Friday, September 28, 2007

Create Your Own Mosaic

It’s difficult to create a tile mosaic but, as you’ve seen in entries this week, you can make a mosaic out of almost anything, including nails, toothpicks, and Post-It Notes. The easiest material to work with is paper so that’s what you’ll use for this project. Once you’ve created a mosaic out of paper, move on to the second project in this post.

Materials Needed:

One large sheet of paper
Glue stick
Assortment of colored papers
Scissors (optional)

First, decide what you’d like your mosaic to look like. You can create anything from a simple, repeating pattern to a complex picture. Using your pencil, draw the image onto your large sheet of paper. You’ll cover the pencil lines with paper so the drawing won’t be a part of the finished mosaic.

Next, cut or tear pieces your other pieces of paper into small bits. These can be cut into matching squares, rectangles, circles, random shapes, or a combination.

Lay out the pieces of colored paper onto your drawing as you want it to look. You can lay the pieces of paper so they overlap each other or you can lay them with space in between so the large paper shows through like the grout in a tile mosaic. You may want to try using different shades of the same color to fill in an area of your mosaic. For example, if you want to make water, use some dark blue, some light blue, and some green next to each other.

When the mosaic looks they way you want it, use the glue stick to attach the paper bits.


Materials Needed:

Wooden Board
Flat Glass Marbles
Clear Silicone Glue

Just like in the first project, draw your design or picture onto the board with your pencil. Lay the flat glass marbles onto the board and arrange them until you like the way the mosaic looks. Then use the Silicone Glue to attach the flat marbles to the board. Silicone Glue will work best since it was made specifically for glass and tile.

Be careful when you move your finished mosaic. If the board is twisted or bent the marbles may pop off. This is even true of a tile mosaic created by a professional.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Saimir Strati's Toothpick Mosaic

Today’s featured mosaic is another odd one by Saimir Strati. He holds the Guinness World Record for this mosaic as well. It is the largest mosaic made of toothpicks. Unlike his nail mosaic, the image used is his own, not a copy of someone else’s art. It is a horse and is called Reinless Spirit.

The mosaic took 40 days of work. To create the different colors in the mosaic, Strati used toothpicks made of different types of wood. To see pictures of Strati in the process of creating the mosaic, click here.

Strati says he was inspired by Antoni Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia, an unfinished cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. In the picture below, notice that the building looks a bit like toothpicks set at uneven heights.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

David Alvarez's Post-It Mosaic

Since we’ve been talking about mosaics and mosaics made out of weird materials, David Alvarez’s Post-It mosaics seemed like a perfect thing to write about today.

Alvarez is a 19 year old student at Wenatchee Valley College in Washington who created the mosaic for an art show. He used a photo editing program on his computer to make a picture of musician, Ray Charles look like a mosaic. He then used the picture on the screen to create his mosaic out of 2000 Post-It Notes. He had to add glue to keep the Post-It Notes attached but the bottoms still flap the way they would if they were only attached with their usual stickiness.

Go look at the slide show of David Alvarez’s Post-It mosaic. Included is a picture of the way it looked on the computer screen. It couldn’t have been easy to turn it into a Post-It mosaic!

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Saimir Strati's Nail Mosaic

Saimir Strati holds the Guinness World Record for the largest mosaic made of nails. It took his 24 days and 500,000 nails to create the mosaic shown below. It is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s self-portrait, drawn in red chalk on paper in 1512 (also shown below).

If you’re interested in seeing more pictures of Saimir Strati’s nail mosaic, including pictures of the artist creating the mosaic, click here.

Many people do not consider this nail mosaic art because Strati just copied someone else’s image. They think what Strati created is no better than a paint-by-numbers using nails. It must have been difficult, though, to create the shading and depth by hammering the nails in at differing heights. What do you think? Is Strati an artist or just a man with a tired arm?

Monday, September 24, 2007


A mosaic is a piece of artwork created by laying many small objects side-by-side to make a large picture. Usually tile is used but, as you’ll see in articles later this week, almost anything can be used to create a mosaic.

Throughout history, mosaics have been used for decoration in homes and public places. Many things can be decorated with mosaics including floors, walls, vases, and tables. Shown below are two pictures of the ruins of mosaic floors from the ancient Roman baths. In ancient Rome, people went to the baths to socialize while they bathed. You can even see the drain in one of the pictures.

When creating a tile mosaic, the artist begins by sketching the picture he wishes to create onto the surface he plans to mosaic. Then he lays out the colored tiles so he can make sure the picture is exactly what he wants. Sometimes he has to cut pieces of tile to fit into place. When he’s happy with the picture, he glues the tiles down with a special glue made for attaching tiles. Finally, the artist fills in the cracks between tiles with grout. This is called the “direct mosaic method.” There are other ways to create mosaics but they are more complicated and this is all you’ll need to know when you make your own later in the week.

Below are some picture of a tile mosaic my parents made for their bathroom. You can see the lines of the drawing in places that haven't yet been tiled. The picture was inspired by the sink you can see in the final picture.

Finally, I wanted to show you a few more examples of mosaics. The first picture below is the floor of the Curia, the Senate building of ancient Rome, which you can still visit today. The second picture is the floor of the British Museum. The third is a floor in the Vatican Museums. As you walk through the museum, this floor comes before the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo painted the ceiling. The last picture is the floor of a church in Rome. I’m not sure which one. I took a lot of pictures of mosaic floors, as you can tell, and I lost track of which floor belonged to which church. I think these old, mosaic floors are beautiful. What do you think?

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Make an Edible Clay Sculpture

This clay tastes like candy! And you can play with it!

Materials Needed:

1/3 cup margarine
1/3 cup light corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1 pound confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract, peppermint extract, or other flavoring
Mixing Spoon
Food Coloring

In a large bowl, combine margarine, light corn syrup, salt, and flavoring. Mix well. Slowly add the confectioner’s sugar. Stir until your mixture looks like clay.

Divide the edible clay into 4 or more balls and add a few drops of food coloring to each ball. Kneed the food coloring into the clay until the color is spread evenly. Make each ball a different color.

Now you’re ready to create a masterpiece. When you’ve finished, enjoy eating your sculpture.

If you have any extra clay, place each ball into a different Ziplock bag and keep in the refrigerator until next time. After two weeks, throw away the left over clay.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Lost Wax Casting

On Tuesday you read about Edgar Degas’ Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. After Degas died his family made bronze copies (casts) of his original sculpture. Many people wonder how a sculpture could be created out of bronze, a hard metal. Even when an artist intends the final work of art to be made out of bronze he still begins with a clay sculpture. (Degas used waxed for Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. His family would have skipped a few steps of this process.)

First, the artist creates the sculpture out of clay. Then he pours either rubber or plaster over the sculpture to create a mold. When the clay is pulled out, the hollow area is a copy the original sculpture.

Next, wax is poured into the mold, creating a copy of the sculpture in wax. The artist must perfect any detail that didn’t come out right in the wax cast. Another layer of wax is poured over the cast to create a new hollow copy of the sculpture. Since Degas’ sculpture was made out of wax, his family would have started here when making bronze casts.

This hollow wax shell is covered with a fireproof material called an investment. When the investment has hardened, the wax is melted away. Into the investment, the artist pours the melted bronze. Once the bronze has cooled and hardened, the investment is broken and pulled away leaving the bronze cast.

All that is left to do now is clean up the cast and fix anything that didn’t come out of the invested smoothly. Often this means smoothing out seams and fixing small details such as eyes or fingernails.

I have created an illustration of the process of lost wax casting which you can find below.

This is not something you could do at home. In fact, many artists send the hollow wax mold to a professional rather than melt and pour the bronze themselves.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Create Your Own Clay Sculpture

You’ve already learned how Degas created Little Dancer, Age Fourteen by molding wax onto a wire frame. You’ve also learned about Michelangelo chipping away at a block of stone until David appeared. Now you can make your own sculpture using the clay recipe below. This is a very simple recipe but make sure to ask a parent before you start.

Materials Needed:

2 Cups Flour
1 Cup Salt
1 Cup Water
1 ½ Tbsp Vegetable Oil

Optional Materials:

Craft Sealant

Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl. Slowly stir in the water and the oil until there are no more lumps. The mixture should be smooth. That’s all there is to it; you have homemade clay. I recommend setting up sheets of wax paper to sculpt on because the clay won’t stick to it. It will also protect your work space. If you use newspaper, the black ink will show up in your clay. You could also just sprinkle the table with flour to prevent sticking.

When you’ve finished your masterpiece, place it on a cookie sheet and bake at 250 degrees for about fifty minutes. Once the sculpture has cooled, you can paint it if you’d like. When the paint has dried, if you love your sculpture, paint it with a craft sealant. This will preserve the paint over time and give it a shiny appearance.

Keep any left-over dough in a plastic bag to keep it from drying out.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Degas' Little Dancer, Age Fourteen

When Edgar Degas sculpted Little Dancer, Age Fourteen, he meant to change the way people viewed beauty. He didn’t sculpt a tall, slender ballerina out of sleek clay. Instead he chose a young dancer who hadn’t yet grown into her womanly figure. He chose a dancer who was still learning and struggling to become a star. Then he molded her in resting pose rather than in the middle of a complicated but beautiful maneuver.

The little ballerina looks tired because she probably was. Many ballerinas during Degas’ time were very poor and studied ballet as a way out of the slums. This was the case with the model Degas used for Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. Her name was Marie Van Goethem. Though she was fired from the dance company when she was seventeen and never became the star she wished to be, Degas’ sculpture has made her a recognized figure all over the world. When the sculpture was shown to the public during the 6th Impressionist Exhibition in Paris in 1881, many thought it was ugly, though some understood that Degas was trying to show beauty in truth. Today, the sculpture is loved my many.

Degas created Little Dancer, Age Fourteen by layering yellow wax over a wire frame. When he had completed the sculpture he added real ballet slippers, which he covered with a thin layer of wax, real hair tied with a ribbon, a bodice made of linen, and a muslin tutu. He thought the sculpture would have disintegrated before he died and, in fact, many of his wax sculptures were broken and falling apart when he died. Degas’ heirs quickly cast the wax sculpture in bronze, making many copies. The original wax sculpture no longer exists. Today, many museums have bronze casts of Degas’ sculpture, Little Dancer, Age Fourteen. The one shown here stands in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France. Also in the case, notice the smaller sculpture which was a study for Little Dancer, Age Fourteen.

Check back tomorrow for a homemade clay recipe. You can make a sculpture, too!

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Monday, September 17, 2007

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel Ceiling

After spending the last few days recovering, I'm feeling much better. As promised, an article about the Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelango from 1508-1512.

Today the massive fresco that covers the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Italy is one of the best known pieces of art in the world, but Michelangelo didn’t want to paint it. Michelangelo preferred sculpting but he couldn’t say no to the Pope. So in 1508 he began his work.

Of course he couldn’t reach the ceiling from the ground, so he attached wooden platforms to the walls to stand on. Each day he had to lay new plaster onto the ceiling to paint on. It must have been unpleasant work because plaster becomes hot as it dries and it smells. Michelangelo worked on the ceiling for 4 years.
The design of the ceiling is shown in the drawing above. (Image from Wikipedia.) The middle strip of the ceiling is divided into nine different paintings, each showing a story from the book of Genesis. Five of the nine are small pictures surrounded by shields and nudes, and the other four are larger pictures without nudes in the corners. These nine pictures can be placed in groups of three panels. The first group shows God creating the earth. This picture shown on the left, God Creating Adam, is from this group. The second group shows the creation of man and woman. The third group is all about Noah, including the great flood.

On either side of the center row of pictures, Michelangelo painted prophets and sibyls, twelve altogether. Each were in some way involved with the coming of Jesus Christ. There are seven men (prophets) and five women (sibyls).

Between the prophets are triangular shaped areas, and over the windows are arches. Onto these areas Michelangelo painted Christ’s ancestors and family.

Finally, in the four corners of the ceiling, Michelangelo painted four more stories from the bible. One shows David defeating Goliath (shown below), a subject Michelangelo had already sculpted.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Nathan Sawaya's Lego Sculptures

Unfortunately, I’m still sick so here’s a link to a cool video about artist, Nathan Sawaya. Sawaya creates huge, colorful sculptures out of Legos. I used to love building with Legos but I never made anything like this! Maybe he’ll inspire you to create something of your own.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

Create Your Own Online Sketch

I know I said today I’d post about the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but I’ve come down with a pretty bad cold. In the mean time, entertain yourselves by making an online sketch.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Frescoes are paintings on plaster. Plaster is a material used in buildings especially for walls. It starts as a powder that, when mixed with water, becomes a paste that can be spread on walls.

Usually frescoes are made when the plaster is still wet, though sometimes artists will add details to plaster when the main part of the painting has already dried. Painting done on dry plaster does not last as long as painting done on wet plaster.

Frescoes were often created directly on walls. The plaster would be mixed and spread on the wall. After about an hour it would be solid enough to paint on. Then the artist would have about ten hours in which to complete the painting before the plaster dried. For this reason, many paintings were done in sections rather than all at once. The artist would decide how much he could paint in ten hours and then mix enough plaster to cover the area. Then he could rest. When he was ready to paint again, he mixed more plaster.

Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, he created an enormous fresco. He painted one day’s section and then, when he came back to paint the next day’s piece, he scraped away a little before starting so the sections were connected. Imagine how long it took to paint the entire ceiling and the walls of the chapel!

Check back for tomorrow’s post all about the Sistine Chapel ceiling (shown above).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

I just finished re-reading E. L. Konigsburg’s Newberry Award Winning, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and I love it as much now as I did when I first read it nearly fifteen years ago. It is a truly timeless book and one that can be enjoyed by eight year olds and eighty year olds alike.

Claudia Kincaid doesn’t want to be the same old girl anymore; she longs to be different. So she plans and organizes until she is ready to go out and make herself different. She convinces her younger brother Jamie to run away with her—just for a little while, just long enough to teach her parents a lesson—to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Once there, the siblings become determined to solve an art mystery that has stumped even the art experts. Only when she solves the mystery, and discovers what she needs to feel different, can Claudia return to home.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Artist Profile: Michelangelo

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni, called Michelangelo, was an artist during the Renaissance. He was born in Italy in 1475. He was brilliant and talented in many ways; he could paint, sculpt, design buildings, and write poetry. He is best known for his sculptures and frescos (paintings on wet plaster).

When Michelangelo was a child, his mother became ill and couldn’t care for him, so he was sent to live with a stonecutter and his wife. Michelangelo joked that this is where he learned to love cutting stone into sculpture.

Michelangelo spent years studying the human body. He even looked at dead bodies so he could learn the way the muscles and bones were attached and how arms and legs moved. He drew sketches of people in various positions, concentrating on getting the muscles just right. Many of these sketches still exist so we can see how Michelangelo prepared to create his masterpieces.

Michelangelo was very religious and many of his masterpieces show religious scenes or people from the bible. One of his most famous sculptures was David, the biblical hero who defeated Goliath. The sculpture was originally meant to stand in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy. Today, a copy of Michelangelo’s work stands in this place (shown on the left). David is the statue on the left side of the door. The original (on the right side of the page) is in the Accademia, a Florence museum.

Michelangelo believed that there was a sculpture in every piece of stone. He tried to let the stone speak to him and become what it was meant to be. His job as the artist was to free the sculpture from the stone.

Among his most famous paintings is the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican in Italy. It is made up of many panels illustrating scenes from the bible which Michelangelo painted directly onto the ceiling. A picture of the ceiling is shown below. I’ll write a post on the Sistine Chapel ceiling later this week and talk about some of the scenes and how Michelangelo painted this masterpiece.

When Michelangelo died in 1564, he had become one of the most known and admired artists of his time. He was even called “Il Divino” which means “the divine one.”

EDITED TO ADD: Check out my post on Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

Free Books For Kids

This post has nothing to do with art. This is about reading: something else I’m passionate about. Read on to find out what you can do to make sure everyone gets the chance to learn to read.

Reading is one of the most important skills you will ever learn. If you never learn how to read you won’t be able to order food at a restaurant or find your way around a city. You won’t be able to graduate from school. If you never learn to read you’ll never know the pleasure of getting lost in the world of a good book. But many families can’t afford to buy books for their kids and this can mean that those kids never become good readers.

You may have noticed the orange button on the right side of the screen. Click the button and you’ll see a large, rectangular, orange button that says “Click Here to Give—It’s Free!” When you click that button the website’s sponsors give money to buy books for kids in poor families. You should click everyday so lots of kids can have books to read. Every click helps and it doesn’t cost you a thing!

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Friday, September 7, 2007


Impressionism is a style of painting that began in Paris, France in the mid-1800s. Unlike artists before them, the impressionists painted most of their paintings outdoors and liked to portray natural subjects like trees, fields, and oceans. Impressionists would often take their materials outdoors and paint what they saw. This is called painting “en plein air.”

When impressionists painted pictures of people, they made them look like people you would see everyday. Rather than painting religious figures or royalty, impressionists painted people like the local tavern owner, a girl eagerly awaiting the beginning of a play, or workers resting in bales of hay. They often used their own family and friends as subjects in their paintings.

Before the impressionists, painters usually placed the main subject of their painting in the center. It was the first thing the viewer looked at and the background was not nearly as important. Before the impressionists, the main focus was, more often than not, placed in the middle of the painting. Impressionists often put more emphasis on the scene than on the person or main subject of the painting. To do this, they painted the main subject off to the side rather than in the center of the painting. An impressionist painting looks more like a photograph in this way. A photograph captures not only the main subject, but everything around the subject and everything in the photo is important. Photography was just becoming popular in the mid-1800s and influenced the way the impressionists looked at things.

The style was called impressionism because the artists were not as exacting about painting a realistic picture. They used many short brush strokes, applying paint thickly, to create the idea, or impression, of a subject. Vincent van Gogh is a good example of this technique. The paint on his canvases is often so thick it looks 3D. Look at this painting, Starry Night Over the Rhone, and notice the short brush strokes. Also, the painting is so thick that you can see the shadows from the paint. Because of the quick, short strokes, if you stand very close to an impressionist painting and look at it, often the painting won’t look like anything but a bunch of paint blobs. When you back away from it, though, you can see the whole picture.

Another characteristic of impressionist painting is the study of light. The way light changed the shadows and colors of subjects was of much interest to impressionists. For example, Claude Monet often painted in series, making many pictures of the same subject at different times throughout the day and in different seasons to see how the lighting affected his paintings. Look at these paintings of the Rouen Cathedral and see how the lighting changed the colors Monet used.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Art Supplies: Oil Paints

Until the mid-1800s, artists had to buy the ingredients separately and mix their own paints. This involved grinding colored minerals into pigments and mixing them with oils. When oil paint became popular in the 1500s, some artists made improvements. They added other ingredients to shorten the long drying time and prevent the paint from darkening when it dried.

Today, oil paints come pre-mixed in tubes like acrylics and some watercolors. Colors that used to be very expensive to use because the mineral was rare and expensive, like blue, can now be man-made.

Oil paints are glossy and can be transparent (allowing light to pass through) or opaque (blocking light from passing through) depending on the color you choose. The transparent colors seem to glow while the opaque colors are richer. Oil paints colors are very bright, the brightest of any type of paint.

They take much longer to dry than water colors or acrylics. This is useful because it allows the artist to take paint off the canvas easily using turpentine and a rag. Because oil paints dry through a chemical reaction, they continue to dry (and to change) for years after the paint is dry to the touch. In fact, conservators of art (whose job it is to keep art looking the way the artist intended) consider an oil painting to be in the process of drying for up to 80 years! Click on Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring and you will see cracking across the girl’s face. Next time you visit a museum look for cracks in the paint; you’ll see them everywhere.

Oil paints are different from acrylics and watercolors in that they form a hard shell on the canvas. This shell can crack when the painting is moved and you’ll see fine lines forming through the painting. From the 1500s to the 1800s, it was popular to paint with oil on panels of wood. The wood would sometimes warp though, and this created even more cracking in the paint. To avoid cracking, the paint should get oilier with each layer. This was probably very easy for artists who made their own paints but would be quite difficult for someone today just starting out as a painter.

Oil paints are also harder to clean and will stain if you spill them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Book Recommendation: Olivia by Ian Falconer

Olivia, by Ian Falconer is a picture book worth reading over and over. Falconer has created a loveable character in Olivia, both with his words and his beautiful, red, white, and black illustrations. A loud and tireless piglet, Olivia explores her world in a way that makes readers of all ages laugh out loud.

When Olivia visits the art museum she is confused, like many of us, by the Jackson Pollock painting. She decides that she could make that painting, but what she makes is trouble. The book is full of episodes like this in which Olivia learns about life the way only a young child can. This Caldecott Honor Book is the first of a series of stunning Olivia books by Falconer. I recommend them all, though they do not all relate to art and so cannot all be featured on this website.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Create Your Own Jackson Pollock Painting

Looking at Jackson Pollock’s art makes a lot of people want to try it for themselves. Make sure to get permission before trying this.

Materials Needed:

1 Queen Size Flat Sheet (any color will do)
3-4 Buckets of Paint in Different Colors
Plastic Cups (one for each color paint)
1 Large Paintbrush
1 Paint Stirring Stick
1 Bucket of Water (for cleaning your brush and stir stick)

This is a messy project so be sure to wear old clothes and work outside. You should still lay out a drop cloth or newspaper to protect your work space. Spread the sheet on the ground and place rocks on the corners to keep it from blowing away.

Choose your first color. Use your brush to splatter the paint across your sheet. Do the same with your stir stick. Notice the difference between the paint splatters caused by each. Fill a plastic cup with paint and pour or drip the color on your sheet. It will be easier to control where the paint goes if you use a cup rather than the whole bucket of paint. When you think you have enough of your first color, repeat with your second color, then your third, then your fourth. If you can still see the sheet beneath the paint, keep adding to your creation.

Remember, Jackson Pollock always controlled the drips and splatters. He always knew where he was putting his colors and how he wanted his masterpiece to look.

When you’ve finished, let your painting dry. This may take a while because you’ve used a lot of paint. How does your artwork compare to Jackson Pollock’s? Was it as easy as you thought it would be?


If you don’t have the space outdoors to do this project, you can try a smaller version by following the directions below.

Materials Needed:

1 Piece of Thick Art Paper
Poster Paints in Several Colors
Paint Brush
Unsharpened Pencil
Cup of Water
Cardboard box

If at all possible, I still recommend going outside. Otherwise, be sure to lay down newspapers to protect your workspace, and avoid working on carpet. Cut off the top and one side of your box. Lay your sheet of paper in the bottom of the box.

Choose your first color. Use your brush to splatter the paint across your sheet of paper. Do the same with your unsharpened pencil. Notice the difference between the paint splatters caused by each. Make sure not be too crazy with your splattering; the sides of the box should catch any stray paint. You can pour the poster paint straight from the cups they came in. When you think you have enough of your first color, repeat with your second color, then your third, then your fourth. If you can still see the paper beneath the paint, keep adding to your creation.

Remember, Jackson Pollock always controlled the drips and splatters. He always knew where he was putting his colors and how he wanted his masterpiece to look.

When you’ve finished, let your painting dry. This may take a while because you’ve used a lot of paint. How does your artwork compare to Jackson Pollock’s? Was it as easy as you thought it would be?

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Monday, September 3, 2007

Jackson Pollock and Lavender Mist

Jackson Pollock was an American painter, born in 1912, who became famous for his enormous drip paintings. He painted in a tool shed where he could lay his canvas on the floor, and drip and splatter paint across it without worrying about ruining the walls or floor.

Rather than paint a landscape or a portrait, Pollock wanted to paint action. When you look at one of his drip paintings, your eye wanders across the entire canvas in constant motion. In this way, Pollock achieved his goal; the creation of the painting was active and so is the viewing of the painting.

Lavender Mist, painted in 1950, is one example of Pollock’s drip paintings. Pollock unrolled nearly 10 feet of canvas, chose his colors, and began to drip, splash, and swirl paint onto it. He didn’t buy his oil paint in tubes the way most artists do. Instead, he used gallons of house paint to cover the canvas. In the corner he left his handprints as a signature, just like the
cave painters did. What’s really cool about this painting is that Pollock didn’t use any lavender paint. The colors he chose blend together in your eye to make you think that you see lavender.

Click here to look at Lavender Mist at the National Gallery of Art website. Use the red arrows at the top of the page to see close-ups of parts of the painting, including the handprint in the upper right corner. Keep clicking to see pictures of Jackson Pollock painting in his shed.

Then click here make your own drip painting online. Right click to change colors.

Check back tomorrow for a Jackson Pollock project!

EDITED TO ADD: Create Your Own Edible Pollock Painting

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