Sharon had suggested we might take time to explore the short videoclips which she had sent us , looking at the work of artist Jackson Pollock. we discussed how movement and energy were integral to his art and we considered how he created on such a massive canvas. We looked at Blue Poles and had lots of ideas about what it all meant!
Today’s session would be an actual visit from our artist as opposed to a Virtual Session, so there was tremendous excitement about the forthcoming activities. We had already begun to prepare our ‘studio’ for the day by emptying the classroom completely of desks and chairs. Sharon arrived early with her prepared canvases and an array of implements which we were going to use during our session: six large boards made from cardboard and already primed with black paint, so we could imitate Pollock and work ‘from darkness to light’, and a real artist’s canvas which Sharon had brought from her studio.
We placed the seven boards around the room allowing adequate space to move freely around each board.
We chose to use the 3 primary colours plus white and made pots of these colours accessible at each station.
We made different types of implements and utensils available at each board ,in order to give the children the experiences of using all the different utensils and implements throughout the course of the session: watering cans, syringes, baby bottles, spoons, turkey basters, sieves, tubing are examples of some of the equipment we used.
We divided the children into small groups of 3 or 4 working at each board, and we set up a timer on the IWB so that the time spent at each station would be fairly allocated.
In total the activity lasted for just over an hour with some short periods of reflection as we moved around the boards. Sharon stayed at the canvas and each of the children got an opportunity to work alongside her and discuss their work.
Technically the work involved a great deal of concentration and energy as well as allowing time to drip the paint onto the surface. Jackson Pollock’s tools never actually touched the canvas on which he was working so the concepts of BALANCE,CONTROL and GRAVITY were important aspects of the children’s work. Again there was immense concentration on the part of the children; many of them found that they had to restrain themselves from pouring the paint onto the canvas instead of allowing gravity to play a part and control how they could drip the paint onto the surface in fine angel hair lines and criss-cross patterns as well as the splatter effect which was more random. Encouraging the children to control the flow of paint, and to exercise patience and restraint posed too great of a challenge for some pupils who chose quantity over quality. Keeping the paint pots full as the groups moved around the boards was not a simple task, and altogether we used over 12 litres of paint as well as a fair amount of PVA glue and several litres of water.
The end results were pretty amazing and the children were justifiably proud of their results. Moving the boards out of the room to dry proved tricky and there was some movement of paint took place during this procedure however it did not detract from the overall effect.
And this was all before morning break!!!!
The second part of the session involved linking up with Marie Murphy, a lecturer in Sports studies in the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. Sharon thought it would be a good idea if the children explored further the concepts of BALANCE and CONTROL. we had a very interesting and physical session in which the children explored balance and control using their bodies. They were only too happy to participate in these activities and enjoyed the challenge of balancing using different parts of our body to control and distribute our weight. Professor Murphy gave the children some tips as to how they could distribute their weight and maintain their balance for longer.