American abstract expressionism. The case of Jackson Pollock.


This activity explores the artistic current of American Abstract Expressionism that developed after the war in New York and which is the first internationalized artistic movement that leads to new trends in art. We examine the characteristics of abstract art. We analyze and clarify concepts such as composition, balance, abstract and abstract.

We study the case of Jackson Pollock, one of the most important representatives of the movement. We discover the dripping method that first applied and established him as one of the most popular painters in America.

We paint our own works with the dripping method and present them. We create digital projects with the application realized by the Greek visual artist Miltos Manetas and which imitates the style of Pollock. We reflect research and discuss the issues that arise during the implementation of the scenario.

Duration: 90 min

Number of participants: 15 – 20


  • To distinguish the characteristics of abstract art in all its forms
  • To distinguish the characteristics of “Dynamic painting” in relation to those of the “Color field”
  • Understand morphological choices and artistic idiom in Jackson Pollock’s work
  • To be able to distinguish between abstract and abstract concepts.
  • To create their own expressionist works, group and individual with the method of dripping.


Computers, cardboard, paint, brushes, brushes, wood


Exercise flow:

Phase 1: Introduction to Jackson Pollock Expressionism

Phase 2: Creation of works of art with the dripping method

In the first phase of the activity, a reference is made to American Abstract Expressionism, its characteristics and the historical context of the time in which it was developed. 

Art in America in the Postwar Years. New York School, Action Painting. In this phase, its relationship and its influences from the European avant-garde of the early 20th century will be examined. There will be a distinction of Expressionism in “Dynamic Painting” and “Color Field”. “The Irritated” will be mentioned (Characterization of the group of Abstract Expressionists – “Life” Magazine 1951). There will also be a presentation of selected works and artists of Expressionism as well as their analysis. The elements of composition, balance and harmony in abstract expressionist work will be examined and the concepts of abstract and abstract in art in general will be distinguished.

Extensive reference will be made to Jackson Pollock, what is his contribution to the shaping of 20th century art and what are the characteristics of his work. His contribution to the shaping of 20th century art will be emphasized and the characteristics of his work will be examined. We analyze the dripping technique and how we can regain control of the accident. We refer to the importance of visual balance and harmony in the composition. Finally, students will be shown works by painters who have stylistic differences and will discuss them.

The Case for Jackson Pollock, The Art Assignment, PBS Digital Studios

Creation of works of art with the dripping method

In this phase of the activity, it is important for the participants to have an experiential approach to the subject under consideration. Participants are invited to collaborate and compose group or individual abstract expressionist works using the dripping method. Aim is to feel the same creative feeling that Pollock had when he was painting. Our subject will be the very act of painting. Attempts will be made to emphasize the action, the gesture and the movement of the hands in relation to the movement of the body.

The group will be divided into smaller groups based on the expressive interests of the participants and the selection of one of the following activities:

  • Painting with the technique of dripping

Participants will be asked to draw on large pieces of paper (measuring paper) placed on the floor, painting compositions, letting liquid paint fall from above. For this purpose, they will use objects for throwing the paint such as thick brushes, sticks, brushes, etc. The colors that will be used will be paints of the kilo bought from a paint store. For best results and if there is this possibility, the use of tarpaulin is recommended. (instead of measure paper). There should also be enough free space around the surface to be painted so that participants can go around the project and thus everyone participates in the action.

  • Digital work with the dripping method

Participants draw either individually or in groups with the help of software that mimics Pollock’s dripping technique.

The software suggested are:

  1.  The application JACKSONPOLLOCK.ORG developed by the visual artist Miltos Manetas who tries to imitate Pollock’s way of painting.
  2. The DRIPS application of the German Andre Weier that manages to faithfully perform the technique.

Expected outcomes:

At the end of the activity participants will be able to:

  • Βe well acquainted with American abstract expressionism, post-war artistic activity in America, and how it influenced contemporary art.
  • Know and distinguish works of American abstract expressionism and the artistic idiom of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Willem de Cooning etc.
  • Understand the freedom and power of gesture and action in the work of art through Abstract Expressionism.
  • Distinguish the concept of abstract and realize that abstraction leads to spontaneity, emphasis on instinct, subjectivity.
  • Identify elements of balance and harmony in expressionist works.