Cannonballs of Color

Ever been in a pool when someone, usually a kid, does a cannonball?  No matter where you are in the pool you can feel the waves that were a result of that cannonball.  That’s how fluids work, either water in a pool or paint on your canvas.

The more churn there is, the more the colors are mixing. What causes churn?  Cannonballing.  When the paint goes in with enough force to break the surface of the layer of paint on the top, it is sinking down and creating the churn.

  • large amounts of paint suddenly – happens to me easily when adding paint from the Ball jars.  To avoid that, I will put it into the smaller cups if I want to avoid cannon balling the paint.
  • heavy paint- some colors weigh more than others. White paint is usually very heavy and yellow tends to be lighter. It varies by brand and color, but you’ll notice over time, that some colors sink more easily than others.
  • syrup paint mixtures cannon ball more easily than molasses mixtures- if you’re using a more fluid pouring and paint mixture, it will cannon ball with less force than a molasses mixture would.

The cannon ball factor is you have more success using only the 3 primary colors when layering paint in a cup.  Adding in the greens, oranges, and purples goes darker/muddier very quickly.

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Video Password:  Every video in the workshop requires a password, it is the same password for every video and it is listed directly under the video so you don’t have to remember a thing. You can copy and paste it, and be sure that there are no blank spaces.  The computer elves are very particular about that.

Video Password:PPFUN

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Now it’s your turn to play. Grab your paint and pouring medium and play with cannonballs of color! Try layering the color in the cup gently, like putting your toes in the water and do one where you cannon ball it.  See which one makes you happiest.

Questions? Leave a comment here on the lessons page or in our Facebook group.  Not a member of the group yet? Go here to see how to join.

Supplies Used (and as always substitute with what you have on hand or prefer to use)

Pouring mediums: Floetrol and Liquitex


The cup on the left is with a thicker mixture and the top layer is solid.  Even when I tried to make it cannon ball, it really didn’t for 2 main reasons.  I was using a thick honey/almost molasses mixture and I was pouring in smaller amounts from the cup.

For the cup on the right, I used a more syrup pouring mixture created with Liquitex Pouring medium and poured it from the jars.  I couldn’t stop the cannon balling.

I can tell when there is churn if the layers don’t stay solid. Notice the difference between the two top layers. One has lots of churn, the other mot as much.

When poured, the cannon balled cup produced more muted colors, more heading to mud colors like the olive greens and dusty oranges. The cup with less cannon balling or churn, the colors were much closer to the actual ones added to the cup.

Why is the pattern so different for each of these? That has todo with how fast it is spreading.

Don’t get attached to a pour until it starts to set up, because the more of a syrup consistency, the more the colors will move as it dries. The mixture below was syrup – so the color moved more.

  This mixture was more honey so it moved less.

Here they are completely dry. As they finished drying, they continued to move around.  In upcoming lessons, you’ll see more about why this happens and what you can do to slow it from happening.


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