Slices of Life: Keep scraping the paint

It’s been a real learning curve. Continues to be, for that matter.

Jill Pertler
Jill Pertler

I’ve taken up a new hobby: painting. I don’t paint walls or houses. I keep it smaller — to canvases, coasters and such. It’s not painting like you might think. My new leisure pursuit involves no brushes or rollers.

What it lacks in brushes, this technique makes up for in paint. I literally pour it onto the canvas and let it flow. I might spin it. I might blow on it with a blow dryer or a straw, but what it comes down to is paint consistency and letting it all just flow where it may.

It’s called acrylic pour painting and it’s rather addictive. It allows you to create art without the control that art typically encompasses, although the more involved and knowledgeable I become in the process, the more I realize the lack of control is but an illusion. It is control without control, which is the epitome of art, not to mention cool.

It’s been a real learning curve. Continues to be, for that matter.

One thing I’ve come to understand is that not every piece is a masterpiece. Welcome to the world of Rembrandt and Da Vinci, not that I’d know for sure, but I suspect most artists, even the great ones, had their share of learning curves.


This happens a lot in acrylic pour painting — at least if you are me.

It was hard, at first to acknowledge that I’d painted a failure. None of us wants to create a failure. But, I could tell that I’d pushed the paint too far. Maybe the colors got muddy. Maybe they flowed where they weren’t supposed to flow. Maybe they just looked plain old meh.

Whatever the outcome, many of mine didn’t measure up to expectations.

At first, I left them to dry, hoping maybe they’d somehow improve themselves during the process. Naivety is often a gift. It keeps us going when others might look our way and roll their eyes.

After a few dried failures and my own eye rolls, I realized I was only wasting canvases, and those things aren’t free. My naivety flew out the window and was replaced by pragmatism. Creating beauty is one thing, wasting money is another.

It was then that I learned the art — and the practicality — of the scrape.

If I didn’t want to waste a canvas, I realized had to kill my own darlings (to coin a phrase from Stephen King). As much as I wanted to love my canvas creations, I knew they weren’t going to hang on anyone’s wall — not even my own. So I had to scrape them.

I had to pull the paint off and start anew.


It’s like everything in life. Some days it’s all good and other days it’s a scrape. But even on the most scrapiest of days, I’ve learned we shouldn’t give up. Even a scrape teaches us something new.

It teaches us that even though we may need a do-over, there is still something worth saving. We are still worthy of a second or third (or fourth) try. Scraping means salvaging what we can and moving forward with it. Pour your scraped paint into a cup and use it on another try on another day.

Who knows — your next pour might be a keeper. It may ever be your most beautiful one yet.

Keep pouring.

"Life can be hard. It often is hard. But you’ve made it this far. Keep pressing forward. Keep going," writes Jill Pertler.

Jill Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright and author. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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