Written & Photographed by A Wild Dove
We partnered with kids learning organization, Shine to bring our latest unique learning experience to the Hamptons. Our mini flock explored the works of Jackson Pollock at the very studio he shared with artist and wife Lee Krasner. The kids channeled the artists’ practices and mediums to create their own diverse works. The result? Nothing short of genius. Read on for a first person account of our exciting collaboration straight from Aaron Goldschmidt, director of Shine and proud member of our Flock...
"We have always loved discussing Jackson Pollock in our art classes, but when asked to create a workshop at the Pollock-Krasner house in East Hampton, we jumped at the opportunity."
We couldn’t wait to craft one of our signature workshops introducing children to art and its concepts in a fun and age-appropriate way.
As always, we began our morning with a discussion, but it was no ordinary talk. We were in Jackson Pollock’s studio! After reading Action Jackson, we discussed Pollock and his work. It’s important to help children understand that Pollock originated an idea about art. His canvases were on the floor and he didn’t use traditional techniques of brush to paper. Instead, his paintings were as alive as he was and made with using his whole body, thus creating “action painting” by throwing, dripping, splattering his paint on the canvas. Pollock wanted people to feel the energy he felt while painting.
We then discussed Pollock’s wife, Lee Krasner, also an important artist although overshadowed by Jackson and her role as caretaker to his troubled life. We noted the progression of her art from small, organic forms inspired by still lifes to the big bold shapes, lines, and colors that was fueled by her emotional state once Pollock died.
Then on to the art. We devised two projects, one representing Pollock and one for Krasner.
A common through line for us was that each artist used movement and action in their work. While Pollock’s were fueled by expression, movement, and rhythm, Krasner’s were more gestural, representing her emotions.
For Pollock, we put out individual canvasses and let the campers choose colors. Pollock loved to listen to jazz as he painted so we listened to some improvisational jazz so the kids could get into their bodies. We mentioned that if Pollock dropped a penny, or if a bug landed in the paint, he would leave it there as part of the art. We actually had a camper leave a piece of rope on her canvas that was used to drip paint.
To encourage action painting, we told everyone to move their whole body, not just an arm or hand, to reach the entire canvas. We told them to experiment with different kinds of lines, varying the height, speed, and angle of actions. The kids were having fun making a mess and getting into their action painting.
For Krasner, we used black ink to create our gestural lines. We asked campers to think about how they were feeling and then move their arms and hands in broad strokes to create bold, expressive lines. Once dried, we returned to add bright colors to our paintings, both individual and group. For the kids, the juxtaposition of using paint for the Pollock and ink and oil pastel for the Krasner gave them a variety of mediums with which to create.
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As we continue to expose kids to a variety of art and artists, it’s important to let them know that not all art is created by standing in front of a canvas and painting landscapes. After spending the day in such an iconic location and bearing witness to the inspiration that fuelled both Pollock and Krasner, it was clear that our art comes from a combination of so many things in our life. Translating concepts of art into everyday activities doesn’t have to be challenging, but rather a way to allow children to see the world a little bit differently. And if we continue to let the world change us, we can change the world, one canvas at a time. Keep Shining…
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As modern mamas living in the over information age, (where everyone is an expert and parenting opinions are shared as freely and easily as an Instagram post) it can be tough to filter through the white noise to find the facts. Naturally, we’d love to consider ourselves wise in all sorts of ways, but the truth is sometimes we’re scrawling SOS in the sand. Good thing we’ve got the guidance and expertise of our own personal rockstars - the people who inspire us on the daily. Our rockstars (our flock) are enthusiasts, professionals and influencers in the fields of wellness, travel, education, style—the list goes on. Each one brings a profoundly different perspective to the table, one informed by their own experiences and outlooks. And that perspective is priceless.
They say it takes a village…we say it takes a flock.