Many of us return from our travels with a few mementos and trinkets tucked into the corners of our luggage. They’re great to use in holiday themed scrapbooks and travel collages, but they’re also perfect for painting like Jackson Pollock. In his 1947 oil painting, Full Fathom Five, paint is thickly layered and drizzled in classic Pollock ‘drip’ style. Put your specs on, however, and you’ll notice a variety of objects embedded in the paint including nails, buttons, coins, and even cigarette butts. It’s a very cool way to immortalize your trip and display your memories. If you happen to be in Toronto, you can view this painting at the AGO until September 4th. After that, you’ll have to head to its home in New York.

Detail from Jackson Pollock's Full Fathom Five.


  • stretched canvas or wood
  • acrylic paint
  • old house paint (optional)
  • paint brushes, palette knife, chopstick
  • white glue
  • mementos from your trip e.g. coins, entrance stubs to museums, maps, shells, etc.
1. Choose a surface which will be able to withstand the weight of thickly layered paint and embedded objects. Stretched canvas and wood are good choices. Canvas boards tend to warp if they get too wet.
2. Decide on the paint colours you would like to use, and cover the surface using paint brushes, and a palette knife for thicker applications.
3. Place some of the items you will be embedding and secure them with white glue. You can then begin layering paint on top. Continue alternating between your items and paint until finished. House paint has the perfect consistency for drizzling. Just dip a chopstick inside to collect some paint, and move it over your canvas to add a final layer. Be careful not to completely cover the items you are embedding.

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Filed under assemblage, Jackson Pollock, mixed media, painting

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