In our art studies we’ve been looking at Paul Jackson Pollock’s work. Then we made some Jackson Pollock-style drip paintings ourselves. It’s a wonderful project for the whole family because everyone from preschool through adults can do it.
Pollock was an American painter who believed very strictly in abstract expressionist art. He believed art was about movement and more about the creating of it than the actual finished piece.
He said: “My painting does not come from the easel. I prefer to tack the unstretched canvas to the hard wall or the floor. . . On the floor I am more at ease. I feel nearer, more part of the painting, since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides, and literally be in the painting. . . I continue to get further away from the usual painter’s tools such as easel, palette, brushes, etc. I prefer sticks, trowels, knives, and dripping fluid. . . ”
Pollock Style Drip Art
Now create some art Pollock-style. First, you must work on the ground. Don’t allow your brushes to touch your paper at all while painting. Just drip blobs and bits of paint on your page. They can fall in blobs or be flicked or blown on. The action of applying the paint was as important to Pollock as the final piece.
Now, fold your sheet of paper in half and then open it again. While it’s folded, press the two halves together well enough to create a symmetrical print. Open it up and see the design you’ve created through action painting. Sometimes you’ll find that you’ve formed new colors where the previous colors have mixed together.
Here is “The Tree” by my 8 year-old:
- Identify the colors that combined to form new colors in your paintings.
- Discuss why Pollock’s work was called “action painting.”
- In 1956, “Time” Magazine dubbed Pollock “Jack the Dripper.” Why? What other nicknames can you come up with for him?
- Read “Jackson Pollock” by Mike Venezia (from the “Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists” Series). This is a great book for kids ages 4-10.
- Choose one of his paintings and write about what you would name it, what you see in the painting, and the kind of mood it puts you in.
- Sadly, Pollock was an alcoholic. This addiction led to his death when he was killed while driving drunk. Talk about the dangers of alcohol. You may want to play a game like “Dizzy Lizzy” where you put your forehead on a baseball bat that is sitting on the ground, spin around it 10 times, and then try to walk a straight line. Alcohol inhibits your ability to reason, think, and react. You are putting yourself and others at risk by choosing to drink.
- Go visit a web museum and see more of his work. (Click on the individual pieces to see them bigger and closer.)
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