Our class has been studying stars and space, and while looking for space themed paintings, Sylvia and I came across John Hoyland, an abstract expressionist.
After viewing several of his paintings and making observations, the children in our class learned about Hoyland’s techniques. He generally used very large canvasses and “stained” the backgrounds first, and then he poured, puddled, squirted, or splashed paint onto his canvas. He generally did not mix colors on a palette or apply the paint with a brush. In addition, Hoyland brainstormed a list of topics/themes that got him excited about painting. Our students did the same. Some of their ideas included “riding on a falcon”, “water bending”, and “skiing and chairlifts”. Next, we found out that Hoyland’s application of paint tied closely with his emotional state that day. The children brainstormed a list of possible emotions and surprised us by not only giving the expected “happy”, “sad”, or “mad”, but also including “confused”, “frustrated”, and “disappointed”. Our students loved experimenting with new painting techniques in Hoyland’s physical/emotional style.
After painting, the children about wrote their own titles by stating an emotion and a noun that described their paintings: