Mammoth Memory

Georges Seurat Art Project 

To start with, don't worry about creating a huge masterpiece like Seurat's 10ft painting "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte". Pick a small canvas (maybe 200mmx200mm or 8"x8") and a small scene to work with, even something very simple such as a tree by a pond. Once you have the technique down, you can move onto more complex scenes.

Start by lightly sketching out your scene in pencil. 

Start by lightly sketching out your scene in pencil. 

Then, begin building up the dots of paint by dabbing the brush, rather than using strokes. Use blues and green to make the shadows on the grass and yellow and green where the sun would touch. Similarly on the tree trunk, use blues to add to the shadow and yellow for the highlights. Use a colour wheel (see Mammoth Memory colour wheel) and use adjoining brush strokes of different colours rather than blending them, to create an impressionist Seurat painting.

For instance - yellow and blue are used to make green. There are several ways to create green, such as overlaying blue and yellow over the top of each other, mixing them together, or, like Seurat, using many tiny dots of different colours side by side so that from a distance it tricks the eye into seeing green.

Test this method on a spare piece of paper to get a feel of which colours you'll make when putting different colours next to each other. Also try varying how densely grouped your dots are to make lighter and darker shades. The more tightly packed your dots are, the darker it will look and if you space them out, it'll look lighter.

The colour wheel is made up of primary, secondary and tertiary colours. The three primary colours can be used to make up any other colour on the wheel. 

Then, begin building up the dots of paint. Use blues and green to make the shadows on the grass and yellow and green where the sun would touch. Similarly on the tree trunk, use blues to add to the shadow and yellow for the highlights. 

Build up the colours, highlights and shades bit by bit, using white space to give the impression of the water shimmering and clouds in the sky. Add a small amount of red to the tree and around the pond to give the impression of brown and a splash of yellow in the water to give it a slightly green hint. 

Build up the colours. highlights and shades bit by bit, using white space to give the impression of the water shimmering and clouds in the sky. 

Georges Seurat.

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