“If you are not old enough for this play, Neta, you are definitely old enough for the Museum of Modern Art. How about it?” Aunt Paula took her niece’s hand and led Neta to the main entrance of her favorite museum.
“I love paintings,” Neta gloomily said. Her older sisters went to a fun play while she had to stay with Aunt Paula. Life was not always fair, but Neta tried not to complain.
“We are going to see the Jackson Pollock’s show, “ Aunt Paula announced cheerfully. “You’ll love him.”
They entered the first room with lots of text and photographs on the walls. Neta was only five she couldn’t read. She looked at the photos of a young man and walked over to a painting of wagons pulled by horses. From there she could see into the next room where paintings looked strange. Neta waited for her aunt to catch up. They stopped at each painting and talked a little about what they saw.
In one room there were no paintings at all. Black and white photographs covered the walls. Neta saw the artist at work with brushes and paint cans walking, almost dancing around an enormous canvas on the floor.
“I don’t get it. How could he paint such big paintings?” Neta asked Aunt Paula.
“Let’s see the next room. I bet they are there.”
Two huge paintings hang in the next room. Neta loved them.
“Lavender Mist,” Aunt Paula read.
“I want to walk in that mist.” Neta hurried to the opposite wall. “What is this one called?”
“One,” her aunt answered. “I don’t know why.”
They came to a very colorful square on the floor covered in splashes of paint.
“Just look at this piece of the floor in Pollock’s studio! Can you imagine your dad walking on a floor like that?” Aunt Paula laughed.
Neta laughed with her. “Yes, he would try to wash it off.”
They saw the rest of the show and walked through the museum store.
“Aunt Paula, can we buy a book about these paintings? I want to show Mom and Dad what we saw.”
“Sure thing, we can look at it when we get back to my apartment and later show it to your sisters. They might be sorry they missed it.” Aunt Paula paid for the heavy art book and they left the museum.
At the apartment Neta hurried through her lunch and anxiously got the art book from the paper bag.
“Would you like to paint like Jackson Pollock did?”
Neta could not believe her luck. They spread the entire Sunday edition of the New York Times over the kitchen floor. Aunt Paula made three holes in a big plastic bag and slipped it over Neta’s clothes. She brought a box full of paints -- bottles, tubes, jars, and small cans, a sheet of poster board and an assortment of brushes, forks, sponges and droppers. Then she put a Vivaldi CD on.
Neta was ready to create her masterpiece, but didn’t know how to start. She opened the new art book on a page of black and white photos where the artist is shown splashing the paints with brushes. She chose purple first and drew several lines on the white of the board. Next came the yellow, which she dropped, in small drops around the purple. Neta splashed on the red, then poured the green in different directions, sponged on the blue, and brushed on the orange. The last one was black. Neta walked around her picture stopping at the corners. She closed her eyes and opened them again. After she used all colors several times splashing, dropping, pouring, sponging, and painting with a brush, it was time to step away and let her work dry.
All this time Aunt Paula sat by a window reading a book. When the painting was finished she made two mugs of hot chocolate and came over to admire her niece’s work.
“I didn’t know you were so brave, Neta. I would never be able to use these colors the way you did. You are not afraid of them at all. I like how you mixed them up and made new ones.”
“I just love painting, and I am old enough for that,” Neta said shyly.