Paint Like Seurat

Paint Like Seurat- Color and Pointillism lesson for kids.Georges Seurat was born December 2, 1859 and died March 29, 1891. I have really enjoyed learning a bit more about this artist with my art class this last week. I specifically enjoyed reading up on his theories about color. As a neo-impressionist he was a great artist to touch on after having just worked on a van Gogh projects last week.

I had forgotten how much I really love teaching art. Taking the job to teach art for my local art co-op class has already been such a blessing. I have often taught art for our homeschool groups over the years and it had been a while since the opportunity had arisen. It is a real blessing that I can do so again in my current location. I hope it also blesses the kids as well as the moms. Since lots of homeschool moms feel they can’t teach art, even though they really can, I am thankful that I can share what talent I have with them. After all, it’s all about supporting each other!

Paint Like Seurat Tutorial:

I chose to do a project last week with my students from  Artree Magazine which inspired me in instructing my students for this Seurat lesson. It’s part of a wonderful 30 page sample issue from Artree Magazine on Color.  I will surely get future ideas for my art co-op class from the Artee blog site. Eva gives wonderful ideas and suggestions for teaching art to kids weekly! Find additional art ideas from her Pinterest boards too!

Art Appreciation

A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat 1886 oil on canvas.

First, I always talk about the artist and discuss a few of their art pieces. This lesson introduces pointillism as well. Basically it’s a technique that is a form of impressionism where the artist, using dots of color in certain places, gives the “impression” of an image. This cannot be seen close up but far away. Seurat was a master at this.


Practice a new skill- A Pointillism Color Wheel

With this part of the lesson I introduced two new concepts:

  • The Color Wheel: Primary and Secondary Colors
  • Painting only with “dots” or Pointillism
pointillism color wheel

Pointillism Color Wheel


The first idea was to discuss the color wheel and the primary and secondary colors.  I  challenged the children to use this new concept by giving them only primary colors to begin with. So to get the orange, purple and green parts of the color wheel they hard to overlap the right primary dots so that it gives the impression of the desired secondary color. By doing this my objective was to give them an understanding of the following color concepts: the color wheel, primary and secondary colors, and how to mix colors to get the color you want. Second, I introduced painting only with dots. Kids usually want to use lines so it’s a new idea for them. This gives them practice just using dots. Then when they go to do the project for this lesson they understand what I am asking of them.

Applying a new skill- Pointillism Landscape


Whenever I teach I model for the children step by step. The image just above is how my example turned out. The collage below is how the children’s projects turned out. I totally love the children’s work more because it’s much more interesting and unique!

  1. Draw a light sketch of whatever your picture will be of: a fish, a beach, a star, in our case a tree.
  2. Begin adding dots in the desired colors. Since I only gave them primary colors, red-yellow-blue- for this project they got to experiment with mixing colors. (* Note: I get cracked up when moms don’t let kids mix colors because it is an essential art skill. Though I understand that we need to keep our materials nice there should always be some opportunity to mix!)
They sketched first and then painted.

They sketched first and then painted.


I really encouraged the kids to use lots of colors. And to use certain ones for light effects and shadow to give their projects more depth. It’s really important guide them beyond not getting too stuck on using just one color.

The kids were really stuck on making their tree trunks brown so it was good to challenge them to make brown with only primary colors. For those that had suns in their image we also discussed what color the trunk might look on the sunrise side.

In addition, a tip: Using more paint..darker colors. Less paint? Lighter shades. Since we used no white or black paint for this lesson it was a wonderful opportunity to teach how to get the desired color, light or dark by controlling the amount of paint used.


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