Olivia with a Jackson Pollock

12:24 PM

I had to join in on the fun as well.

Sometimes I don't have to look any farther for inspiration for an art lesson than my daughter's bookshelf. So my Thursday afternoon group of Kindergarten thru 3rd graders took a look at the adorable (and familiar to all of them) Olivia by Ian Falconer. In the story Olivia's mother takes her to an art museum on rainy days. She always heads straight for her favorite Degas ballet piece. From there she stands in front of Jackson Pollock's Autumn Rhythm #30. Her reaction, "I could do that in about five minutes."
So I thought it would be fun do a line drawing of Olivia the pig with smudged charcoal shadows and her trademark red outfit and combine it with a splattered piece. The boys swapped the sailor dress for a red turtleneck, turning their pig into more of an Oliver. (my apologies to Mr. Falconer :) The children took turns with some Abstract Expressionism using watered down black and white tempera on a sheet of construction paper. The pigs (all so wonderfully different and full of humor and character) were cut out and placed in front of their splattered art piece and mounted on black posterboard. Nice job kids!


  1. LOVE this lesson! Thank you for sharing it!

    Lauren Taylor

  2. Love your Oliva's! So darn cute!!!

  3. Hi Mary, I just read your comment on Erica's blog (art project girl) and I wanted to let you know, I think your blog is terrific, and I don't think your projects are "cookie cutter". I especially loved a recent post of absolutely gorgeous masks. But obviously, by running an after school program, your curriculum/goals etc are likely very different than one in a public school system, and I totally understand that. So I hope I haven't offended you in any way. I read your blog all the time and hope you'll continue to check mine out. Maybe I'll stay away from controversy for a while.... ?!

  4. I'm putting this here so you're sure to read it:) Cute is probably the wrong word that I used! Because many projects we do are so adorably cute because they come from the cutest artists in the world KIDS! There's no getting around it kids are CUTE! I love that your kids are LEARNING about line drawings, cultures, literacy, artists, Pollock. There is nothing more close to art education than that! I would put my kid in your class (if I had one.) I have had smaller classes and you can do MORE projects with steps that scaffold on what they've previously learned. So you can bring the kids further faster. That is always a good thing. That is what every parent wants for their child.

  5. Phyl and Erica,

    Thanks for your comments. I will of course continue to follow both of your wonderful blogs. There is nothing wrong with agreeing to disagree.I didn't mean to drag others into the fray and have it get so personal. Yikes!

  6. I have this book on my bookshelf and always wanted to do a lesson based on it. This lesson is wonderful. I just love the contrasts with the "Pollock" painting in the background. Very cool.

  7. Hey Mary!!

    I must tell you that I get tons of ideas from your blog!! Your ideas are always so creative and inspiring. Your comment on Erica's blog reminded me that I don't comment enough with rave reviews!!

  8. Love the Olivia Artworks with Jackson Pollock. Did anyone know that at her official website

    There is an interactive game to create a Jackson Pollock art work. Fun for the early finishers.
    Cheers Cheryl H

  9. There is also the Jackson Pollock Interactive.
    It is a bit strange in that once you open it it begins the painting straight away. To save what you have done and print it I use PrtSc SysRq button on the key board.
    Open a word doc and copy it ie Ctr C-
    Then enlarge to fit the page by dragging from one corner until it is over size. Then Print and is required save. There is also an Adobe Acrobat ( PDF) way of saving at the bottom of the screen. Have fun

  10. Thanks for great info regarding the Olivia and Pollock sites Cheryl. I'll definitely check them both out.

  11. Mary, your comment made my day! I've been nervous about using charcoal with my students, but this lesson is a wonderful way to introduce the medium! I need to borrow this one:)

  12. Hi Mary! I love the smudgey look of these little pigs. What a great idea. Thanks for adding my blog to your side bar. Especially since I love your blog and check in often to see what's new.

  13. Hi Mary, I always love new ideas- but what I don't like is finding out about some even more cooler ideas etc just when you finish a project LOL.
    I think it is time i used the idea for my sub teacher when I am busy with setting up the art exhibitions in a couple of weeks time.

  14. oh my gosh! SOOOO cute! i might have to "borrow" this idea! LOVE it!!!

    thanks for sharing!

  15. I just did this project with my 2nd grade students. They did AWESOME and they LOVED it! Splatter painting was a huge hit (as one would expect)! Thank you for such a great inspiration from the cutest book. I had no idea it existed.


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