Methods, Paintings

Trying to Create Cells Using Silicone

So I have been creating fluid acrylic paintings for over 10 years and in that time I have just used water as a medium to add to  the paint (plus a bit of a venture into the Liquitex pouring medium).

I have found that using different viscosity of paint can give different effects, whether that be in the same painting or in different ones (i.e. using varying thicknesses of paint in the same painting or doing paintings with all thicker paint or all thinner paint).

But it was only very recently that someone made a comment on one of my YouTube videos about using silicone as an additive to give an effect called ‘cells’. So I investigated further and found some amazing results.

The first person that I came across using this technique was a lady called Annemarie Riddehof who does a lot of video pours and produces beautiful paintings with large and small cells.

Anyway, I looked into what additives I needed to use to get this kind of effect and the main thing seemed to be to add silicone to the paint. You can get this in either liquid or spray form and I opted for the spray as this was easiest to get hold of near me.

You can also use various other pouring mediums to make the paint the right consistency.

So I decided that today (being a day that I would be working in the studio) I would try some experiments with trying to create cells in some fluid acrylic paintings.

I have to say that it is not as easy as it sounds! I made 4 attempts using various mediums. The first one I used watered down paint and silicone and poured it on a canvas board. However, it just seemed to get into a brown mess with no cells so I scarped all of the paint off. As the paint that I scraped off looked quite interesting I put it back on the board! On the second pouring it did come up with some cells but it was quite a dark painting.

The second effort was on a large canvas. In hindsight I don’t think I added enough silicone. When you spray the silicone in the paint it needs to be done quite gently so that it comes out more as a liquid and I only really discovered this after the second attempt! Also as it was a big painting, it really needed a lot more than the small spray that Annemarie had been using on her paintings. I used Liquitex pouring medium on the second one.

On the third attempt I used a much smaller canvas and had plenty of paint. I mixed the paint with a bit of water and some PVA. When I first poured it, there were not many cells. But as it developed more were appearing. I then used a hairdryer to try and get more cells to come out (as I don’t have one of those burners). Lots more cells appeared and the painting worked reasonably well.

As I was getting pretty hooked at this stage I decided to go for a bigger one again. I had an old canvas that I wasn’t happy with so I used that. I chose my favourite colours of greens and blues and added water, PVA and a good dose of silicone spray. I did not mix the silicone in to the paint too much.

The resulting painting and the creation of it can be seen in the video below. Sorry about my video skills, I still need to get to grips with my new camcorder!

I did get some nice cells forming but I would like to do better so I will keep practicing!

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