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Dirty Pour Painting – An Acrylic Pour Painting Technique

Paint pouring is a new acrylic painting technique that has been taking over the abstract art world for several years.  The look is similar to marbled paper that I wrote about yesterday. Basically, paint pouring uses acrylic paint poured onto a canvas or another substrate.  This method of paint pouring is currently influencing and inspiring my new patterns and artwork, especially the dirty pour painting style. So, I wanted to share some of the inspirational artwork I’ve been looking at lately!

What is Paint Pouring?

Paint pouring is done by mixing acrylic paint with some kind of pouring medium. The pouring medium allows the acrylic paint to become more fluid, flow better, and increases the drying time.  First, the artist mixes the pouring medium and acrylic paint together.  Next, the artist pours this acrylic paint onto a canvas.  It creates a look a bit like marbling.  There are a number of techniques that can be used for creating different looks with paint pouring. Some of these techniques are dirty pours, puddle pours, swiping, and dipping paper into the excess paint from the pour painting.

Inspiring Dirty Pour Painting, Fluid Artwork, and Marbled Paper

I’ve been really inspired by the various techniques and looks of paint pouring lately.  I’ve compiled a short list of current favorites that have been inspiring my new artwork.

You can check out my Pinterest board below:

How do you do a Dirty Pour Painting?

One of the acrylic pouring techniques that I have found very inspiring is called a “dirty pour.”  The basics of this technique involve mixing multiple colors into one cup or container. Then, this “dirty” cup is poured onto the canvas.  In order to prevent muddy colors, these colors are layered into the pouring cup.  An acrylic pour painting that uses the “dirty pour” technique is called a dirty pour painting.  Below, I’ve highlighted 5 videos on YouTube and blog articles that showcase this acrylic pouring technique that I thought were really cool.

1 – Caren Goodrich – Acrylic Pour Painting: Feather Pattern Technique On Dirty Pour

I really enjoyed this video.  She combines a dirty pour with simply pouring of additional acrylic paint onto the canvas.  Plus, I really loved the feather pattern technique that she explains how to do.  Additionally, the feather pattern creates a really unique look to this dirty pour painting.

2 – Nicky James Burch – HUGE CELLS with Acrylic Pouring Dirty Flip Cups and Negative Space Demonstration

In this video, Nicky uses two dirty pour cups to create a negative space pour painting.  One of the ways that she helps the paint move is by pouring white paint all around the dirty pour cups that she has flipped onto the canvas. The white paint also helps to create the negative space in the painting.  Additionally, the white paint helps the dirty pours to flow across the canvas easier.  This was a really fun video to watch, and it made me excited to try out some negative space artwork as well!

3 – DeliberatelyCreative – Dirty Pour – Flip Cup Experiment – Cheap Paint and Water WOW!

Another artist I really enjoy is DeliberatelyCreative.  She is always experimenting, testing products, and ideas to see what works and what does not.  Additionally, she almost always will provide her paint “recipe” or the mix of pouring medium, paint, and anything else added to the paint for her videos. These recipes are really helpful for new artists exploring the acrylic pouring art form.  Other videos that I have watched often have their own tried and true paint recipe but they do not always share this information.  These recipes vary greatly depending on the kind of paint (craft, student grade, or professional grade) and the kind of pouring medium used.  So I really give her props for doing so many experiments with items that people can usually find at home or acquire without having to invest a ton into experimenting with acrylic pouring!

In this video, she is testing out cheap craft paint that she added water to, without any additional pouring medium. Generally, you should not add much water (if any) to acrylic paint as it can break the formula that binds the pigment/color and the other ingredients that make up acrylic paint.  DeliberatelyCreative creates two 6″ x 6 ” dirty pour paintings using this method in this video.  Additionally, she shows the final dry paintings at the end of the video.  This is important since acrylic pouring paintings continue to morph and change throughout the drying process.  Sometimes, a painting that you loved after pouring will completely change during the drying process so it’s really nice to see what her final paintings look like!

4 – – Using Leftover Paint to do a Dirty Pour

Another fabulous resource for learning about acrylic pouring is  This website has numerous tutorials and explains the various techniques quite well.  Additionally, this article is an excellent way to learn more about the process of doing dirty pours. This article also explains the benefits of dirty pours for using up leftover paint from your previous pour paintings. is another great place for figuring out your paint mixture recipes since she often lists what kinds of paint she used on the project, the mixing ratio, and any additives like silicone.  In this article, she creates an amazing dirty pour painting just from her leftover paint!

5 – Nicky James Burch – Fluid Art OPTICAL ILLUSIONs with a DIRTY SWIRL POUR Technique Acrylic Pouring

In this video, Nicky uses a dirty pour to create a swirl acrylic painting that has a bit of an optical illusion.  She achieves this look because of the way she jiggles her hand slightly as she pours the dirty pour cup onto the canvas.  Additionally, she continues to extend the swirling design by the circular motions in which she moves the canvas as she stretches the design.  I loved how bright the colors are in this painting, and the swirl technique is very interesting as well!  This painting technique really reminds me of geodes and sliced agates.

Paint pouring is a really interesting art form that is very popular and trendy right now. It’s really easy to attempt on your own. I find the dirty pour painting style is extremely inspiring as I work on new patterns for the shop. Let me know what you think about this art form in the comments below.  I would love to hear from you!