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have a conversation about art with Joyce Raimondo

What can children learn by dripping paint from sticks?

Last week I had the honor of working with fifth graders at St. James Elementary School for a week-long program of drip painting inspired by Pollock. Beginning with discussions about how artists such as Picasso, Munch, and Pollock express feelings, children shared their ideas about what they see in art. I am always amazed by the children's insightful interpretations. Looking at Picasso's WEEPING WOMAN, one girl speculated, "Maybe he is showing us that her beauty is really on the inside and not about what her face looks like on the outside. My mother taught me that inner beauty is what really counts." Another child added, "He painted a sad person because he wanted to show her true feelings, and no one is happy all the time." The highlight of the art show discussion was Jackson Pollock's drip painting. I prompted a discussion with such questions as, "How can you express a feeling without painting a face? What feeling might this painting show?" Children intuitively understand how colors represents emotion and the action of Pollock spattering paint from sticks shows energy and feeling too. Next, children tried their hand at the drip painting technique as they let paint flow from popsicle sticks onto professional canvases. During our reflection, children used their interpretive skills to analyze their own artworks and what their masterpieces express. The only complaint was, "This workshop was so awesome, I wish it would never end."

Special thanks to Mr. Sullivan, the art teacher, who provided the canvases and paint and opened his art room to dripping, spattering, and pouring paint. Gratitude is given to PTA rep, Christine Engel, and all of the volunteers who so generously gave of their time to make the program a success.
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