Friday, September 28, 2012

Action Painting: Turquoise Spots

Look at my darling art students, out in the field behind our school, dribbling, flicking and splattering paint to beat the band. See how carefully they work? Some bend low to control the placement of their drips, others take aim and let it fly. Check out their thoughtful color combinations, deliberate use of every inch of their oversize papers, and beautiful layers of dribbles, dots and splots. These young artists take their work quite seriously, and it is my joy to create with them.

If you've never tried your hand at this style of painting, you owe yourself some fun. Squirt a few tablespoons of tempera paint into a cup, add about the same amount of water, and use a paint brush to stir it up. Then grab a piece of paper - the bigger, the better - and march yourself outside. Load your brush with plenty of paint, and then flick it towards your paper. Much of the fun of this technique comes from experimenting; try tapping, shaking, flicking your brush with a little paint or a lot, and check out the wide range of effects you can create.  

Jackson Pollock built a legendary career on this unorthodox style of action painting. His rise to fame came when he started laying his giant canvases down on the floor and walking around them, flinging on the paint from all four sides. 

Number 18, 1950
Number 14: Gray

Despite the fact that Pollock's life was cut tragically short by an alcohol-related auto accident, his legacy lives on. Not only do young students like mine dabble in his methods, but it seems that DIY bloggers practice his technique as well. I found this post in my blog feed just a few hours after making these paintings with my students; I was still covered in these turquoise spots while I read it!

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