Choosing a pouring medium for your fluid art painting is the single most important decision you can make for the overall composition and final product. The role of a pouring medium is to separate the paint molecules, without breaking down the binders that hold the paint together. By separating the paint molecules, you increase the drying time and end up with a more fluid paint product. When it works as it should, the paint colors should remain vibrant, the paint should dry smooth and level, and the paint should remain permanently adhered to the canvas.

I have tried many different paint pouring mediums, but this was the first time I worked with Artist's Loft Pouring Medium. Artist's Loft is the store brand from Michael's craft stores. As Michael's was recently having a sale on all of their Artist's Loft products, I took the plunge and grabbed a couple of bottles, which are regularly priced at $39.99 each.

For most of my own paint pouring creations, I prefer a consistency that is similar to melted ice cream- creamy with a bit of thickness. When the paints are thick enough to hold a stir stick upright in my paint cup for a second, I know that they are not going to blend together too easily. With this type of consistency, I know that color bands will stay separate and if any structures are created in the composition, they won't just bleed away into the surrounding paint.

I mixed my Artist's Loft tube, acrylic paint, with the Artist's Loft Pouring Medium at a 1:4 ratio. I didn't spend time weighing or closely measuring, I just eyed it and then mixed until I had that melted ice cream feel. One of the first things I noticed, was how easily the paint mixed into the medium. I had hoped that being from the same manufacturer would help in their combination and I was not disappointed. I also noticed that I didn't have as many air bubbles as I have had with some of the other professional pouring mediums. Very quickly, I had smooth and creamy paints ready to pour.

I layered my cup with different shades of blue, white, and a touch of gold and yellow. With this pouring medium, the colors stayed in their own separate layers and it was only after letting the cup rest for a few minutes that I saw any of the colors bleeding into each other. I did not need to adjust the consistency at all with any other additives or water. It did not have a strong odor and it was very easy to pour on the canvas.

I chose to do a modified ring pour for this composition. I loved how the colors played off of each other in the rings. Each layer maintained its color and where it did mix, there were lovely new shades. I was especially pleased with how the metallic gold really popped.

When I stretched the paint, I realized that I didn't need to use a full cup. It flowed beautifully and the more I stretched it, the more bits of interesting parts I found. It clung to the canvas, self-leveled and was thick enough to manipulate.

When it dried, I was very pleased with the glossy sheen. There were no "brush-strokes" so to speak. It feels smooth, as though it already has a coat of varnish on it. The colors are so vibrant and there is almost a 3D effect where the metallic colors pop up. All in all, I am very pleased and pleasantly surprised. I think I will be using this pouring medium in many more of my projects.