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Seurat Pointillism

1 Apr

Georges Seurat lived from 1859-1891. He was a French post-impressionist painter who devised a technique of painting called Pointilism.

Seurat grew up in a wealthy family in Paris and went to the Ecole des Beaux Arts from 1878-79. His first major painting, Bathers at Asnieres, was rejected by the Paris Salon. Seurat joined the independent artists and they formed their own society in 1884. Seurat spent the next two years painting one of his most famous pieces, Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grand Jatte.

Meanwhile scientists were studying color, optical effects, and perception. They noticed that two colors next to each other slightly overlappIng had the effect of another color when viewed from a distance. This is what Pointilism is based on.

Seurat believed that painters could use color to create harmony and emotion in art. Gaiety was shown with warm colors and lines sweeping upward. Calm was depicted by a balance of light and dark colors and horizontal lines. Sadness was shown with dark or cold colors and lines pointing down.

For the lesson, I reviewed slides of Seurat’s artwork and we discussed the emotion depicted in each one. Then we used the theme of space/planets/rockets for the project. I had the kids sketch out their picture in pencil. Then they used q-tips dipped in tempera paint and made dots of color. We had 6 colors on each table for the students to share: red, yellow, blue, green, black and white. When the first color dried, the students could put other colors nearby to form the picture.

Name: Susan Goodall
Lesson Title: Seurat Pointillism
Room#, Grade, Teacher: 5, 1st, Guerrero
Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Georges Seurat/ French Post-Impressionism/ Pointilism
Closing Comments:


PLASTIC – Based on One Plastic Beach

27 Mar

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slideshow of pics

Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been collecting plastic debris off one beach in Northern California for over ten years. Each piece of plastic Richard and Judith pick up comes back to their house, where it gets cleaned, categorized and stored before being used for their art. The couple make sculptures, prints, jewelry and installations with the plastic they find washed up, raising a deeper concern with the problem of plastic pollution in our seas.

The kids chose how they wanted to display their pieces of plastic. They were suspended from cord around a hula hoop. This was to represent what plastic looks like when it is suspended in the ocean waters.

Please reference this wonderful video about the Lang’s journey as a couple, as artists and as curators of that one beach in California.

Room 5, 1st grade, Ms. Guerrero

March 2012 lesson

Docent: Debi Boyette

Art Elements/Principles/Artists Reviewed: Space and Shape/Form

To learn more about their work, visit:

and to learn more about the Gyre: