Wednesday, May 9, 2012

15 Minute Jackson Pollock Painting

I'm wrapping up my Modern Art after school class, and let me tell wasn't easy trying to decide on just SIX modern art projects--I found out that I love Modern Art way too much to narrow it down to six artists! One artist I knew the students would like was Jackson Pollock. His work just embodies the movement and spirit of children! But I didn't think that the teacher whose room I borrow would love us throwing paint around, so I decided to do a less messy technique, letting marbles do the work for us!

I started class by showing the children a few of Pollock's paintings. I then showed them one of my favorite books: "Action Jackson," by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan. I like how this book shows the everyday life of Jackson Pollock and the process he went through to make a painting. His type of painting is called "Action Painting" since the movement and activity used to create the piece is just as important as the finished piece.

We then moved on to our project. These Marble Paintings are simple and addicting! Have a few sheets of paper on hand for each child if this is the only project you are doing that day. We did our Handy Andy's as well that day, so I only had the students do one Marble Painting each, which took about 15 minutes.

Marble Paintings

Supplies Needed:

  • Cardboard tray (ours were from the grocery store and were roughly 9" x 12")
  • Poster board cut to fit the bottom of the tray (I've used construction paper, but it gets wrinkly because of the paint).
  • Marker to write name on tray
  • Various colors of tempera paint
  • Little disposable paint cups or bowls
  • Plastic spoons
  • Marbles

1. Have each child write his/her name on the outside of the tray. I have my students create the work and then take the entire tray home at the end of class. If you'll be reusing the trays, the names can be written on the back of the poster board.

2. Put some tempera paint into a disposable bowl. Add a couple of marbles and a couple plastic spoons. I had six colors available this time.

3. Have the children use the spoon to remove a marble from the bowl and place it on the paper in the tray. Move the tray around to make the marble leave a paint trail all over the paper. When done, put the marble back into the bowl it came from.

4. Repeat with whatever colors you desire. 

*I've also done this project as an exercise in warm and cool colors. I set up one table with red, orange and yellow on it and another with green, blue and purple. I then had the children create three pieces: one with only warm colors, one with only cool colors and the third with whatever colors they chose.


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Elena & Fabiana, I've made the changes throughout the blog. Thanks for stopping by, Mrs. P.


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