Famous artists: Abstract

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By Judith Harries

The second article in our series about famous artists includes artists who made a name for themselves painting in an abstract style, together with lots of ideas for creative activities to inspire both children and practitioners.

Abstract art is defined as art that does not try to accurately represent a visual reality but instead uses shapes, colours, forms and gestural marks to achieve its effect. It lends itself to individual interpretation and allows for everybody to explore their own creative expression in a less restrictive fashion. Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway!


Jackson Pollock – Convergence (1952)

Pollock Convergence

Drip painting
Jackson Pollock was known for his use of dripping paint to create his artworks. He said, ‘The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through’. Show the children images of his work. Can they work out how he applied the paint to the canvas? Which tools do they think he might have used? Watch online videos of the artist at work.

Try this group activity outside on a dry, still day! Make a collection of small plastic bottles filled with different-coloured sand or flour and powder paint. Check that the sand will flow slowly but steadily out of the bottle. Suspend the bottles, for example from tree branches, and hang them over a large sheet of paper on lengths of string. Invite the children to remove the lids and swing the bottles over the paper to a friend and then back again creating swirly coloured patterns. When ready, repeat the activity with bottles of coloured water or paint to create a large-scale picture to display at your setting.


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