Saturday, July 23, 2011

Studio Visit: Seurat's Dots

If you look at Seurat's painting "A Sunday on the Ile de La Grande Jatte" you'll see people from every social class, enjoying themselves in a public park. The "Ile" is an island in the Seine in the middle of Paris.

If you look at the painting very closely, you'll see it is made of dots, lots of dots. Seurat was scientifically exploring how we see. He believed that when we see colors, we are actually seeing small dots of red, blue and yellow, and that by putting these dots very close together, your eye will mix them and make different  colors. This idea, is called "pointillism."

Above, is a small section of "La Grande Jatte." This is what it looks like very close-up. You can see the dots and the colors.

To compose "La Grande Jatte," Seurat did many drawings of the people in the park. He used a crayon called Conte crayon, on bumpy paper, to make his drawings look like they were made of dots:

You can create some drawings with Seurat's "dots" effect.
 Buy some conte crayon and some rough paper in an art store. Trace your hand and fill in the shape with the conte. Does the crayon work better on its side? Practice making some shapes and filling them in with the crayon. Try tracing some things. How about some leaves? Try drawing some people. Keep them simple like Seurat did.

George-Pierre Seurat, 1859-1891, was a French Post-Impressionist painter and draftsmanA Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884–1886), is his most famous painting. It changed the direction of modern art and is considered one of the most important paintings of the 19th centurySeurat made several studies for the painting including a smaller version Study 1884–1885, that is in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.

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