This morning I was pleasantly surprised by a text from my son. It read, “Looking @ Seurat “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte” that print you had. HUGE.” (Eric’s on a business trip to Chicago and went early so he could take in The Art Institute. He had promised to send me a postcard from there. A text was much better.)
I kicked off my slippers and stood still for a moment. Not usual for me on a frenetic Monday morning. Then I took a deep breath and could almost smell the river and park air on that french island. I’d been at the very same museum many years ago and felt as if I was sharing my son’s place in space at that moment. I also felt vindicated for thumb tacking art posters all over my walls when he was growing up. (It was a nightmare filling the holes before I moved.)
The Impressionist painter Seurat (1859-1891) took over two years to complete this painting which my son (and I) were experiencing at that moment. Not surprising since it measures over two by three meters and the space is filled with tiny dots of paint rather than brush strokes. Seurat used a painting technique he invented, called “Pointillism”, because the juxtaposition of paint dots of pure colors applied directly to a canvas are brighter than if the paint was mixed on a palette first. And it produces a glowing effect because of the whitespace between the points. When viewed up close you can see the dots but when viewed from afar you see a beautiful vibrant painting. (If Seurat were alive today, would he be a graphic designer creating pixels on a computer?)
Yes, I am easily distracted. So of course I googled and, lo and behold, found this fun website — http://www.epcomm.com/center/point/point.htm. If you want to exercise your brain, introduce your kids to this art and practice this technique then this is the webplace for you.
I have to admit I spent too much time today at this site creating pretty flowers using dots. Alas, I didn’t get bills paid, nor return phone calls, and was almost late to my Monday on-air reader service gig at KNPR, but it did make me think about how I fill my space with little things that create a big picture. My life space, years/days/hours/minutes, are made up of dots of activities and choices. I get it. When I change my dots, I’ll change what my life looks like. One day/hour/minute at a time. Pointillism, a reality check for us all.