If you like watching paint dry then this latest internet obsession might be for you. Or rather, it’s the stage just before the paint dries, the intuitive, alchemic action of mixing up a paint colour that is getting Instagrammers all stirred up. Under the hashtag #paintmixing people are posting images and short films of themselves mixing up colours from other paints for the delight and delectation of others online. Here at The Chromologist we can certainly understand how mysterious and even moving the coming together of different shades to form something new can be. But this is the first time we’ve seen the action being celebrated as a creative art in itself.
Under the #paintmixing hashtag Instagrammer PaintVideos has been collecting and curating a feed of online paint videos that has attracted 40k followers, and quite a lot of (often heated) comments. Although there are a few films of industrial paint mixing processes, the majority are by artists mixing colours for their own work – or just for the pleasure of playing with paint.
The comments attached to the films show that for many people there is something soothing about seeing the paint being mixed with a palette knife, including the cutting and tapping noises that it produces. For others it is the ‘magic’ of seeing delicate, pretty pastels produced gradually from unpromising blobs of red, blue and black. Another running theme on the videos is… don’t waste the paint! Yes, you guessed it, there’s a hashtag for that as well.
One star of the new scene is Instagrammer @litraturechild, whose simple paint mixing videos of mauves and pinks have attracted hundreds of thousands of likes. She’s also posted film of the subtly graded colours being added to a master grid of shades. Or for a more muscular take check out Vancouver artist Annette Labedzki whose films are a by-product of her day job. Great news as of course it means that there is definitely #NoPaintWasted…