A summer fun lesson in art- Abstract Expressionism

A summer fun lesson in art- Abstract Expressionism

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.

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Abstract Expressionism is an art movement post in 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 listen to music, particularity Jazz when he created his masterpieces.

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
  • Paintbrushes
  • 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.”

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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 of coats of acrylic sealer over the finished product.

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