January 27, 2015


We recently ventured into the world of abstract paintings, and started with an old favorite: 
Jackson Pollock.

Action Jackson is a pretty good read if you're going to try some drip and splatter painting with students - it tells a fairly straightforward story of Jackson creating one of his large scale abstract paintings on the floor of his old barn on Long Island (and conveniently skips the alcoholism and other less palatable aspects of the artist).

Like Pollock, we skipped the gesso and got straight to painting on canvas. It's definitely not a tidy project, but you can keep it pretty under control by taking turns, wearing serious smocks, and working within a contained "paint fort".  

There's a lot of patience, decision making, and big movements involved in making a big painting together like this! Way different than the small controlled ways we usually paint!

Also much like in Jackson's work, a penny or two found it's way into our painting!

January 26, 2015

Alma Thomas inspired collages

I recently became enamored of the color school paintings of Alma Woodsey(!) Thomas, an art educator and painter who was making these very cool abstract paintings in her kitchen in the 60's.

Obviously I had to share this with my students, 
so we started every class for a week looking at her awesome compositions. 

The kids told me about kinds of lines, shapes, and colors Thomas used in her work - one saw raindrops, another bricks! It was honestly some of the best art-talk we've had this year.

We've been painting loads, so instead of imitating her style in tempera on paper, 
we turned to the old art room staple: construction paper. 
Using their "pinching fingers", students carefully tore and arranged paper into cool, abstract collages.