In the Style of Jackson Pollock

Article excerpt

Inspired by Discovering Great Artists: Hands-On Art for Children in the Styles of the Great Masters (Bright Ring Publishing, 1997), I decided to introduce the children to the work of Jackson Pollock. I first read the story Action Jackson (Roaring Brook Press, 2002).

My goal in creating this project for the children, who are 3- and 4-year-old preschoolers, was three-fold: I wanted them to become acquainted with famous artists' names and their styles, to experience painting with nontraditional tools, and for the project to be affirming of their creativity.

In preparation for the project, I thickened a variety of colors of tempera paint with flour and salt, and put the mixture into 4-oz. plastic squeeze bottles.

Although Pollock painted with his canvases on the floor, I decided to forego this technique in favor of having the children stand at the paper-covered table to "squirt paint." I really wanted to contain the paint to the 4.5" x 15" paper, and in the hands of these young "action artists," I wasn't at all sure that this would happen. Happily, it did!

The children put on their painting shirts and I demonstrated how they were to proceed to paint. "Squirt and swirl the paint," were my instructions. "Be mindful of your neighbor."

Squirt, squirt, plop, plop--what fun! Arms moving back and forth this way and that way. I then gave them twigs, gathered earlier from the yard, and encouraged them to continue to move the thickened paint around their paper. …