Arts Homeschool Subject

Pumpkin Pointillism: An Art Lesson in Primary Colors

Pumpkin Pointillism

A Pumpkin Pointillism Riddle

How do you make a pumpkin still life using only red, yellow and blue paint? Pumpkin Pointillism, that’s how. It’s an art lesson in primary colors. Just think how impressed your children will be to solve this riddle. In doing this lesson they will also gain an understanding of the primary and secondary colors, not just because they were told about them, but because they used them.

What you will need for this pumpkin project:

  1. pumpkin and grapes (or any purple fruit- in my example I used cabbage) as the object for your still life
  2. red, blue, and yellow tempera paint and a paper plate palate
  3. 8 1/2 x 11 white card stock or  multimedia paper
  4. Q-tips
  5. a pencil

Pumpkin Pointillism Tutorial | Hip Homeschool MomsFollow this simple Pumpkin Pointillism Tutorial.

First introduce the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue, and explain how they make the secondary colors when mixed. But stress that we won’t be mixing the colors to get the color we want. This is the trick to this project. There will be no mixing, only overlapping the colors to get the effect and shades you desire. What mixing that occurs happens on the paper by overlapping your dots. Next discuss pointillism, a technique in which dots are used to create an image. You may want to introduce the artist Georges Seurat before beginning. He perfected the technique and had many interesting theories about color and how to use them. His most famous work was A Sunday Afternoon on La Grande Jatte. Follow these easy steps for a fail proof project:

  1. Begin by sketching the pumpkin and grapes (or other purple fruit) very lightly. Keep it light and just a sketch so that your paint will cover it.
  2. Start with the green stem. Be sure your child begins with the lightest color. Since our stem is green we start with yellow and add blue making only dots. Discourage your child from making lines with the Q tip. Suggest making a line by placing dots close together one after another. It’s good to have some space, but if you have too much blue, add yellow again and if too much yellow add more blue so that you get a green effect. As long as your child is making only dots, the project will remain a pointillism technique.
  3. Now work on the pumpkin using yellow and then red to create the secondary color orange.
  4. Finally do the same with blue and red making your purple fruit.

This project emphasizes technique and color. There should be less focus on creating a perfect image of the pumpkin. Keep the project fun and stress free with success being measured by obtaining the color desired. For older children, more emphasis can be given to placement of the dots to achieve line, contour, and shading desired. For older children, using a smaller tool for the dots may also be in order.

Pumpkin Pointillism | Hip Homeschool Moms

Do this Pumpkin Pointillism Project as part of a Pumpkin Unit Study.

I hope that you will find these books, lessons, recipes, and resources helpful for putting together a perfect unit study for pumpkins.

Adapt this pointillism lesson for another season or project.

You can use this project for anything. The key is using the primary colors; red, blue, and yellow, to make to a painting of something that is solely the secondary colors; orange, green, and purple. This makes the project best for the fall and harvest season, but not limited to it. If you solely want to focus on teaching about pointillism, then any object and colors will do! You can make winter snowflakes, Easter eggs, or summer ice cream cones!

About the author

Stephanie Harrington

Stephanie was a military spouse for 20 years and has homeschooled for more than 17 years. She and her husband of 25 years retired from the military and settled in their native state of Iowa where they continue to homeschool their youngest child. Her homeschool style is eclectic with Charlotte Mason and classical influences. She continues to encourage and support homeschoolers through her writings and curriculum development.
When she isn't teaching or writing she enjoys sightseeing, gardening, and cooking.


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