals, as bubbles are known to be obstinate, and very, very tricky! I’ve heard of bugs and flies, curing along with the resin/paint, so you must be vigilant! Dust motes, cat and dog hair, are not your friends!!! Overturned cardboard boxes, are an acceptable barrier, but don’t forget to check them out for dirt and dust, before setting them over your masterpiece. The above photo is not mine, but rather one I grabbed off Google images, by an artist called Miabella, from Dream Spirit Studios. She has a YouTube out there, that illustrates her process (as it relates to acrylic, not resin). Take a look, if you’re interested in learning a little more.
House paint, fluid acrylics, high flow acrylics, acrylic inks, alcohol inks, Pebeo paints (including Vitrail and Fantasy Prisme and Moon), resin, airbrush medium, and acrylic pouring medium, are all products that I have heard associated with “dirty pours”. I’m not sure, but I believe that the Fantasy line (it’s solvent/oil based) needs to at least partially cure, before pouring resin over it, but then again, these artists seem to be leading edge, and are willing to layer on just about anything! On one group (this one, I think), I heard that you could add alcohol inks to the top of your Fantasy paints, then add heat, to produce the “lacing effect”. Well of course I had to try this, but in a much smaller format, on a domino. As I forgot to put the domino on a heatproof surface, I quickly learned that parchment paper is not flame safe....yikes! Good thing I had water nearby! The experiment was not exactly what I would call a success, as a lot of the paint, slid right off the domino, onto the parchment paper. However it did give me an interesting texture, so I will certainly continue the experiments at a later date. If any of you try to do this, please do it outside (or in a very well ventilated area), on a heatproof surface, and have something close, that could quench the flames. My little inferno was very small, and I was able to put it out fast! These fumes are probably toxic, so a good protective fume mask (not just a flimsy dust one), is an absolute must! The photo showing above, is said domino, after it cured for 72 hours, and then was trimmed. The ceramic tile in the background, was painted with alcohol inks and fire (but not at the same time as the domino).
If you’re wondering where I’m going with this, it’s that I intend to continue experimenting with “dirty pours” in a much smaller format. Mainly to see if I'd be able to scale down the process, and adapt it for jewellery purposes. At the very least, I'd like to be able make something interesting, out of the colourful runoff. Think Fordite, on a much smaller scale (see above)! If you’re looking for me, during the fall/winter, you’ll probably find me in mad scientist mode, up to my elbows in resin, ink, and paint!!

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