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Teaching | Scrape Paintings Inspired by Jack Whitten

In the third week of my Olympics-themed curriculum for The Boys' Club of New York, boys explored mark-making with paint inspired by the artists Cy Twombly and Jack Whitten. For this first project, we looked at paintings made by the artist Jack Whitten using palette knives and giant squeegees. Then, boys made their own "scrape" paintings inspired by the artwork. Essentially, they pushed the paint around with plastic objects (scrapers, palette knives, clay tools, etc.) rather than brushes, which allowed them to make beautiful abstract designs. Because Jack Whitten also used a lot of mosaic tiles and other detritus in his work, I gave the boys the option to add glitter, colored rice or beads to their paintings for more texture and dimension.

The boys are divided into three groups, Explorers (elementary school), Juniors (middle school) and Teens (high school), so each project is scaffolded accordingly. For this project, elementary school kids used pre-made plastic scrapers, and middle and high school kids made custom scraping tools out of cut chipboard. Unfortunately, my phone stopped functioning shortly after this project was conducted, and I permanently lost all of my photos. I lost amazing pictures of the boys working on this project, but I was able to take some new ones of their finished work, which you can view below.

You can read more about my summer curriculum for The Boys' Club here:

This one was titled "Land and Water."

Can you guess who made this one?

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