This very special painting, and one that’s a little bit dotty! The Bathers at Asnieres is by a French impressionist artist called Georges Seurat. He was very famous and is particularly well known for creating a style of painting which used very small dots of colour to create scenes. This style of painting is known as pointillism. Now this painting is not quite as dotty as some of Seurat’s later work but if you look carefully, you’ll see that he has used streaks of contrasting colour to create a really vibrant effect.
In the painting, it’s a sunny day and some factory workers are relaxing during a break on the banks of the River Seine. Have you noticed the dog in the front! It looks a little bit like he might be hiding from someone, doesn’t it?
Let’s find out why!
“Shh! Of course, I’m hiding! And you haven’t seen me alright? My young master – he’s the one in the orangey red dotty hat standing in the river – just wants to play. Even though it’s the hottest day in years!
Well, he can carry on whistling! I’m not moving a paw!
These workers have the right idea – they’re just relaxing on the cool grass. This man that I’ve curled up next to is having a snooze – and there’s a tiny bit of shade for me too.
Ha! Look up the river! I can’t believe that on a hot day like today that guy really wants to be rowing those people in that boat. Must be his job! He’s taking those very grand people for a trip down the river. They look far too posh to go for a dip. Mmm, maybe a dunk in the cool water may be just the right thing! Hang on master! I’m coming for a swim!”
Can you paint a picture using pointillism?
How would you start?
It’s always a good idea to practise first making marks when trying a new style. Grab a sketchbook, and get experimenting with colours and shading! Try and draw something simple at first, like a plain vase, and see if you can get bigger and bigger!
What colours would you use?
George Seurat used lots of muted, pastel hues to create his warm sunny afternoon scene. Would you use lots of bright colours? Or would you create something in black and white? Have a go with both and see which one you like best!
Can you try painting other things with pointillism?
Once you’ve tried dotting your way with a vase, try something a bit harder. Perhaps a photo of your dog or cat, or a landscape scene.