Splash & Splatter

Splash & Splatter lesson plan

Experiment with Action Painting like Jackson Pollack.

  • 1.

    Jackson Pollock is known for his revolutionary method of painting. Pollock's work from the 1940's are described as field paintings because they had no obvious subject. He immersed himself in his work by stretching his canvas on the floor and approaching it from all angles with drips, splashes, and strokes using sticks and other unusual instruments. This method is termed "Action Painting." Look at his work to capture its feel.

  • 2.

    Try working in the manner of Jackson Pollock. Place white papers in the bottom of a large open box. Put the box on the floor.

  • 3.

    Pollock often chose subtle earth colors for his paintings. Mix Crayola® Washable Kid's Paint with a small amount of Crayola School Glue (to prevent cracking when dry) in recycled squeeze bottles. Mix a variety of browns, blacks, blues, and yellows in varying proportions, or choose your own colors. Add white for a lighter tint. Add a small amount of water so the paint flows smoothly.

  • 4.

    Using sweeping motions, spatter and drip the paint. Enjoy the movement. Change colors as the mood moves you. If a certain area seems to need more paint, drip and spatter there. Use handles of Crayola Paint Brushes or sticks to push and pull the paint, creating an overall abstract effect. If the painting begins to look muddy, stop. Strokes and drips should remain apparent.

  • 5.

    Carefully lift your painting out of the box, and place it on recycled newspaper. It may take some time to dry if the paint is thick.


  • Students research the work of Jackson Pollock, a 20th century painter.
  • Students experiment with splatter-painting methods and discover the meaning of field or action painting, terms used to describe Pollock's abstract work.
  • Children apply paint in gestural drips and sweeps with non-traditional objects in the style of Jackson Pollock.


  • Apply paint by dipping a stick into paint and splattering it on paper inside a box. Add other materials to the paint, such as sand or fine stones.
  • In 1947, Jackson Pollock said, "On the floor I am more at ease, I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk around in it, work from the sides and be literally 'in' the painting." Now that you have painted like this, describe your
  • Invite families to your classroom so that everyone can try painting in Pollock's Splash & Splatter style. Ask families to serve as chaperones for field trips to see exhibits of his work.