What Is Action Painting?

Action painting is a form of contemporary art that entails splattering, dripping, or even throwing paint onto a large canvas without regard for the image concept. During the process of creating a painting, artists who use this technique place a greater emphasis on the movements of their arms, hands, and bodies. Because of the emphasis on underlying emotions as the driving force behind the spontaneous movements of action painting, this style of painting is frequently associated with the abstract expressionism art movement. Some action painters work in front of a live audience, incorporating a performance art element into their work.

This style of painting is also known as gestural abstraction, and it grew in popularity during the mid-twentieth century as a result of changing attitudes. People began to place less value on formal art paintings that depicted real-life figures and images. Instead, they reacted to abstract paintings’ unique paint patterns because this type of art allowed the subject matter to be completely open to individual interpretation. Many abstract painters who create action paintings believe that their work affects viewers on a subconscious level.

Individual artists usually use different techniques for action painting. Many people have a favorite type of paint, such as oil, acrylic, or even paint from home improvement stores. Other than traditional artist brushes, some artists use other tools. A wisk broom, sponge, or even the artist’s bare hands can be used to apply paint to a canvas. Understanding color theory and continuing to experiment with creative ways to splatter and splash paint on the canvas are the only universal rules that apply to action painting.

Action painting can be done with brushes and canvases in the traditional sense, but it can also be done with digital art software and interactive video installations in the contemporary sense. Some artists use a projector to display their finished digital action paintings on a screen or even an entire wall to create museum exhibits. Others upload their work to large LCD monitors, which display rotating slide shows of their paintings. With displays that allow viewers to add color to a screen holding a digital brush that tracks each hand movement, digital action painting can even involve the audience.