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A-to-Z Challenge: Pointillism

Good evening everyone! Art has always been a relaxing hobby for me. I grew up with a friend who majored in art history and I dabbled in various art techniques after she chatted with me about stuff she’s learned. Today, I will explore a technique called pointillism which takes quite a bit of patience!

I’m gonna backtrack a little bit before pointillism to understand how it came to be. In the 1880s, two new styles of landscape painting were trending: impressionism & tonalism.

  • Impressionists often utilized vigorous brushstrokes and frequently applied paint thickly to their canvases via a technique called impasto. They sought to capture fleeting effects of sunlight and atmosphere. American impressionists preferred to paint everyday life: urban scenes of leisure and recreation.
  • Tonalism uses tonal harmonies to create the style’s heightened sense of intimacy. Some painters muted the detail in their work to create softly contoured representations of nature’s suggestive moments. (ie – twilight and dawn: mists prevails, light is less distinct, hues are susceptible to change). It typically evokes feelings of nostalgia in viewers.

Fast-forward to the post-impressionism era, painters began to try out a new direction in art and favored symbolism, idealism, and romanticism. They began to prefer subjectivity (conceptual) to objectivity (perceived).

In the late 1800’s, Georges Seurat and Paul Signac painted in a style called pointillism using “distinctive points of color to build form and image“.

Georges Seurat’s “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande-Jatte” (1884)

The idea was based on Michel-Eugene Chevreul’s work as a chemist for a tapestry company. He studied the way that different colors contrasted with each other so that his company could develop more attractive tapestries.

  • Chevruel published his research in a treatise describing how colors can impose their complements on adjacent colors. “A red dot placed next to a blue dot can make the blue dot appear greenish because green is red’s complementary color.”

Painters, Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh, were symbolists who grounded their work not merely their observations in nature but in their emotions. I think about how the moon is gleaming so brightly here creating romantic, magical feelings as the wind is swirling in the sky.

Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” (1889)

Modern Day Art Using Pointillism

Photo Credit: Pinterest
Photo Credit: Amber Char Lynn, “New York City Lights”
Photo Credit: CosmicOwl

Previous Posts in 2019 A to Z Challenge

In response to:

  • Word of the Day Challenge: Moon
  • Reference– “The Bedside Baccalaureate” Edited by David Rubel: Page 103- XVIII. The Hudson River School Legacy, Page 287- XVIII. Post Impressionism