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Young artists at work ... and on show.

Jackson Pollock fans had better watch out. A hot new school of West Coast abstract juvenile expressionism is beginning to get gallery space--and the young, undiscovered artists are hungry. In fact, they're willing to work for cookies, milk, and a few hugs from their mom and dad.

Commissioned by patrons (and parents) Victoria and Ross Caulum, artists Kelsey, Benjamin, and Bailey (ages 5, 3, and 1) produced two monumental works to fill the empty walls of their new home in Diamond Bar, California. They consented to reveal their technique to Sunset readers in the hope that it might inspire painters of similar stature.

Working with a limited palette (four colors of nontoxic, interior acrylic paint selected by their parents) and one canvas (a 12- by 15-foot drop cloth from a paint store), the young daubers created their masterpiece in about 30 minutes of intense, paint-splattered activity. "I even got paint on my underwear," confides Kelsey.

The children shared the three main paint colors--peach, green, and slate--which coordinated with the house decor. A fourth color, a dark blue, was held in reserve, then splattered and dribbled over the canvas. The artists worked from plastic roller trays, applying paint to canvas with inexpensive foam brushes and sponges--and an occasional bare foot. They concentrated on painting the vertical surface; the part covering the patio decking caught their spills and footprints.

When paint and inspiration ran out, the canvas was left to dry and the artists were hosed off. Cleanup was easy because they wore painters' hats and disposable smocks cut from a white sheet and tacked together with a glue gun.

The next day, the sharp-eyed parents cut two rectangles from the former drop cloth--one from the painted portion, the other from the area the children had stood upon. Then they stretched and stapled each to a wood frame, finishing the edges with a painted lath trim. The Caulums estimate that the total cost was about $85.
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Whiteley, Peter O.
Publication:Sunset
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:324
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