Pointillism is always a fun concept and style of painting to introduce to all level classes in our programs. We recently did this giant fruit painting project with an older class of students and love how it turned out.
First we explained that pointillism is creating a painting with small dots of pure color next to each other to create the illusion of new colors. No mixing and no brush strokes – just dots! We then showed students works made in that style, with Georges Seurat “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of la Grande Jatte” being perhaps the most famous example.
For our class project, we decided to go with a fruit theme, and each student picked one that appealed to them.
The first order of business was to get the kids to think big as they sketched their fruit in pencil.Often times they put a small drawing in the middle of a large piece of paper. For this project – and all pointillism – it really works best to work large. First we had them create their sketch on an 8”x 11” piece of paper, then expand it up to the painting size of 18” x 24”. We made sure their pencil sketches filled the entire piece of paper.
We gave the kids plastic takeout container lids as palettes (we are always trying to reduce/reuse/recycle) and small brushes to get started. As they progressed, they also used cotton swabs to go in for smaller dots. When we do this in our younger classes, we only use the cotton swabs.
We love the way that pointillism gets the kids to think about color. Since no color mixing is involved – the creation of the colors is done by placing the colors next to each other – the kids really have to figure out how to get the color they want.For example, for orange, they will use red dots next to yellow dots – but by using bigger red next to smaller yellow dots, they create a darker orange than if they use bigger yellow and smaller red. We like working on the wall like this so the kids can easily step back and get that “aha!” moment when the colors come together.
Painting in this style takes longer than many other methods, but the kids really enjoyed the process – and the results!