Spilled Paint – deCordova Series

Spilled Paint Aaron Stephan, 2013

Spilled Paint
Aaron Stephan, 2013


Thick, gluey
, gooey
Paint rolls down the hill.

Gushing, rushing
Flowing, slowing
Sticky latex spill.

Gasping, laughing
Children run and play.

Grassy, sunny
Oddly funny
Perfect summer day.

+ + + + +

My third and final Artist Date this summer was a return to a favorite museum and outdoor sculpture garden, the deCordova in Lincoln, MA. There were many new works to admire as well as familiar pieces to revisit. This temporary installation by Aaron Stephan, entitled Spilled Paint, was especially appealing for the way it inspired giggles and playfulness among the preschool set.

Using the deCordova galleries’ “Atrium White,” Stephan’s sculpture brought the inside of the museum outside, a moment frozen in time. Can’t we all recall causing or cleaning similar accidental spills of paint or milk? Surely that is exactly what so delighted these children!

Stephan also re-engineered trash barrels into shiny sculptures:

August 2013 042

And caused roof boards and railings to erupt skyward:

August 2013 068

If you wish to visit the last two posts in my Artist Date series, please follow these links:

Virginia Lee Burton at the Cape Ann Museum, Gloucester MA

Koala’s Lunch at the Stone Zoo, Stoneham MA

More ekphrastic poems and posts from the 2012 deCordova series are linked in the August 2012 bildebok  archives.


About Cathy Ballou Mealey

Children's book author, repped by Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, alumna, autism advocate, book reviewer. Reach me via email at cmealey@post.harvard.edu or Twitter @catballoumealey
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49 Responses to Spilled Paint – deCordova Series

  1. Love the outdoor sculpture garden. Must add to my must see list! I enjoyed Latex Lava poem.

  2. Catherine Johnson says:

    Fun poem, Cathy! That museum looks fab!

  3. Tina Cho says:

    Looks like fun! I like your nice gooey words in your poem!

  4. I love your art series! Another fun poem with rich and gooey language. 🙂

  5. rnewman504 says:

    Wonderful post and poem, Cathy! Would love to venture down to the Virginia Lee Burton Museum one of these days.

  6. jama says:

    I’m stuck on your poem. What a cool installation. Love your artist date series. More, please. 🙂

  7. This place is so on my “to do” list. This, and the Fluff factory.

  8. And your poem is fantastic, by the way!

  9. What a fun museum to visit. I bet the children had a ball examining the spilled paint exhibit. It does put a smile on your face.

  10. You get to the coolest places! And then look what happens: you write the coolest poems!

  11. danacarey1 says:

    Love this, Cathy! You’ve got great museums around you. Fun poem and great pics. You’ve inspired me again.

  12. Ronna Mandel says:

    This post brought me back decades to when I fell into a bucket of paint. I love seeing installations like these to foster imagination and creativity in children (and adults!). Thanks for sharing the poem, the experience and your insights.

  13. izatrapani1 says:

    I love your poem, Cathy! This series is great!

  14. Great poem–and I can imagine the squeals of those preschoolers running around streams of spilled paint.

  15. I went to the deCordova once a long time ago, when we were looking for a spot for our wedding. As I recall, they had some kind of miniature golf/art exhibit at the time?!? Sculpture gardens are a great place to play (in general, not mini-golf), and based on your poem, your Artist Date was clearly a success!

  16. joyacey says:

    I want to touch that spilled latex and your poem is so much fun. Thanks for the giggles.

  17. Wow! I like the Rail-Ship! 😀

  18. dmayr says:

    I live about an hour away, but I haven’t been there in a long, long, long time. I think I’m due for a visit! There’s a place here in NH that you might want to visit, the Andres Institute of Art. http://andresinstitute.org/

  19. Liana says:

    Love the snappy rhythm in your poem!

  20. Museum sounds interesting. I love the poem. The children are cute exploring the outdoor sculpture garden of “Spilled Paint.”

  21. Sue Wang says:

    I enjoy what you feature and your photos. Nice eye and poem! I think I would love to spill some paint with impunity. This artist (and you) makes us think outside the box, which is always needed 🙂

  22. Pingback: Make Way for Animal Tales: Sculpture by Nancy Schön | bildebok from Cathy Ballou Mealey

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