what colors did seurat use on a sunday afternoon
In 1881, after studying at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, followed by a short spell of military service, Seurat opened a small painter’s studio in Paris while continuing his studies on the tonal effects of colour, with a series of conte crayon drawings. He was determined to develop an intellectual style of painting that would open up new possibilities for art. The technique he settled on – later nicknamed ‘Pointillism’ by the art critic Felix Feneon (1861-1944) – involved the use of small touches of pure colour, which are not mixed but placed side by side on the canvas. When viewed from a certain distance, these touches of colour blend together. In effect, the colour pigments are mixed together by the eye, rather than by the artist. The whole idea is to make the colours more luminous and shimmering than they would be if mixed on the palette. See also: Colour Theory in Fine Art Painting.
NOTE: Seurat’s 19th century colour palette comprised the usual colour pigments of the time, including vermilion, cobalt blue and emerald green. He also used the then-new pigment zinc yellow (zinc chromate), mainly for yellow highlights in the sunlit grass, but additionally in combination with blue and orange hues. Unfortunately, the zinc yellow has gradually darkened to a brownish colour, a process detectable even in Seurat’s lifetime.
First, the students draw in pencil a simple geometric shape with thin lines on a piece of paper. Alternativly, you can download and print out our templates, which can immediately be used in class.
Material for this lesson:
The May 1976 issue of Playboy magazine featured Nancy Cameron—Playmate of the Month in January 1974—on its cover, superimposed on the painting in similar style. The often hidden bunny logo was disguised as one of the millions of dots. 
The results of investigation into the discoloration of this painting have been ingeniously combined with further research into natural aging of paints to digitally rejuvenate the painting.  
Individuals never did interest Seurat, only their formal elegance and the way they contributed to the overall perfect balance of the composition. As a result, this high class get-away for the Parisian community appears to be terrifyingly still – although we assume children would be running around and that dogs would be barking, the impression we receive is of silence, of control, of no disorder whatsoever. Even those who came to this mile-long island in pairs seem alone in their concise form.
At first glance, the viewer sees many different people relaxing in a park by the river and nothing appears out of the ordinary. On the right, a fashionable couple is on a stroll. On the left, another well-dressed woman extends her fishing pole over the water. There is a small man with a black hat looking at the river, a white dog with a brown head, a man playing a horn, two soldiers standing at attention, a couple admiring their infant child, etc.
The main compromise of using a pointillist technique is the sacrifice it requires of intricate drawing and brushwork. This is most evident in the faces of the subjects; however, Seurat did a good job with rendering the subjects using just dots of paint.
Here are just a few of his sketches: