Drip painting

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An example of drip painting techniques used to create a portrait.

Drip painting is a form of art, often abstract art, in which paint is dripped or poured on to the canvas.[1] This style of action painting was experimented with in the first half of the twentieth century by such artists as Francis Picabia, André Masson and Max Ernst, who employed drip painting in his works The Bewildered Planet, and Young Man Intrigued by the Flight of a Non-Euclidean Fly (1942).[2] Ernst used the novel means of painting Lissajous figures by swinging a punctured bucket of paint over a horizontal canvas.[3]

Pollock's studio-floor in Springs, New York, the visual result of being his primary painting surface from 1946 until 1953

Drip painting found particular expression in the work of the mid-twentieth-century artists Janet Sobel—who pioneered the technique[4]—and Jackson Pollock.[2] Pollock found drip painting to his liking, later using the technique almost exclusively. He used unconventional tools like sticks, hardened brushes and even basting syringes[5] to create large and energetic abstract works. Pollock used house or industrial paint to create his paintings—Pollock's wife Lee Krasner described his palette as "typically a can or two of … enamel, thinned to the point he wanted it, standing on the floor besides the rolled-out canvas" and that Pollock used Duco or Davoe and Reynolds brands of house paint.[6] House paint was less viscous than traditional tubes of oil paint, and Pollock thus created his large compositions horizontally to prevent his paint from running. His gestural lines create a unified overall pattern that allows the eye to travel from one of the canvases to the other and back again.[7]

Sources for the drip technique include Navajo sandpainting. Sandpainting was also performed flat on the ground. Another source is the "underpainting" techniques of the Mexican muralists painters. The drip–splash marks made by mural painter David Alfaro Siqueiros allow him to work out his composition of a multitude of Mexican workers and heroes.[8]

Contemporary artists[clarification needed] who have used drip painting include Lynda Benglis,[9] Norman Bluhm,[10] Dan Christensen,[11] Ian Davenport,[12] Ronald Davis,[13] Rodney Graham,[14] John Hoyland,[15] Ronnie Landfield,[16] Zane Lewis,[17] Joan Mitchell,[18] Roxy Paine,[19] Larry Poons,[20] Pat Steir,[21] Andre Thomkins,[22] Zevs and Fred Friedrich.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Drip painting technique and the influence of Jackson Pollock, by Swarez". Swarez Art. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  2. ^ a b Emmerling, Leonhard (2003). Jackson Pollock, 1912-1956. p. 63. ISBN 3-8228-2132-2.
  3. ^ King, M. (2002). "From Max Ernst to Ernst Mach: epistemology in art and science" (PDF). Retrieved 2009-08-11.
  4. ^ Grovier, Kelly (March 8, 2022). "Janet Sobel: The woman written out of history". BBC. Retrieved 2022-03-10.
  5. ^ "Biography of Jackson Pollock". jackson-pollock.org. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  6. ^ "An Interview with Lee Krasner Pollock by B.H.Friedman". christies.com. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  7. ^ Tate. "Gestural – Art Term". Tate. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  8. ^ "All You Need to Know About Mexican Muralism and Muralists". Widewalls. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  9. ^ "Lynda Benglis". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  10. ^ "Norman Bluhm: 1956 - 1960 | Scott White Contemporary Art | Artsy". www.artsy.net. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  11. ^ "Dan Christensen: The Orb Paintings". Issuu. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  12. ^ "1,000 Lines of Colorful Paint Pool into Mesmerizing Puddles at the Venice Biennale". My Modern Met. 2017-09-13. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  13. ^ "Ronald Davis | artnet". www.artnet.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  14. ^ "Rodney Graham (b. 1949), Inverted Drip Painting #47". www.christies.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  15. ^ Tate. "'28. 5. 66', John Hoyland, 1966". Tate. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  16. ^ "VoCA Journal Art & Influence". journal.voca.network. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  17. ^ "Zane Lewis". Widewalls. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  18. ^ "Joan Mitchell. Ladybug. 1957 | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  19. ^ "zingmagazine | issue #4 | reviews | roxy paine". www.zingmagazine.com. Archived from the original on 2019-09-17. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  20. ^ "Larry Poons - Artists - Loretta Howard Gallery". www.lorettahoward.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  21. ^ "Pat Steir - Artists - Locks Gallery". www.locksgallery.com. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
  22. ^ Harren, Natilee (2020). Fluxus Forms: Scores, Multiples, and the Eternal Network. University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-35492-7.