Saturday, January 18, 2014

Pointillism for Children OR Five Minute Art Lesson

The children have been busy this week, sorting our big bucket of mixed up perler beads into bags, according to their shades.  Looking at the bowls full of shaded "pixels" of colors, I was reminded of the pointillistic paintings of the Impressionists. When I mentioned it to the children, I was surprised to find, that not only did they not remember anything about Seurat or Signac, they didn't remember our pencil stamp pointillism paintings, or even making pointillist sugar cookies.

Upon reflection, I realized a couple of years have passed in the meantime, and a quick review was probably in order - a very quick review, in our case, because it was already a busy week.  I pulled out James Mayhew's Katie's Sunday Afternoon, for the younger children...

...and brought up the museum clip from Ferris Bueller's Day Off for the teens - mainly just so I could have them ask, "What's the point of this?" and I could answer, "Pointillism...that's the point, and if you wait to more seconds, it will get to it." - maybe you have to have seen the movie to appreciate the clip.  Regardless, I made them watch it.

Anyway...then I printed out a Seurat coloring sheet from here, scanned it back into the computer, and opened it with the Paint program.  The original coloring sheet was an Adobe file, and I couldn't open it in Paint, which is why I printed it and scanned it back into the computer - but it's certainly possible there is an easier way.

With the coloring sheet opened in Paint in one window, I brought up the same painting through Google's Cultural Institute in another window, so we could zoom right into the fine details of the painting there, for the children to try to match with pencil dots of color on the coloring sheet - focusing in on one small detail, like a boat or a hat, at a time.

Viewing the painting in fine detail, allowed us to see how Seurat used the dots not only to blend colors, but also to create sunlight, shading, and a sense of movement.

Not too bad for a five minute review from the comforts of our living room.  Still, I'm thinking another batch of cookies might really bring it home.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


Ticia said...

Now I'm wondering is that a real museum, because that's a lot of famous art for a museum.

Pointilism is an art form I admire solely because I don't have the patience for it.

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Ticia - It's supposed to be the Art Institute of Chicago.

Melanie Bittinger said...

You are amazing. Thanks for sharing and inspiring. : )

Karen Loethen said...

It IS great to be a homeschooler!

We had a moment like this and, LUCKY US!, our local art museum has a Seurat or two! We scored there and the kids, ages 5 and 8 at the time could speak intelligently and with appreciation of pointillism.
It was EXTRA funny when we went over to my brother's house one day and he was like "TA DA" I just got this new piece of art!
The kids were like, "Yeah, Seurat. We like him and his style of art: pointillism."
My brother kind of deflated. I thought "Did he just learn about this?"


Natalie AfterschoolForSmartyPants said...

This is a pretty cool lesson! I really wish we had more time for art here...