Level V-Art Lesson 7: The California Almond Orchard
Learn to use one-point perspective and learn pointillist painting techniques
The lesson is suitable for students in grade 7 through adult.
Art Lesson Description
In March, the almond orchards of California burst into bloom—pink blooms against a bright blue sky. This spring, one orchardist (a brother of ArtAchieve’s owner) sent a picture of his orchard at the time when there were as many petals on the ground as there were in the trees.
The image of the orchard with its trees in straight rows, and its pink petals sprinkled against the sky and and on the ground, suggested two important art concepts:
- pointillism, and
- one-point perspective.
The lesson begins by using the orchard’s arrangement to teach the principles of one-point perspective. Then it introduces Georges Seurat, the pioneer of pointillism, and compares his use of color with other pointillists' methods. After a brief warm-up that gets students to try painting dots of color with Q-tips, students create their own version of the orchard, using what they have learned about both pointillism and one-point perspective.
This lesson includes both POWERPOINT and VIDEO versions of the lesson. No printed warm-up is needed for the lesson.
List of Supplies for Each Student:
- A 6” x 8” scrap of paper for painting practice
- 1 sheet of 11" x 15" watercolor paper (#ad)
- For paint “brushes”: Cotton swabs (#ad) a very dull, flat-tipped pencil, and a 1/2” flat brush or #6 round brush
- A 2H drawing pencil (#ad)
- A ruler
- Several colors of tempera paints (#ad) or acrylic paints (#ad)
- Drawing board (#ad) (Make your own by cutting an 18" x 24" piece of 1/4" masonite)
- Paint palette (#ad)
- Masking tape (#ad)
Suggestions for Cross-Curricular Connections:
For Younger Students:
- Georges Seurat (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) (#ad) by Mike Venezia, a book about Seurat, about pointillism, and about his painting, “Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.” Highly recommended for ages 6 and up.
- How Artists See: The Weather: Sun, Wind, Snow, Rain (#ad) by Colleen Carroll. The book introduces basic artistic concepts, styles, and techniques, and is lots of fun. Its direct, interactive approach to art promotes self-exploration, self-discovery, and self-expression.
For Older Students:
- The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade that Gave the World Impressionism (#ad) by Ross King. The book provides lots of historical background for Impressionism.
- Paul Signac, 1863-1935 (#ad) by Paul Signac and Marina Bocquillon-Ferretti. The book includes 200 paintings by Signac, who was, like Seurat, a neo-impressionist.
- Welcome to Impressionism.org. The website has a wide-ranging history of impressionism in Paris.
Seurat Pointillism by Lorri: A video about Seurat that explains his color theory and how he used it.
Wonderopolis: What is Pointillism? An informative website about pointillism.
The link between the rise of photography and Impressionism: Learn how photography influenced the rise of impressionism.
- Learn to identify trees: https://www.treemusketeers.net/tree-identification/
Approximate Time to Complete the Art Lesson:
- Painting the warm-up: 30 minutes
- Drawing and painting the orchard: 3-5 hours
- Total time: 3.5 - 5.5 hours