Thursday, April 18, 2013

25 Days of Art: Jackson Pollack

Once upon a time there was a movie called The Princess Diaries. Now this movie is notable for 3 things: It introduced the world to a young, fresh faced Anne Hathaway, it was based on a much superior series of books by Meg Cabot and there's a scene where characters throw darts at paint filled balloons.And ever since I saw a mother and daughter pair throwing darts at paint filled balloons in their unrealistically spacious San Fransisco loft, it has been my dream to do the same. Well, today is that day my friends. Today we went full Mia Thermopolis.

There were actually two projects for Jackson Pollack day. Let's start with the easier, cleaner one that really does produce Pollack-like paintings.

Marble in a Box

-marbles (I couldn't find marbles so I used bouncy balls. Basically anything small and round)


Lay a piece to paper in the shoe box or shoe box lid. Dip a marble in paint and then put it in the box. Move the box around, allowing the marble to trail paint all over the paper. Repeat with different colors or see what happens when you put multiple paint covered marbles in at a time.

Miss Lucy's Example:

Kid Art:

And now the good stuff, the stuff you've been waiting for...
Paint Darts!

-butcher paper

Let me say right now, do this outside if at all possible. We were short staffed this day so I did it in a back room where I could still be available to patrons if needed for reference or reader's advisory.

Set up a blast zone. I made mind by covering book shelves and the floor with long pieces of butcher paper. I turned two heavy tables on their sides and covered them with butcher paper too. I turned a final, folding table, on its side, covered it in paper and out it between the two other tables. This is our easel.

Fill balloons with paint. The best way I figured to do this is toput the entire balloon mouth around the squeezy end of a paint bottle and squeeze a little paint into the balloon. Experiement with how much paint you put in each balloon. When you take the balloon off the mouth of the bottle try to roll the mouth to the outside. This make it less likely that paint will get on the very end of the balloon and thusly in your mouth. Blow up the balloons. You will get paint around your mouth. Just make sure the paint is non toxic.

Also, a note on balloon size: bigger balloons mean a larger target for the kids, but it also means less paint per area in the eventual painting. My suggestion would be a 9" balloon. Save the 12" for pinatas and the 3" for water balloon fights.

Tape the paint filled balloons to the easel table.

We had a very long talk about safety before I gave anyone a dart. I made them line up, throw one at a time and only I was allowed to go retrieve the darts once they had been thrown. It worked out way better than i coudl ahve hoped for.

Standing behind the blast zone have the kids take turns throwing darts at the balloons. The first time through, I let each kid throw until they had popped one and then after that we went in turn. Everyone loved it. Like, loved it loved it. Like would have married it if possible loved it. We made three paintings with the balloons that I had previously blown up and they could have gone for hours. By our last painting, a lot of staff had wandered up and were staring at awe, so we ended up having a competition, staff vs. kids to see who could pop the most balloons. The staff won by one balloon, but I think the true winner was all the clean trash-talk the kids came up with.


Miss Lucy and Kid Art:

The top one is the splatter sheet that we had laying on the floor, it caught the flying paint and looked particularly beautiful to me.

The bottom two are the actual pieces of paper that had balloons attatched to them at one point.

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