Georges Seurat
"Sunday Afternoon on the
Island of La Grande Jatte"

Drawing a picture by only making dots appears to be a difficult task at first. The French painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891) even created a completely new style in art: the "pointillism".

Georges Seurat - "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"


Original students’ picture

Artistic painting with the Pelikan Paintbox K12

With the release of this series Pelikan "K12 – the original", we would like to make an exclusive suggestion for a topic for your next art lesson, by working with the Pelikan paintbox. Center of interest hereby is the work of the artist Georges Seurat.

Material for this lesson:

Paintbox K12 – the original, Pelikan paint brushes of different sizes and with different kind of bristles, a sketch block and cotton swabs.


"Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"
1884-1886

Course of the lesson "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"

Drawing a picture by only making dots appears to be a difficult task at first. The French painter Georges Seurat (1859-1891) even created a completely new style in art: the "pointillism". In this technique, looking at a single dot alone has no effect, but when you look at the entire picture in the whole, you can see how the dots harmonize with each other to a picture.

If you look at the picture standing further away, the dots form up to colorful objects or dimensional pictures. On the one hand, this technique is reminiscent of the way of antique mosaics and on the other hand it reminds us of the principle of our modern way of printing process.

This is how it works:

 

  1. Download the material pack "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" from the internet.
  2. Print the picture template:
    • Antique mosaics, floor motives
    • Frogs’ eye
    • Newspaper clipping (Color checkpoints)

      These pictures leave room for conversation: Antique floors with single, colorful tiles; An enlarged computer picture made of colorful pixels and color checkpoints in a four colored print of a newspaper.

 

  1. Animate your students to find out what these pictures have in common. The following thoughts might be helpful:
    • Is it the material? E. g. rocks, paper or canvas?
    • Is it the colors?
    • Could it be the motives?
    • Is it the way the pictures are made, the technique?
  2. When the children have found out, that the shown surfaces, patterns or objects consist of small single dots, you can now let them think of ways and means on how to make dots on their own.
  3. Talk about the strategy with your students: First dot easy motives, later on more complex pictures by stamping several layers of paint ontop of each other.
  4. The students dot their pictures.
  5. A discussion of the work technique with its advantages and disadvantages deepens this part of the lesson. During the discussion the aspect of modern printing techniques can be mentioned (see illustrates on download template). The template can also be printed on an overhead transparency and be shown on an overhead projector. This shows clearly how innovative Seurat had already been working back then.

Tip:
It’s important to always give clear instructions! Therefore choose "your" way and combine the materials at will.

Possibilites to differentiate

First it’s suggesting to dot the dots with a paint brush on the paper sheet. Hereby the students are supposed to try out the various numbers of different thick paint brushes, so they can experience the different effects. Stamping with corks or other small, round devices is also imaginable.

The dotting technique with a cotton swab (confetti effect)

A variation on dotting with a paint brush offers the cotton swab. For this, the colors can be prepared with the paint brush, as normal, by giving a few drops of water into the color. Mix the color with your paint brush so long, until you can see small bubbles in the color. Then fill the color into the small color saucer in the lid. From there you can easily dip your cotton swab into the color and dot it on your sheet of paper.


The dots are dotted on the sheet of paper with a cotton swab. (Examples for dotted areas with a cotton swab.)

Color the dots

Of course it is also possible to first let the students color different dots. You can always use our download templates for this. A house is already recognizeable. The students simply color the rest of the dots, e. g. with color markers.


Template from the download pack "House made of dots".

Simple, sketched out figures

First, the students draw in pencil a simple geometric shape with thin lines on a piece of paper. Alternativly, you can download and print out our templates, which can immediately be used in class.


The template with the simple shapes can be downloaded and immediately be used in class.

Then you fill the mixing saucer in the lid of the K12 paintbox with a larger amount of the previously mixed color (see confetti technique). For the beginning, the primary colors yellow, magenta-red and cyan-blue will do perfectly.

Now dip the cotton swab in one of the mixed colors, e. g. magenta-red and stamp the previously sketched motives. Then fill the space around the shape with a second primary color, e. g. cyan-blue.
In the end over-print the entire page with the third primary color, in our case yellow.


First dot the plain heart with magenta-red, then surround it with cyan-blue dots and finally overstamp it with yellow


Detailed instructions for the briefly described technique are included in the download pack.

Animate your students to try out different kinds of color combinations. Often the effect is surprising.


Different combination of colors: Yellow and magenta-red; magenta-red and cyan-blue;


Here the colors yellow, magenta-red and cyan-blue were dotted in balanced proportions. The secondary colors orange, violet and green appear clearly as well.

Working with confetti

Another option to demonstrate the dotting technique is using real confetti. Scatter the confetti on a large piece of paper. Then let the students form the scattered confetti to a simple shape, e .g. a rectangle or a house, by using a ruler or a piece of card board paper. Alternatively you can download our template; it is a house with extra thick outlines, so that the students can put the confetti together more easily.


Download the template "House" for the confetti excercise

Additional advice:

Dotting shape
A picture seems more natural and much more alive when its dots are made with a paint brush, because the dots aren’t perfectly round-shaped like they are when you print or stamp the motives.

Color effect
The effect, which a color has on a picture made of dots, is determined by the number of dots of the particular color. It means, that the more dots there are of one color, the stronger the mixed color will tend to have that shade.

Working with the "Circle of color"
In order to receive a certain shade of a color, working with the Pelikan "Circle of Color" can be very helpful. It will show you with which primary colors a certain color can be mixed.

Complementary contrasts
It can also be interesting to use certain color combinations and their color effects. So it is imaginable to only work with contrast colors in order to create a complementary contrast. For this, 2 complementary colors are stamped directly beside each other. The contrast colors can also easily be read from the "Circle of Color".

Varying motives
Not only simple motives, like a house or a heart, can be dotted, but also more complex pictures. Pelikan "Teachers’ Info" offers you to download the additional template "wind mill".


The download template "Wind mill" to color with dots.

Alternatively you can also download other drawing templates at Pelikan "Teacher’s Info" for immediate use in class.

Students’ works as visual aids

Here we would like to present you some students’ works, which can also be used in class as a visual aid.

Georges Seurat

  • 1859 George Seurat was born on December 2, 1859 in Paris.
  • 1875 He goes to the public drawing school and 3 years later he passes the entrance examination for the university of fine arts.
  • 1880 Seurat opens his first exhibition. He is considered to be the creator of a new style - the Pointillism.
  • 1884-1886 As one of his first famous works he creates the oil painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte".
  • End of ‘80s Seurats motives are: Landscapes by the Seine with people bathing or Strolling, nude painting in his studio and at the end of the 80's more and more scenes out of the circus and music halls.
  • 1890 His son Pierre-George was born. Seurat begins with his picture "Circus", which remains unfinished because of his son's early death.
  • 1891 Only shortly after his son Pierre-George passes away, Seurat, as well, dies on March 29, 1891 at the age of 31 years.