Drifting Into The Abstract

Jackson Pollock’s explosion of drips filled his canvasses with energy and passion, and while the paint appeared to be applied randomly, he usually had a very clear idea of what he was looking for. This American artist was born in 1912, and died at the young age of 44. Today would have been his birthday.

During his “drip” phase, Pollock dispensed with traditional tools like easels and brushes, preferring instead to place his unstretched canvas on the floor or wall where he could fully engage in applying paint from any direction. His unique style of pouring, flinging and splattering paint with tools such as sticks and basting syringes, earned him the nickname “Jack The Dripper.” His body of work was considered part of the Abstract Expressionist movement, and is currently part of an exhibition at MoMA called Abstract Expressionist New York, on until April 25, 2011. It will then move on to Toronto’s AGO from May 28 to September 4th.

For obvious reasons, children love to explore this technique of getting paint on canvas, so  let’s celebrate Pollock’s work and splatter some canvasses of our own.

Number 1A by Jackson Pollock, 1948. Image: http://www.moma.org/visit/calendar/exhibitions/1098


  • acrylic paint
  • paint brushes
  • 3 miniature canvasses with easels (available at dollar stores)
  • newspaper or tarp


1. Use the internet to explore more images of Jackson Pollock’s work. Decide on the colour combinations you would like to use for each canvas and mix them, making them a good consistency for splattering ie. not too thick, not too thin.

2. Applying the paint outside is best, but if working indoors, make sure you lay down plenty of newspaper or a tarp to protect the area you’re working in. Children can get seriously enthusiastic about applying the paint!

3. Paint a background colour on each canvas and allow to dry. Next, take each canvas one at a time and begin splattering and dripping paint until finished. Once they are dry, these cute mini canvasses can be displayed on their easels.

Here’s a truly fun and addictive site to play Pollock by simply clicking your heart out:


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Filed under Jackson Pollock, painting

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