Friday, March 1, 2013

Be An Artist: George Seurat

I introduced my students to the French painter George Seurat and explained to them that he was famous for using dots - many tiny dots in his paintings - a technique that is known as Pointillism. His most famous painting, La Grande Jatte, took 3 years to paint and was very large ( 7 feet high by 10 feet wide). I showed them a book that had images of the painting so they could see all the tiny dots. Up close the dots looked separated, but from far away they become a cohesive whole. Then the children chose an image to fill-in with tiny dots and dashes (a cupcake, dog, hearts, a flower). I told them to imagine how George Seurat must have felt painting his enormous painting La Grande Jatte. I asked them if it was easy or hard to fill-in their image with dots? Did their hand hurt? Their answer was "yes" - it was much harder than they thought it would be. Some students used only one color throughout big areas, while others blended several to give their image more dimension. Dots that were small and perfect compared to dots that were wide and imperfect created different feelings as you viewed the artwork. I believe giving students the opportunity to learn by doing is an excellent way for them to better understand different artists and their techniques.