Kelan has been using the easel almost every day, trying out new styles of painting, and checking out each of the custom made colors in our new spring palette. This morning he was on fire, doing painting after painting with exuberance and glee. At one point, he tried to intentionally create drips on his paper…quite a challenge when you are painting vertically.
He opted to get his brush heavy with paint, stand a couple feet back, and fling the paint at his paper. He was delighted by the results. I told Kelan that his work reminds me of the work of another artist named Jackson Pollock. He seemed pleased and proclaimed joyfully
“Jackson Pollock paints like me!”
We noticed paint splatters and drips all over the floor and walls so we quickly wiped them up so he could paint another…and another…
At our class meeting later that day I said “Something really exciting happened this morning during Explore. One of our friends discovered a new way of painting.” I placed one of Kelan’s paintings in the center of the circle amid lots of oohs and aaahs. Kelan told them about how he was painting, what results he got from painting that way, and what a mess it made. He stood up so we could all admire his paint splattered clothes.
I told the children that Kelan’s technique reminded me of another artist I know of, a famous artist named Jackson Pollock. I shared an image of one of his paintings with them.
They were awestruck. We wondered how many layers of paint must be on the painting to create that effect? 60? 245? 2,000? I offered a provocation: do you think he does his paintings on an easel? They all seemed to agree, no, he must not.
We looked at another image of Pollock working in his studio for a clue.
Kelan suggested that perhaps he puts his work on a table so he can stand over it and drip paint down on it. Another child noted the legs of the table would have to be very short. Noah sprawled his body flat across the red rug and said:
“Maybe he lays his paper flat on the ground like this.”
This was an intriguing idea for the children.
We looked at one final image. When I pulled it out they shrieked in recognition, “Yes! He DOES put it on the floor!”
The question came up, “does he walk on the paintings when he’s painting them?” Kelan guessed that he must jump across the paint to the other side. We looked closely at the photo but couldn’t be sure. “Too bad we don’t have a video” he lamented quietly. I guess I have my assignment for tonight…
After more discussion about the logistics of doing a large painting on the floor, we decided that we want to try it. The next sunny day we will be taking a large sheet outside to experience this art form for ourselves. Thanks for the inspiration Kelan!