Jackson Pollock - Lavender Mist

Ruth McGinlay   Jackson Pollock ‘Lavender Mist’

From 1947 Pollock began a series of 'drip' paintings and 'Lavender Mist' can be associated with this group of paintings, many of which were simply titled as numbers. Jackson Pollock's groundbreaking work, 'Lavender Mist (Number 1)' was painted in 1950. The painting is housed at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, USA. Pollock created the painting using a variety of materials including enamel house paints which Pollock found easier to work with due to their fluid consistency, apposed to traditional, thicker oil based paints. At the time this experimental use of these paints was an innovative and fresh concept. The painting also includes unorthodox materials such as sand and glass. And by laying the canvas (221 x 300 cm) on the floor Pollock randomly poured or dripped paint over without touching it. In addition a variety of utensils including brushes, knives and sticks were used as well as his hands. This approach to the painting was a radical, unique style in the form of 'drip' painting, seen as a flowing, romantic expression of working. And it is for reasons such as Pollock's movement away from the traditional artists use of an easel, paintbrush and palette he is seen as a pioneer for the movement of 'Abstract Expressionism' and one of the most influential abstract painters of the 20th century.

"The dancelike movements Pollock made during the painting process had frequently been described as encouraging a free flow of unconscious imagery and its immediate communication to the canvas."1

The composition of 'Lavender Mist' emanates the appearance of many live and violent interlacing strings of colour which span the whole area of the canvas. However, because of this system the energetic design succeeds in inducing a sense of controlled chaos. This may be because when producing the painting Pollock entered the canvas and walked over it while sporadically scattering paint from above. I can imagine that...