Art That Makes You Smarter- Jackson Pollock

Using Art Prints in the Classroom

Jackson Pollock, Number 32, c.1950
Gloss paint on canvas, 87x118 inches

Jackson Pollock was innovative for his time because he was a painter who didn't really "paint". Instead, he spread paint onto canvases by dripping and pouring. He didn't create a central focal point in his artwork. He placed equal importance on all parts of his paintings, from the edge to the center. He was supported in this by the famous art dealer, Peggy Guggenheim. 

Questions for Students to Ponder and Explore:
What would possess a person to express themselves by dripping paint? How was this innovative for the time period? How have other artists used this technique in modern times? How could this method of painting help a person (physically, emotionally, etc.)? What are the physical aspects of this painting method? What are some other methods of painting that could be considered non-traditional? 

Arts Integration Ideas (adapt for specific grade levels as needed):
Science- Identify the muscles of the human body that would be used when dripping/pouring paint onto a large canvas. Compare and constrast these muscles to the muscles that would be used in the game of baseball or football. OR explore the concepts of force, gravity, absorption, etc. to explain why the paint splatters and spreads the way that it does.  
Math- Splatter paint onto graph paper by dripping or pouring. Measure the area and perimeter of the splatters. OR look at the splatters as if they were a road map. Thick (large) splatters are points of interest, thin splatters are the roads.  Determine distance between points of interest and write directions for how to get from one point to the next. Write word problems for a peer to solve based on this splatter paint road map. Measure and convert to different scales.  Make a scale that is suitable for walking. Walk it out on the playground with a group. OR count large, medium, and small paint splatters. Graph the data in different ways. Analyze the data. 
Language Arts- Create your own paint splatter piece. Imagine that the larger paint splatters are people. What are they doing?  List action verbs to match each. Write sentences with these verbs. (Label each larger splatter with a human name. This would be the subject of the sentence.)
Writing- Write a paragraph that tells how to get from one paint splatter to another. (Example: Exit the left most paint splatter through the largest, top right glob. Continue right for two pencil lenghts. Merge left with the thicker paint strand...). OR Use a view finder to isolate one section of your splattered piece. Pretend that it is an alien in outerspace. Describe what the alien looks like, where they live, etc. OR get students to notice detail by labeling one area of the painting A and another B. Compare both areas. Describe how the areas are alike and different (Example: Area A is slightly smaller than area B. Area B has a flatter top, left side. Area A looks like a firework, area B looks like...)
Special Needs- Let students use pipettes to spread paint. After this has dried, let students trace the edges with their fingers and then draw around the edges with a crayon or marker. Let them cut along this line. Guide them by placing your hand on top of theirs while they cut. Place your hand over theirs as they use the glue. Glue this cut out to a black sheet of paper.

Helpful Resources:
Jackson Pollock
13 Paintings Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel
Create Digital Pollock-Style Art (THIS IS GREAT! Would be an interesting early finisher center for iPad or computer.)
William Flewellen Heard- Pollock Inspired Artist- Tupelo, MS

Share your own ideas, photos, etc!!!
 Copyright 2012 Amanda Koonlaba-There's a Party in the Art Room