To Pour or Not to Pour

Hi Friends,

For the past several months I’ve been experimenting with different painting techniques, and I’ve become fascinated with silicone lubricant enhanced pours. Silicone lubricant is added to acrylic or latex paint to create “cells” — circles of contrasting color that rise to the surface creating a cellular effect.

It’s an unpredictable technique and difficult to master, especially for larger paintings. But I’m enjoying playing around with it and seeing what it can do.

I thought I’d show you some of my recent experiments. These may end up as jumping off points for other paintings.

This first piece shows what happens when the paint is too thick. There are some interesting poured shapes, but very few cells.

Cassandra Tondro poured painting

18 x 18 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

This red and green painting has lots of cells, but the pour pattern is busy, and the colors are muddy.

Cassandra Tondro poured painting

24 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

I like this painting. The variety of cells is interesting, and the color blending looks good.

Cassandra Tondro poured painting

24 x 12 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

There’s not a lot of contrast in this last piece, but it’s interesting. It’s subtle with a quiet, meditative feel.

Cassandra Tondro poured painting

18 x 18 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

I’m working on figuring out what to do with this technique and how to make it my own. Are these backgrounds for other paintings? Do they need more contrast, brighter colors, a combination of bright and muted colors? Can I control the pouring process, or is there a better way to pour? Do I want them to be bold or quiet? Many decisions, and the answers only come with time and a lot of trial-and-error.

Where’s the leading edge in your life, and what are you experimenting with? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

If you’d like to try this technique yourself, I’m using latex house paint thinned with a little water, and a few drops of silicone treadmill lubricant added to each color. The colors are then layered in a bucket, and the entire thing is poured onto the canvas at once. The canvas is tilted in different directions to get the paint to cover the entire surface, and I use a heat gun to pop bubbles and bring out the cells.

With love and appreciation,



  1. The strongest of the four pieces is the 24×12. I also would look more interesting if the orange flow had continued passed the midsection of the canvas. Or even as a diagonal shape to the end.

Leave a Reply