When a color is placed next to another color, a relationship is formed. Each color impacts the other, affecting the way you perceive those colors.
Artists who painted in the Pointillist style were aware of the way our eyes blend colors that are next to each other. Rather than creating forms by blending colors, Pointillist painters dabbed small dots of paint (“points”) of different colors next to each other to create forms.
Georges Seurat was one of the most famous artists to explore Pointillism. His painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (shown above), is a prime example of Pointillism. When viewing the painting at this size, you can’t tell that it is made up of millions of colored dots. But when viewed up-close, like Seurat’s close-up below (from another painting of his, Circus Sideshow), you can see that the images are created from many colored dots painted next to each other and on top of one another.
Pointillist paintings often appear bright with vivid colors, because the colors are not mixed together in the traditional sense on the palette – it is up to the human eye to do the mixing in your mind. The white of the canvas also plays a strong role in making Pointillist paintings appear bright, shining through between the colored dots.
Interestingly, images on TVs and computer screens are made up of tiny dots of color as well. Most printing processes also involve placing dots of color next to each other to create images. Perhaps Pointillist artists were ahead of their time.
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