Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tuesday's Art Adventure: Pointillism

Let's learn about an art technique and a master artist while we make some art.

Pointillism: creating an image using small dots of color. The viewer's eyes will draw the connections and blend the dots into the complete image.

Pointillism was developed by an artist named Georges Seurat in France in 1886. His most famous work is "Sunday Afternoon on the Grand Jette." 
207.5 x 308 cm, Oil on Canvas, located at The Art Institute of Chicago®
  Seurat was an Impressionist painter and so was very interested in painting the effects of color and light. He took the idea a step further and developed pointillism as a way for the viewer to see the purest colors because the artist did not mix them on the canvas, but the viewers mixed them in their eyes. The paintings typically used only primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) and black and white. So where you see green in the painting, dots of blue and yellow were placed next to each other. Where it is lighter, the dots are spaced out more. Where it is darker, the dots are more tightly grouped. Artists who took Impressionist ideas and went in new directions are called post-impressionists.

Let's try it ourselves!
Pointillism pictures:
  • oil pastels
  • paper
  • pencil
  • (alternate supplies)colored pencils, paint and brush or pencil with eraser
In a future lesson I will teach you a simple way to make a photograph larger without having to completely free-hand it. It's a technique that works well with Pointillism, but forgive me, it's summer, and we got caught up playing. :)

Using a pencil have your child draw his or her picture on the paper. 

Small details are hard, so have him or her think of something larger like a flower or two, or a simple house, or not very detailed car. You get the idea.

Options: let them have free reign with any color of pastel. Fill in areas with dots.

Another option, practice color mixing. Give your child red, yellow, blue, and black pastels and have them figure out which combinations lead to the appropriate color.

Oil pastels make nice size dots full of rich color. Most kids find them very enjoyable.
Gabe chose to use all the colors, but at 7 yrs. he understands color mixing. Could have used either option.

Oil pastels are sold just about everywhere:

any craft and art store and most of the big box stores (in those look near the markers and crayons), and they are not very expensive.

If you do not want to purchase them, you could do this with paint as well. Either just use a brush to make dots, or dip a pencil eraser in paint and dot your paper that way. Another option is color pencils. While the least messy option, they also make the smallest dots. I don't recommend pencil for young children; they won't have the patience to complete the picture. 
Case in point: Malachi (3 yrs) just went nuts with dots, no real picture even.
While large pictures can be fun to make, the larger the picture, the longer it takes. If you chose a large image, oil pastels would be the better choice.

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  1. What a fun idea for the kids :) I bet my little guy would enjoy this.

  2. It was so cool to see Sunday Afternoon on the Grand Jette on the Road Rules trip. Wasn't it on the scavenger hunt?

  3. Oh, yeah! I'd forgotten that part. Good times. :)

  4. Very cool! I remember doing a project like this in middle school. We used VERY fine tip markers, and it took me weeks to finish making all of those dots. lol

  5. I took a few Art History classes back in college, and reading this brings back good memories. I'm impressed your teaching your kids about this at such a young age. That's Fantastic!
    Thanks for linking up with Fun for Kids Friday. : )

  6. WoW ! Painting with dots... Incredible ! Never heard of this before.. Thanks for sharing !!!

    Love the work by your kid.. !! Definitely a great fun project for kids...!!


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