Program: Artsy Fartsy

I love summer. I had an all-time high of 14 kids at my art program! And they came to the right month. We covered one of my favorite American artists, Jackson Pollock.

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My program followed a similar structure to my past programs. We talked about the artist (and I read Action Jackson), looked at some of his work, and talked about his techniques. Our art terms for the day were “drip painting,” the style of art Jackson Pollock used most often, and “abstract impressionism,” the art movement he was a part of.

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After our talk, we got to work on a small-scale abstract piece. This was not technically drip painting, but it creates a similar effect. We used pieces of yarn and clothespins to drag paint over our pictures. It was a simple set-up and very fast to do, which was great since we needed to move onto the main portion of the day…

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Table set-up and finished product.

After twenty minutes of reading, talking, and painting, we headed outside. In the parking lot I’d duct taped garbage bags to the ground and then taped a flat white sheet to the garbage bags. Although Pollock probably skipped the garbage bags, this was pretty much how we worked: with a blank white canvas spread flat on the ground. He stood over it and threw or dripped his paint with a variety of utensils.

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We used: paintbrushes of all sizes, rulers, toothbrushes, yarn, sponges, and our hands.

It was relatively organized chaos as we all made a huge mess together. We had some rules (paint on the sheet, not people being the biggest), but I encouraged them to try new things the way Pollock had and they did not disappoint. They mixed colors, added lots of water or very little water (this created a lot of variation in the texture) and experimented with the different tools. The result is…

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This may be my favorite program to date. I loved sharing an artist I enjoy so much and the end result of their work is really very lovely in person. I plan on displaying it in the library just as soon as I find room to hang a full-size flat sheet.

It was the absolutely messiest thing I’ve done in (or near) the library so far, but it was well worth it! Everyone had a great time and I couldn’t be more impressed with what was created yesterday.


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