Monday, February 4, 2008

Paint Your Own Pointillist Picture

On Thursday and Friday you learned about Georges Seurat, the pointillist master responsible for Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte as well as Bathers at Asnieres. Today, try your hand at painting in Seurat’s style.

It is simple to create your own pointillist painting but be warned: this will take some time. This is not a particularly original project but I think it is an effect one. I have not seen it elsewhere adapted for younger kids but they can have fun with pointillism, too.

If you are working with a group of children, I recommend cutting a strip of paper from a roll and having the kids work together to create a simple landscape. This will make the painting less tedious and encourage teamwork. With really young children, use finger paints and have the kids dab the paint on with their fingertips.

Supplies Needed:


Gather your materials. Cover your workspace with newspaper or a drop cloth.

Decide what you want to paint. It is best to choose a simple image like a landscape or seascape. I would also suggest that you start small. Use standard-size computer paper to start. Outline your picture in pencil.

Any type of paint will do but I recommend using a non-toxic variety. Use the eraser end of a pencil to dab the paint onto your paper. Use a different pencil for each color or wash the eraser between uses. Be aware that if you let the paint sit on the eraser for too long it will not wash off. You should have some back-ups ready in case.

When applying the paint, experiment with dabbing blue next to yellow instead of mixing green straight away, or red next to blue for purple. How well does it work? How far away do you have stand for the colors to blend?

When you’ve finished, let your painting dry. Hang and enjoy.

For a variation, try painting on blank cards for a handmade birthday greeting. Maybe use your newly learned pointillist technique to paint a stylized version of the birthday boy or girl. You could also paint small designs on squares of cardstock to use as gift tags.

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Nancycm10 said...

Thank you for all the wonderful info on Georges Seurat. I will be presenting a program on him to a group of third grade students and you have made this wonderfully simple. The activity is a great idea...I hadn't thought of using pencil erasers. Thanks for your wonderful website. I will be back many times!

annie said...

Great post! I think I will use this for my group this week. Thanks for all of your useful and interesting info on the subject! Keep up the GREAT work! It is much appreciated! : )

Jessica said...

I'm glad you both liked the project idea and I hope your lessons went well. It's hard not to have fun painting with a pencil.

Zoanna said...

I taught Seurat to 3rd-6th graders.Definitely tedious but they learned color mixing when they could "see" dots of red next to dots of yellow turn orange.

I used Q-tips to apply paint. Cheap and disposable.

If I teach him again, I will probably use 4x6 index cards for the canvas for anyone younger than 5th grade. Otherwise it takes 2 hours, but they really liked it and still remember it!

Jessica said...

Great idea to limit the "canvas" to 4x6 inches. Creating a large piece of artwork in this style can definitely become tedious!

I have tried the project with both pencil erasers and Q-tips and, while Q-tips are definitely cheaper and a better choice when working with a large number of students, I preferred the result produced by the perfect roundness of the pencil. Thanks for the tip. Q-tips are a great option when completing a project like this.