Is this a painter's movie or could you watch this going in blind?
I think for the average viewer there may have been some ambivalence of watching this movie. You kind of need to know the rivalries of the artist, how he fits into art history and maybe his part determining how he fell for Lee Krasner. That being said, the timing is limited to how much you can show in the film. The wild side of Jackson being a perpetual drunk as soon as he started drinking and brief periods of sobriety lead to interesting scenes and story for the general audience. Another take away is that it was really one of the first American artists to break out of the European dominance in art, so you see the progression from being an artist to breaking into the drip style painting.
I was quite impressed with the actor Ed Harris to capture the painter style of Pollock and be believable. There are scenes where he paints his masterpiece the Guggenheim mural or adds a bit to a painting with Lee present that really come off as a true painter. Normally, this is extremely difficult to pull off as it takes years for an artist to develop and to copy is another level up. The masterpiece you know Ed isn't technically painting correctly as Pollock, but it definitely captures the style and how the artist actually attacked the canvas. Keep in mind 90% of actors don't even learn to type for movie where they play administrative work or even writers, which is ridiculous for most parts played. So Ed's portrayal of painting is impressive.
How did you think of Lee Krasner played by Marcia Gay Harden?
Her role was really crucial to Pollock's initial success as he really didn't like to connect and hobnob per say with the collector crowd, but liked to go and drink with drinking buddies. Funny enough, I know many artists this is true of that go to art openings of their own works and just hang with fellow artists not really socially immersing in the collector crowd. So Lee, loved to wriggle over gallery dates, sales and reaching out to writers that could make or break the artist sales. Without Lee, it is doubtful Pollock would have made it as far as he did to get noticed by writers and collectors to be the breakout artist. Of course, this is speculation, but a lot can be said for a woman can make or break a man.
What could have been improved in the film?
I think for the non-painter you need to place Jackson firmly within the regionalist painters with Benton and then lead into his straying to different art groups that really launched him later to be famous. So I was really looking for the piece how he studied under Benton and then revolted against his key developing artist style. This was brushed over in the film and you really only get some of the references if you read the book (which I'm about midway through).
Another crucial element really glossed over was the fact his other two brothers could do realistic painting much better than Pollock, which always lead Jackson to self-doubt, but also striving to beat them. You can't under-estimate this impact had in developing Jackson to take on the leading artists in New York later.
Another element missing in the movie is the early painting days of struggling in the WPA under Roosevelt in the late 30s to early 40s. This was crucial to develop Pollock as a regular painter working on large murals in a subservient manner, but learning all the time. Also his competitive brothers kind of didn't survive this period of desparation, which really allowed Jackson to leap ahead of them artistically. Additionally, the WPA allowed Lee to develop as a team leader of artists, which served her so well later to develop all the contacts, sales, writers for Jackson to catapult to success in the mid 40s to 50s.
Have you ever done any drip style painting?
In fact yes, I did 3 paintings. It took a tremendous amount of time as my version had dense layering to get the look I was looking for. These works I turned over and over again to get drips flowing vertically. I must have turned those paintings 150 times each. The first work I called "30 Days of Night" after one of my favorite vampire films of all time just for the made up vampire tongue.
The 2nd work was about the Exxon spill off the Gulf of Mexico and how the CEO just quit under the stress of the event rather than seeing it through to resolution. I just had to dedicate the work to the fickleness of some leaders like Tony Howard. Both of these works are sold.