A summer fun lesson in art- Abstract Expressionism

"Kool Summer Fun #1" By the kids of Aimee @ Classified: Mom
There is so much to learn about the world of art. For the young, making art is simple to them. There are no rules, no restrictions- simply the pleasure of creation is at their fingertips. Many artists have tried to convert to the simplest, spontaneous form in their own artwork.

Abstract Expressionism is an art movement post World War II. Many great artists arose from that time, one being Jackson Pollock. What I personally love about Jackson Pollock and his "drip paintings" is that you can actually feel and see his movements within his large canvases. Pollock would to listen to music, particularity Jazz, when he created his master pieces.

Today, we will turn the music up-roll out a sheet of canvas and "dance around the canvas" as we create our own drip painting- with a twist!

Classified: Easy and as you will see in my post any age can do this. I taught this to my 3rd graders when I was an art teacher.

What you need:
  • Canvas (muslin fabric is cheap and will work just as well)
  • Canvas Stretchers 
  • Staple Gun (adults only)
  • Acrylic Paint- various colors
  • Paint brushes
  • Tubs for paint
  • Water
  • Optional: Kool Aid (a variety of colors)
  • A spray bottle
  • Acrylic Sealer

What to do:
1. Spread your canvas (muslin) on the floor. I would suggest going outside- it is going to get messy!

2. Please note: for this lesson we used Kool Aid. You do not need to do this and may just use paint.
For a little preschool (and younger) twist, we took packets of Kool Aid (different colors) and sprinkled them onto the canvas. To our surprise, it looked as though nothing was there! My children were very amazed at what they saw when they began to spray the canvas with a water bottle (and then the garden hose)! Note: Do not do this on a windy day!

4. We then discussed what Abstract Expressionism was, and because they are very young (5 and under) I laughed immensely as they tried to pronounce it. I kept it short, just discussing what it was and how Jackson Pollock listened to music and danced with paint (action painting at it's finest!). We then turned the radio up and went to "work."

5. *** Note: For best results mix the acrylic paint with water in a separate container**** Demonstrate (like you will need to) how to "dance" around the canvas and paint. Get into the music and have fun! Allow them to enjoy the painting- there is no right way to paint this!
6. Allow to dry.

7.  Adults: Once dry, put together the desired canvas stretchers and stretch and staple the canvas. If you worked with Kool Aid and are afraid of fruit flies (as I was), put a couple coats of acrylic sealer over the finished product.

My 1 year old had fun!

Useful Links on American Expressionism:

Linking to these educational parties


  1. The painting turned out beautifully! My kids have been taking homeschool art classes at our local cultural arts center, and their teacher is wonderful at teaching them about different artists and techniques. Jackson Pollock is one of their favorites, and I have three paintings they did in his style hanging framed in my living room. I get so many comments on them when people visit, and I always proudly boast on the kids!

  2. Thank you! That's great that you enroll your children into art school. I have artwork all over my house, my favorite pieces are from my children!

  3. such messy fun Aimee!!! LOVE it!!! I like the kool-aid twist for the younger set - the smell, texture & sudden appearance of color must have been so fun for them. I need to try something like this - I am a bit of afraid of acrylic paint on a large scale like this plus being dripped/thrown around - Yikes, not sure I am brave enough! haha!

  4. I love their painting. I would never have realized it was kool aid.

  5. Ooh what a lovely afternoon - all round beautiful artwork and look like you had lots of fun too!

    Thanks, as always, for linking up at Kids Get Crafty!!


  6. Awesome -my son loves to dance and to paint. Why didn't I think have him combine it? Perfect activity for him! Thanks

  7. Thanks --we completed two projects from your post. One using Kool-Aid and the other focusing on an abstract expressionism lesson.



    Thank you for the ideas!


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Aimee ~Classified: Mom

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