Art Appreciation: Autumn Rhythm by Jackson Pollock

Autumn RhythmWe’re looking at Jackson Pollock’s Autumn Rhythm painting this week. It’s the first time we’ve spent focused time at abstract art, and the twins were intrigued. We had a focused exploration of the piece, trying to find beginning and ends of lines, looking for where they crossed and tangled and became something new. Tracing the lines led to some discussion of mazes, a rabbit trail I would like to follow. There are lots of free printable mazes online, but I don’t think that’s the direction I’d like to do. Maybe we’ll use blocks to build mazes– it’s a shame we don’t still have a hamster in the family! Our Hexbug phase has come and gone, but maybe we can build a maze for hexbugs. Or I could always get out the marble run. Although I’m not looking for worksheet activities, I might make an exception for these number mazes— Matthew especially loves dot markers.

We watched a little bit of a video where the artist simulated how Jackson Pollock painted. The twins loved it and really wanted to try it out. I’m not sure if I’m brave enough to let them stand in the middle of a large piece of paper and fling paint around though. Some other ideas for (slightly) less messy Jackson Pollock painting would be

  • String painting by dipping paint in string and running it in between a folded piece of strong paper.
  • Drip painting by dripping paint onto paper from varying heights.
  • Spatter painting, either by using your thumb to spritz paint off an old toothbrush or by rubbing a brush over a piece of window screen.

No matter how we do it, I’m pretty sure we’ll be doing it outside.

Another rabbit trail that caught the twins’ attention was the title of the piece, Autumn Rhythm. We listened to several different types of music to find which one sounded the most like a Jackson Pollock painting. They both agreed– jazz! The video gave us a name for Pollock’s painting style, action painting. I suspect that whatever whatever kind of painting project we do, we’ll be listening to some jazz as well.


  1. //

    What about silly string outside? With Halloween coming, there’s lots around and it cleans up in no time.
    I love what you did with the painting, especially following lines and extending the activity.

    1. //

      Oh, I love that idea. I think they would really like the novelty of it, plus it would reinforce the idea of “controlled” straight lines vs. lines that go everywhere. Thanks for stopping by. It’s nice to see you here again. 🙂

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