When you look at the painting below, what do you see? American artist Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011) was an Abstract Expressionist; these artists used line, shape, and color to express themselves.
Frankenthaler invented her own painting technique, which she called “soak staining.” First, she added turpentine to her oil paints to make them thinner (and very runny!). Then, she laid a cotton canvas flat on the floor, and poured, dripped, and brushed the paint onto its surface. Since her canvases were unprimed, or raw, the paint soaked into the fabric.
The swirling lines and shapes in Frankenthaler’s works show how her arms moved across the canvas. Look at the painting below. Can you try to copy the artist’s movement? Now, it’s your turn to try “soak staining”! Follow a few easy steps to create your own Helen Frankenthaler–inspired masterpiece.