DRIP, DROP, SPLATTER! Early Childhood
The Art Problem
Young children are introduced to
the beauty of Jackson Pollock’s
splatter painting technique. Students will drip, drop, and splash
paint around while learning about
the primary colors.
tempera paint, water, paint cups,
brushes (various sizes), foam board
splatter paint: Splashing, dripping
primary colors: Red, yellow, and
blue; colors from which all other
colors can be made
1. Show images of Jackson Pollock’s
work. Water down the tempera
paint with water. Approximately
two parts paint, one part water.
2. Demonstrate the drip and splat-
ter technique including flicking the
brush against the side of your hand.
3. Students should wear smocks.
Students line up and take turns,
everyone getting the chance to drip
each of the three colors. Students
evenly share the canvas.
4. Step back and admire the work!
During a class discussion, ask questions such as: Who is the artist that
we learned about today? What was
he known for? What are the primary colors? What colors can you
make from the primary colors?
Adaptations may be made for
students with limited control over
motor skills. Students can use bulb
brushes, grip brushes, or brushes
with an elastic attachment. If a stu-
dent is affected with a visual impair-
ment, a raised copy of Pollock’s
work would be a great supplement.
By Megan Pendleton, an art education major at the University of
MIXED-MEDIA SELF-PORTRAIT Middle School
The Art Problem
\Self-portraits offer an engaging
activity for middle school students.
In this lesson, students explore symbols in self-portraits.
Students will create a mixed-media
self-portrait (printmaking and col-
tempera paint, 6 x 9" ( 15 x 23 cm)
construction paper, foam printing
sheets, pencils, scissors, glue, maga-
zines, examples of self-portraits
1. Ask students to think about what
self-portraits are and why artists
2. Compare self-portraits by well-
known artists such as Joan Miró,
Chuck Close, and Frida Kahlo. Point
out that artists often use symbols in
3. Ask students to describe the
symbols they can use in a self-por-
trait. Have them sketch their ideas.
4. Distribute magazines for students
to find and cut out five interesting
textures, shapes, or symbols to use
in their prints.
5. Demonstrate how to draw into
the foam sheets, apply paint, and
transfer the design to construction
6. After the paint dries, add symbols to create a collage effect.
7. Ask students to write a paragraph that interprets the symbols in
By Jovahna Pena, a graduate
student at Northern Arizona
University in Flagstaff.
A QUIET LANDSCAPE Elementary
The Art Problem
In this lesson, students practice
watercolor painting skills while
examining the ancient hanging
scroll. Using only one color of
paint, students will develop several
washes of their chosen color to
create an imagined vertical land-
12 x 15" ( 30 x 38 cm) white con-
struction paper, 9 x 12" ( 23 x 30
cm) watercolor paper, plain white
paper (any size), watercolors,
sponges, paintbrushes, scissors,
white glue, wood glue, 13" ( 33
cm) dowel rods, embroidery thread
1. Point out the vertical format and
the range in value of a single color
in an artwork such as Twelve Views
from a Thatched Hut by Xia Gui.
2. Sponge paint on white con-
struction paper for the back-
3. Allow students to practice painting an imaginary landscape with
one color on plain paper.
4. Provide watercolor paper when
students are ready and allow them
to paint their final composition
5. After watercolor paintings dry,
glue to the center of the background.
6. Glue dowel rods to the top portion of the background and add
thread to hang.
Explain that “colophons” are
inscriptions that identify the artist
or ideas about the artwork. Ask
students to create a contextual
poem to inscribe on their scrolls.
By Neri Luzietti, an art education student at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff.
WHITE-ON-BLACK CLOTHESLINE High School
The Art Problem
Accurate rendition of three-dimen-
sional still-life subjects is tough, and
the most difficult part is teaching
students to see everything in front
of them. We can only ask them to
draw so much “stuff” before they
become bored. Reversing the pro-
cess of transcribing their view is a
new way of teaching seeing!
12" ( 30 cm) square black construc-
tion paper, white pencils, a wooden
clothes pin, a 12" piece of cotton
rope, spotlight (optional)
1. Each student gets a clothespin
and a piece of rope and creates
their own still life. Encourage them
to loop, knot, wrap, and fray their
2. Students only have one minute
to draw their little still lifes. The
construction paper has two black
sides, so we do this timed sketch
twice. Students pick their favorite
sketch upon which to base their
3. Erasing is allowed, but not prac-
tical, so students should work care-
fully. They are encouraged to look
closely to delineate the different
values on the rope and around the
All projects are pinned to the wall.
We look again at the attention to
proportion and value. These prob-
lems are easily solved when discov-
ering the different between round
and flat ropes, as well as clothes-
pins with dimension.
By Lori Stevens, an art teacher
at Orland High School in Orland,