Jackson Pollock – An Inspiration

Yesterday I went to see the Jackson Pollock exhibition and came away wanting to know a lot more about the artist, his techniques and his life. I scoured the Internet for information, read the catalogue I had brought home from the exhibition and even downloaded the film, ‘Pollock’ directed by Ed Harris. I watched the 1950 Hans Namuth film again; fascinated by the way Pollock worked and later watched the Harris film. I also read about and viewed the work of his wife Lee Krasner and that his ‘rival’ Willem de Kooning. I intend to do further research as I would like to learn more about their work too. I went to bed and had bizarre dreams.

Today I woke up wanting to make some marks on paper.

Last week I had experimented with mark-making , using a variety of papers, media and techniques. I completed exercise 1 and 2 on A3 cartridge paper and then proceeded to Exercise 3, using a broader range of materials and different papers. These papers were all in a pile and I hadn’t done anything with them. I felt a bit stuck, uninspired and wondering whether I had ‘done enough’, eager to get onto the next exercises.

Exercise 1



Exercise 2


Exercise 3

Well, this morning, inspired by learning through my reading that Lee Krasner often cut up and re-worked old paintings and drawings into new pieces, I decided to make a collage of all my experimenting.

I was pleased with the results and I was able to view all my work in one go, which helped me to decide on the next move.





I didn’t really enjoy working on the small pieces of paper but felt that it would be a waste doing everything large as I didn’t need to fill a whole sheet of A4 with every new study. I decided to use all my papers to make a collage on which to try out my mediums and marks. I tore up pieces of coloured paper cardboard, brown paper, tissue, washi paper, god paper, sweet wrappers, used envelopes, clear cellophane; white card etc and stuck them down on a sheet of A3 cartridge paper. I left some white cartridge paper showing. Then, I started off working with black felt pen and continued with: italic black pen; 6B pencil; charcoal pencil; thick felt pen; calligraphy ink applied with range of brushes, toothbrush, chopsticks, straw blowing, end of knitting needle and printed with cork; then I added further detailed marks with silver pen and white pen. I covered the whole sheet with marks. I was able to quickly compare how different materials worked together and how colours changed with different papers. I worked non-stop without thinking about what to do next – I just let my mind go blank and let the ‘art’ take over! I was amazed at how quickly time went and at the end I was exhausted. I was pleased with my mark-making and took pictures. Then I decided to do some close up shots to show the detail. Although this started off as an exercise in mark-making, I feel that I produced a lot in one session which potentially could be used for further studies.

Here is the finished result, followed by some of the close-ups.








After I finished the exercise, I pulled out the poster advertising Pollock’s exhibition and was amazed that I had used similar colours and some similar marks as Pollock – without realising it!



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