Acrylic Pouring- Accidental Painting

Acrylic Pouring is a painting technique introduced in the 1930s by Mexican social realist painter David Alfaro Siqueiros. He discovered that different colors of diluted paint would spread, coalesce, and infiltrate one another depending on the density of the paint. He called it ‘accidental painting’.

Ghostbusters -12X12 canvas

Pour Painting has recently become a popular craft for people who like to  experiment with color and unorthodox techniques. It would be realistic to expect a work of art to hang on your wall the first time you try it! Unless…

you are, like me, shall we say ‘unlucky’, in which case it is a good thing that pour paints are quite content with being stacked, layer upon layer, two or three times… before the final product is declared a reasonable ‘first’ attempt.

We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents.
― Bob Ross, creator and host of The Joy of Painting’ –

I call my first painting “Ghostbusters”. I think you can clearly see how the nuclear-powered zappers have affected the ghosts. This painting is suitable for display in any room with a ‘disgusting stuff containment unit’ – like our bathroom.

Third Time Lucky – 12X12 canvas

My second painting is called ‘Third Time Lucky’ because there are two unsuccessful layers of paint under the lucky layer. I see microbial creatures swimming around in murky water – maybe this should hang over my washing machine.

As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance.
– Calvin – cartoon character, Calvin and Hobbes –

Mucking about with paint (other than the kind I put on a wall) is a new experience for me. I’m really enjoying it, but it is a messy craft, so the next step in my artistic progression was to carve out a place to practice it. The Car Guy offered me one small work table in his garage, but there were more drawbacks than advantages to that location. I moved it all into my craft room. I protected the work services and floor with multiple yards of heavy plastic. Then I opened a couple windows and used a fan to ensure good ventilation.

My next two paintings were on round pieces of wood. They will probably be made into clocks. I call the smaller one, on the right, ‘Under a Microscope’. The larger one on the left is ‘Full Moon’. (I had mixed up too much paint for ‘Full Moon’ so used it up on ‘Under a Microscope’.)

River Delta – 4X4 canvas

What happened when a ship carrying red paint collided with a ship carrying blue paint?
Both crews were marooned.
– Author Unknown –

Another leftover paint project is two small canvas panels that I call ‘River Delta’. The paint was excess from my Rocky Sunflower project.

Letters M, W

My last project while still in Arizona is on wood – my initials.

Have you tried acrylic pour painting?

16 thoughts on “Acrylic Pouring- Accidental Painting

  1. We tried this as a family group last summer and also with some of our neighbours at the cabin. It was interesting how different they were from one another. I think 2 of the best were done by our 2 sons. Not expected. One did his pour in Oiler colours. I really like the rocks you did so I am thinking we need to do a pour again this summer and get some colour into my rock garden! It was a very messy project but we had a lot of fun doing it.


  2. I especially enjoyed your paintings. Yours turned out really well. My father used the accidental pour method in his painting hobby although I never heard those terms until today. I just thought he was a Jackson Pollock imitator. I can’t paint a lick, so I never fully understood why he was fascinated with this style since he could paint portraits when he wanted to. Nonetheless my walls are filled with his paintings (the price was right). And since he had a studio in his house, I actually got to try my hand it (harder than you and he made it look). He would keep a dozen in production at a time and have us all vote on them, keep a couple, and paint over the others. I always asked him how this could be art if he was implementing assembly line techniques he learned working for General Motors!


    1. Thank you for your kind words. I wonder if there is an ‘artist gene’. If there is, I don’t have it either – but I have the ‘craftsman’ gene.

      The appeal of pour painting for me is the unpredictable results that are somewhat divorced from my abilities. That is liberating for me because most of what I do in life is quite controlled and predictable.

      Assembly line techniques – yes, I see how that applies because it is that part of it that I’m trying to learn right now. My first attempts were with a kit of pre-diluted paints, prepared canvas, color suggestions and one technique. Now I’m working with ‘recipes’ to prepare paints and other things that can be poured on (like old CD’s); understanding color theory, etc, etc. And after doing all those things in the right order and following ‘best practices’ – the results are still just happy accidents.

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  3. I love the colors in the second painting, Margy. Very “ocean”. I just caught Ghostbusters the other night on satellite TV (the original); hadn’t seen it in decades. The movie holds up well, anchored by great one-liners from Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd. Sigourney Weaver in her prime didn’t hurt either 🙂


    1. I’ll have to watch Ghostbusters again! Decades make it sound like such a long time ago. Then I did the math – the movie came out in 1984 – almost 40 years ago! Yikes!


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