In 1935, Lehman
returned to New York. The following year, D.A. Siqueiros along with
the Mexican muralist Orozco came east for the first American Artist's
Congress. Siqueiros and Lehman began organizing an "experimental
workshop" in New York.
many American artists, including Jackson Pollock, while Siqueiros brought
in artists from Mexico and South America. Their purpose was to do experimental
large-scale work using modern technology and materials. Specifically,
no oil paint or canvas was to be used. Automotive enamels and lacquers
on wood panels was their medium. It was during this workshop that the
drip technique was conceived.
Pollock, who did
become a member of this group, would popularize the technique thirteen
years later with his own abstract drip paintings.
Pollock: An American Saga (c1989), Steven Naifeh and Gregory
White Smith say:
No matter how
large the image, Siqueiros never worked from a drawing or a cartoon,
preferring to work directly - in "partnership" with his
materials. He studied the dynamics of paint - its density, its viscosity,
its flow rate - in an effort to incorporate those dynamics into the
image, letting the paint itself help create the painting..."Accidental"
images were also created by pouring paints of different colors onto
a board, then pouring thinner on top. As the thinner began to flow
it would form rivulets though the layers of color, creating "the
most fantastic, weird patterns", Harold Lehman recalls..."
Many of his images started the same way," says Lehman, "
with automatic dissolvings of paint from which he would pick out images
and develop them. That wasn't just one of Siqueiros' techniques, it
was the technique."