Painting like Jackson Pollock: A Boy let loose

Kids Get Arty is a link-up that is happening over at Red Ted Art. I just LOVE this idea! Basically it is a link up of posts with the purpose to teach children about the great masters of art in an experiential way. I chose to participate because I really want my son to be exposed to the arts as much as possible. I grew up outside of New York city so I was lucky in that way — traveling into the city for a visit to the art museums was not uncommon. My son and I, now, however reside in a relatively small town in Oregon, without the same level of opportunities. So, I feel responsible, in part, to educate him when I can on such matters.

This Jackson Pollock original is entitled "Number 8"

I chose the artist Jackson Pollock for this activity. Jackson Pollock was a controversial painter, who pioneered the "abstract expressionist" movement with his free flowing "drip" paintings, that were to him about expression of feeling. Words I would attribute to his paintings are: raw, spontaneous, expressive, emotional, fervent, messy yet unified. He moved quickly while painting, hence the term "action" painting being attributed to his style. He integrated objects from his environment to use as a means of applying paint, so not only did he use a brush he might also use a stick, syringe, nail or whatever struck him as needed in the moment. Instead of using a easel, he set cloth down on the ground and painted it from above.

This kind of painting naturally lends itself to an open-ended, fun, even wild activity to do with a child. Kids are so used to others trying to put limitations on their creative expression. How refreshing it would feel to my son to be told that it is OK to make a mess, to go wild with paint, and to use whatever he might have on hand that would be useful to aid his expression! This choice seemed perfect to me!

Before diving in, we looked at examples of Jackson Pollock paintings, like "Number 8" above. We also viewed this short video clip on You Tube where Pollock himself is talking about his process of painting. View it here.

 After my introduction of Pollock to my son, we were ready to get down and messy! I laid a big sheet of paper on the grass (with masonite as a backboard), filled some containers & squirt bottles with (watered-down) tempera paint.
I set out some paintbrushes. We also gathered sticks, string, stones, and nails just in case we felt inspired! And then both of us — mom and son team — had at it!
Pouring, splattering, dripping, squirting, scraping, dragging the stick, and whatever the moment dictated to us.

Not only was a good time had by both of us — the result was pleasing as well. It took A LOT of paint for this project! It also took a long time to dry, and when it did, I was slightly bummed out that the colors dulled significantly. I think next time we will have to upgrade our materials to real fabric, and housepaint! I want the quality to last, as I can see hanging a piece like this is one of our main rooms!

Thanks for coming by and checking this out. Please be sure to hop over to Red Ted Art for Kids Get Arty to get more ideas! Also remember to "like" me on my Facebook Page if you want to stay informed of more kid activity ideas I post or find around the blogosphere! Have a wonderful day.

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  1. Looks great! I also like your idea to do it on fabric or a canvas next time to make it a long-standing keepsake. You guys did a great job. We had our own Pollack fun earlier in the year : )

  2. What a fun activity. We have this on our summer bucket list too =-) Thanks for linking up at TGIF!
    Beth =-)

  3. Gorgeous gorgeous! Simply the best summer art activity going. Love it! Looks like you guys had lots of fun with it!

    Thank you so much for joining us on our Kids Get Arty journey!


  4. This is wonderful! I love the free expression and the BIG artwork! I'm featuring it on my PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!

  5. Great project, Carolyn! I think I'll do this one with my kids so I can join in on the fun! thank so much for sharing on Craft Schooling Sunday!

  6. i can't wait until it cools down outside so we can go out and do this in the yard! pinned to my famous artist board! thanks for sharing at tip-toe thru tuesday!

  7. Oh, how fun!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!

  8. The painting looks great! I'll bet someone had fun making the painting! Thank you for linking up at Saturday Show and Tell. I hope you'll be back again this week with some more great ideas.

  9. love the final result - this would totally have been display worthy, sorry the colors faded. The colors really pop in your photos. You should do this on a canvas so you can hang it up!

    Thanks for sharing on the Sunday Showcase - pinned this to share on our board.

  10. What a beautiful work of art. Thanks so much for sharing with Tuesday Tots!


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