On June 19, 2021, I taught my first class in Acrylic Pour Painting at Ace Maker Space in Oakland. I've taught woodworking classes there for a few years (but not during the pandemic). It's a great, community-oriented organization that has lots of different kinds of classes and workshops. This first pour painting class was held in their metal shop which was empty during the class. We had plenty of room. Ace provided some large steel shelves, about 6' wide and about 2' tall and deep as a drying area, as well as a big table and chairs for the event.

There was room for six participants although one didn't show up. I was prepared to store and dry 28 paintings (because I was also making four), but we ended up only needing space for 24. To store the paintings while they dried I made stacking trays (see below). People also painted in the trays and just carried them over to the big shelf and stacked them.

The Ace Intro to Pour Painting Class

I covered mixing paint, but we didn't mix any paint in the class. There wasn't time, and besides: it's really boring. We chatted about things like palette knives, silicon oil, and some safety concerns such as the toxicity of paint and how it accumulates in drains, and then we dove into painting.

We made four kinds of pour paintings:
  • Dirty Pour
  • Dutch Pour
  • Filled Zone Swipe
  • Flip Cup Pour

After the first class I put together a page in the Ace Maker Space wiki with content from the intro course. If you already have all the materials you need, you can explore this page to learn more about pour painting.

Ace Maker Space Intro to Pour Painting Wiki Page

There is one more "Intro to Pour Painting" class scheduled for July 11th. After that I imagine there will be more of the Intro classes and I have also prepared content for an advanced class. But, those classes are not yet scheduled.

Here is the Ace Maker Space Calendar where all my Ace Pour Painting classes will be listed as they are scheduled.

Advanced Pour Painting Class

I haven't yet offered this class but I hope to do so at Ace Maker Space in the months to come. The content for this class is intended to build on what was covered in the intro class. It covers topics like color blending, palette knife techniques, salvaging paint and canvases, and four additional pour painting techniques:

  • Kiss Pour
  • Clean Pour
  • Palette Knife with Salvaged Paint
  • Skins

I put together a page in the Ace Maker Space wiki with content for the advanced course. If you already have all the materials you need, you can explore this page to learn even more about pour painting.

Ace Maker Space Advanced Pour Painting Wiki Page

Here is the Ace Maker Space Calendar where all my Ace Pour Painting classes will be listed as they are scheduled.


I made trays using door skins and inexpensive cedar fence boards (and some redwood fence board scraps):

Painting Trays

Click to see entire image.

The trays worked both for working on paintings and also for drying. They stack on top of each other with good airflow between them. Yet they protect against dripping onto paintings. Our paintings were all on pushpins so even if paint dripped onto a tray below the worst it could do is get paint on the pushpins.

The trays nest in pairs so they pack twice as tightly as they stack when drying.

The trays all have a hole in each side so I can put a dowel all the way through. I put one through the nested pair on top and one through the nested pair on the bottom. Then I can pull the two dowels together with a cord and carry the bundle as if it were a box. It prevents them from falling apart while being transported.

When stacked for drying it's important to keep them aligned. The shelves we used had a steel bar on the sides. The first stack was against this bar to help keep the trays aligned. The next stack was against the first stack. We worked across the shelf until we had four stacks.

People put their names on blue painter's tape with a sharpie, and attached the tape to their tray before they stacked it.

Looking Forward

I'm looking forward to teaching more classes on pour painting and offering other kinds of pour painting experiences for people.

I would like to continue to offer classes through Ace Maker Space, but so far the classes were only a pilot and it is only half-way through that pilot. If there is a demand for the classes I don't see why they wouldn't continue.

But not everyone who wants a pour painting experience is willing to have that in Ace's workshops in Oakland. I think there is a market for having this kind of experience at someone's home, at an office or even as an activity booth in a larger event. It could be really fun at a birthday party as long as the kids can be trusted with permanent paint at your house.

Acrylic pour painting is a perfect example of finding beauty in chaos. It gently shows how the unexpected is not always bad. It gently shows how increasing control doesn't necessarily lead to better results.

You can't do this wrong and you can't do this right.

Underlying all the pour painting experiences is the idea that since you can just have fun painting: there isn't a right way to do it, nor a wrong way. People love to get into a creative zone and just make art. All the painting experiences support people getting into the flow in an accepting and kind atmosphere.

Making art together is a wonderful experience that brings people together. You can take your art home with you when it's dry in a couple days as a ready reminder that there can be beauty in chaos and you can affect but not control the outcome.