Expressive Pointillism- Self Portrait

Lesson Plan, Grades 7-12, Painting, Mixed Media


Lesson Plan and Artwork by Edwin Leary 

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat (1884- 1886) is recognized as one of his most famous paintings and a primary example of “Pointillism.” Pointillism refers to the technique of using dots to create areas of color. In this lesson plan, non-traditional expressive pointillism will be created using oil pastels and acrylic paint creating images that are more luminous. 


  • Students will research the history of pointillism and its development as an art form and style.
  • Students will study the specific artwork of the artists Georges Seurat and others.
  • Students will use the elements of design to create and balance a composition.

Supplies Needed

Sax True Flow Acrylic Gesso, Quart
Oil Pastels
Sax True Flow Premium Acrylic, Assorted Colors, 0.34 Ounces, Set of 24
Mixed Media Paper, 140 lbs., 9x12, 15 sheet pad
Sax Olympia Pure White Bristle Brush Set, set of 6
*Here are the supplies needed for this lesson plan for reference. Find a convenient carousel of shoppable products for this lesson below.


Standard #1: Generate and conceptualize artistic ideas and work.
Standard #2: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Standard #4: Analyze, interpret, and select artistic work for presentation.
Standard #8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Standard #10: Synthesize and relate knowledge and personal experiences to make art.



Students should explore various examples of Seurat’s work, the color theories of Chevreul, and the works of Signac.


Explain how light, color and shape balance the total composition. 


Apply gesso background to mix media paper.


Take a self-portrait photo, make a black-and-white copy, and enlarge it to approximately 4” x 6”.


Adhere photo to mixed media paper in a position that will allow space to develop a creative background.


Select color palette of acrylics and apply to background spaces to complement photographic visual imagery.


Complement the impressionistic painting marks with broad strokes of large oil pastels.