68th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (November 22, 2015 — November 24, 2015)

V0066: Painting with flying viscous catenaries: Pollock's recipe

  • Bernardo Palacios, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
  • Sandra Zetina, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
  • Tom Learner, Getty Conservation Institute
  • Roberto Zenit, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1103/APS.DFD.2015.GFM.V0066

This video shows the experimental study that was conducted to understand how certain features of 'Mural' were painted. This piece, which was painted by Jackson Pollock in 1943, contains a number of intriguing patterns. It was painted primarily with brushes; at the time Pollock had not yet developed his famous dripping technique and the canvas was vertical. In several places, fine stringy curly filaments of paint were applied. We conjecture that these filaments were applied by flicking the brushes, such that a high centrifugal acceleration is applied to the paint. This process results in the formation of a flying viscous catenary which, in turn, produces the patterns when it lands on the canvas. We use high speed photography to capture the process and make experiments varying the different parameters that produce catenaries that are used to paint.

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