Pointillism: Making Art with Dots

Pointillism: Making Art with Dots

Pointillism is such an intriguing painting technique, which was developed by Georges Seurat and Paul Signac in the 1880s and featured dots of pure color applied in patterns to form an image. Would you believe that art critics of that time period derided this art and coined the name Pointillism to mock it? Now, this art technique is widely celebrated and Abrakadoodle students love to learn how to create art in this distinctive way.

As opposed to mixing paints from a palette, Pointillism assembles paint spots in bright hues of color such as green, orange and purple. Kids like looking at paintings created in this style because when you look at the painting up close, it looks like a series of dots. When you look at the painting from a distance, you can see a picture. Also, colors change as you move further away from the painting. Up close, dots in blue and yellow may appear to be green when you move further away. The eye plays a trick on us called “optical mixing.” Kids find this type of painting magical.

Few artists practice the technique of Pointillism today because it is very labor intensive. Seurat’s “A Sunday in the Park” took him about two years to finish and contains over  three-million dots!

Encourage your child to make a point of trying Pointillism at home:

  1. Assemble some art materials – paper, pencils, watercolor, small paint brushes, markers or crayons
  2. Your child might have an idea in his or her hear or can choose inspiration from a favorite pet, flower or object or even a shape. Younger children may want to trace the outline of an object.
  3. Start by making an outline of your desired image and notice its shape
  4. Explore and experiment with dots of color – to show off the light, use white dots mixed with bright colors, and for shadows, use darker color dots mixed with bright colors
  5. Patterns will help to create interest, but remember there is no right or wrong way to make art – enjoy the process … that’s the point: to encourage a lifetime of fun with art!