Jen Stark Inspired Collaborative Murals


“Chromatic Cascade” by Jen Stark,  Los Angeles

Jen Stark herself!


Parking Garage Mural by Jen Stark, Los Angeles


Jen Stark is a Los Angeles based artist known for her psychedelic, brightly colored public murals, many of which feature layers of drip-like forms. I found a middle school lesson online in which individual students created single drip paintings, which were then collaged into a bigger collaborative mural. Here’s my version of the lesson! 

We began by looking at a lot of Stark’s work. Check out her website:

Also, take a look at this cool video!


Students Began by drawing a large drip form on watercolor paper. Start with the small shapes and work your way bigger. Go over the lines with Sharpie when happy with the form.


We then planned a color scheme and lightly wrote the names of each desired color in the appropriate section. (This plan often changed, but I wanted the students to at least begin with some sort of design in mind!)

Using pan watercolors, students mixed their first color in a mixing tray, testing the consistency and vibrancy on test paper. They needed to remix the color several times within each section, and one of our goals was to main a consistent hue for each portion of the drip design.


I  showed them that the neatest way to paint each section was to pull the brush along  the  edges  of  each  section,  outlining  a small  portion, and then fill in the middle.  Always  try  to  keep  the wet  edge  of  the  paint  moving!


One section complete!


Continue painting, alternating sections to allow each part to dry, thus preventing any unwanted mixing or bleeding of sections. REMEMBER TO CHANGE YOUR WATER FREQUENTLY TO PREVENT “MUDDY” COLORS!


Drip Painting  complete!


Students Working.


Students Working.


Cutting out our completed and dried drips.


Cutting out our completed and dried drips.


One class with their collaborative murals! (Note: The black and white drips were drawn the same way, and painted using black India Ink. Each student made one color drip, and one black and white drip.)


Another hallway in our school, awash with color!


A drab hallway bursting with vibrancy! (Early finishers made the “splat” shapes for extra credit!)


A completed class mural. We kept these hanging over the summer and into the beginning of the following school year— No empty bulletin boards to start September, hooray!


NOTE: Tempera paint would be a great medium for this lesson too, and would yield smoother, more consistent results. I chose watercolors because I wanted my students to improve their color mixing and controlled painting skills.

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