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Pointillism – Georges Seurat
By – Stephanie Slatner
Grade Level – 3
Number of Students: 20-25
3.1 The student will identify solutions used by artists to solve visual problems.
3.2 The student will use various art processes and techniques to produce works of art.
Discipline Area: Art Studio
Concept/Goal: Stippling or pointillism is the method of painting, drawing or engraving using small dots.
Activity: The student will create a pointillist artwork from a supplied still life.
Tools; Special Equipment; Supplies: Cray-pas, Paper (preferably colored), Still life subject (provided by teacher)
Vocabulary: Pointillism, Primary, Secondary, Devotion
Present to the student’s Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday in the Park on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Go over vocabulary words and explain the process of pointillism.
Pointillism is a technique of painting in which a lot of tiny dots are combined to form a picture. The reason for doing pointillism instead of a picture with physical mixing is that, supposedly, physically mixing colors dulls them. Most of the painters of Seurat’s time blended the colors to make a picture with a smoother feeling than Seurat’s bright, dotty works.
When two colors are right next to each other your eye mixes them in a process called, “optical mixing.” Using optical mixing rather than physical mixing can create a brighter picture. Painting a pointillist piece is a slow and painstaking process. Seurat’s famous “A Sunday in the Park on the Island of La Grande Jatte” (more commonly known as “Sunday in the Park”), which covered a wall (81 inches by 120 inches), took him two years to complete. He was known for amazing devotion and concentration. The dots in a pointillist painting can be as small as 1/16 of an inch in diameter! Based on these measurements, “Sunday in the Park” has approximately 3,456,000 dots!
Modeling/Demonstration: Starting a new piece with input from the students, I will work from the still life that they are going to be working from and show how to start the artwork. From there I will show them my demonstration model that is finished. I will explain to the students the importance of placement on the page and proportion to the realism of the image.
Checks for Understanding: What is pointillism? What else could it be called? If we wanted to make something look dark, what should we do? Should the dots be close together and bunched up, or far apart?
Closure: Talk a little more about Georges Seurat’s ideas and how they influenced the way in which we drew today? How would this have gone better? Did anyone have something that went wrong? Was this process hard or easy? Display art and let children look at each others interpretations of the same still life. (Maybe break up art activity sometime in the middle the go around and look at other works, gather ideas.)
Back-up Lesson: Have students get in groups with a work by Georges Seurat and write down what is going on in the scene and what each person might be saying or doing.
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