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Splash & Splatter

Invite students to experiment with Action Painting like the famous artist Jackson Pollock.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Jackson Pollock is known for his revolutionary method of painting. Pollock's work from the 1940's are described as field paintings because they had no obvious subject. He immersed himself in his work by stretching his canvas on the floor and approaching it from all angles with drips, splashes, and strokes using sticks and other unusual instruments. This method is termed "Action Painting." Provide students with opportunities investigate Pollock's life and career, as well as to view Pollock's work and capture its feel.
    2. Invite students to try working in the manner of Jackson Pollock. Place white papers in the bottom of a large open box. Put the box on the floor.
    3. Pollock often chose subtle earth colors for his paintings. Provide students with Crayola® Washable Kid's Paint that has been mixed with a small amount of Crayola School Glue (to prevent cracking when dry) in recycled squeeze bottles. Mix a variety of browns, blacks, blues, and yellows in varying proportions, or choose your own colors. Add white for a lighter tint. Add a small amount of water so the paint flows smoothly.
    4. Demonstrate using sweeping motions, spattering and dripping paint onto a canvas (paper) for students. Allow students to practice these motions and change colors as so desired. If a certain area seems to need more paint, students can drip and spatter there. Use handles of Crayola Paint Brushes or sticks to push and pull the paint, creating an overall abstract effect. If the painting begins to look muddy, stop. Strokes and drips should remain apparent.
    5. Students carefully lift paintings out of the box, and place it on recycled newspaper. It may take some time to dry if the paint is thick.
    6. Display paintings in the classroom. Provide time at the close of the activity for students to discuss how their movements created unusual, creative aspects to their paintings.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Jackson Pollock (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) by Mike Venezia; Action Jackson by Jan Greenberg; Jackson Pollock (Artists in Their Time) by Clare Oliver; Jackson Pollock (Life and Work Of...) by Leonie Bennett

    Organize a class trip to a local art museum. Ask students to carefully examine various types of paintings, including those of Jackson Pollock. Compare and contrast the work of other artists to that of Pollock.

    In 1947, Jackson Pollock said, "On the floor I am more at east, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the sides and be literally 'in' the painting." Students consider the quote and describe how they felt when they were "inside" their Pollock-like paintings.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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