acrylic pouring technique self portrait

I love color and I love the abstractions that can occur when you let paint do its own thing.  It’s a bit like raising a child,  you guide the child/paint a little bit, but then it’s on its own.  20 years or so ago I had an idea to use paint between panes of glass, I called them “Smoosh Paintings”  I have done dozens of these pieces when the muse hits me.  Here is an example.


“Pillars of Color”


In another idea, I would paint thick layers of paint on top of one another and lightly mix them with a large brush, then I would tap the paint layers with a rag or a brush, and one time even drumsticks.  Then let the paint mix in various ways. This technique was used in the background sections of the painting “Support” below.


Support Figurative Abstract Acrylic on Canvas


I recently discovered the “Pour” technique quite by accident.  It was exciting so I started playing with it.  Different surfaces, different liquidities, different paint combinations, different additives and so on.  Some did not work, but some came out fantastic.  Below is one of the first pieces I felt was a success.  The surface is a masonite board.  I saw the Dragon immediately!


Red Dragon Abstract Pour Technique

“The Red Dragon” Acrylic Pour


The next piece was also done on a masonite board.  I am happier with the results on masonite then on canvas for some reason.  Basically this was done for my wife who was redecorating the bathroom in blue/aquas.  This piece has energy, movement, flow.  It is a wave, a tsunami crashing into the shore.


“The Wave”


This next piece is one of the few canvas pour paintings that I am happy with the result.  I should have been keeping a notebook that described the various methods I tried and the results it achieved, but I didn’t. Not sure if I used alcohol or silicon as the additive on this one.  I think I pretty much covered the canvas in red then poured on top of the red.  I hung it in the house vertically and every time I look at it I see something new.


In Studio (the paint is still doing it’s thing)


The end result once the paint has dried


After completing a number of “pours” I started to wonder how to take the technique to different places?  How to make it more “my own”.  A number of people play with the pour technique, but how could I distinguish mine from the next person?  This piece pointed one way.  The result was cool, I liked it, .  But I kept seeing “Underwater”.

Underwater Acrylic Pour

the painting is beautiful as is, but I keep thinking it should have something more

As I looked at it, I started imagining mermaids frolicking beneath the waves, and made the decision to add one or two into the picture.  I could have easily framed it without any additions and probably sold without much effort, but once I had the idea I couldn’t let it go.  I struggled with how to paint them.  Realistically or keep within the abstraction of the background?  I have recently been playing with the Chinese brush painting technique (painted a couple of bamboo experiments) and thought I would give that a whirl.  That technique is very unforgiving, you only get one shot at a line.  If you screw it up….


Mermaids added with Chinese Brush Painting Technique

The end result is above.  I have a number of other poured canvases that are likely to become “backgrounds”.   “Completing” an abstract background is exactly what I do with my gemstone paintings.


After watching an artist on YouTube that used old vinyl LPs as his painting surface, I found some old beat up albums in the garage and tried the technique.  I loved the results but wondered what to do with them that would complete an interesting artwork?  I decided to experiment with the mounting and framing of the paintings and pairing them in unique ways.


Painted Vinyl on Black Canvas

“Gas Giant Mitosis”


Collision of Suns


Diving Under the Sea


“The Vinyl Triptych”



For this piece I poured a wood panel, 3 cd ROMS and a vinyl LP then constructed them with the frame.   I keep wanting to put a little “Silver Surfer” figurine flying out from behind the large “planet”.


Cosmic Pour Painting Sculpture

“Turn Left at the Next Galaxy” Pour Painting Sculpture


My latest thought is to use the pour technique in a more controlled fashion.  For my first piece I tried a self portrait.  I think it worked out really cool (but for some reason my wife absolutely hates it.  ?  That’s what makes horse races I guess)

James Kuehne JFKPaint Self Portrait Acrylic Pour Technique

James Kuehne (JFKPaint) Self Portrait

Even though she didn’t care for mine, I had already started painting my wife at the same time.  If nothing else, the portraits are very unique.


Portrait wife pour painting acrylic

Yoly Kuehne Portrait


Portrait husband wife pour technique

James and Yoly Kuehne Portrait


I will be accepting commissions, for a limited time, for portraits utilizing this technique.