I set the boys the challenge of using paint to make the smallest and the biggest rainbows they could. Ioan opted to make the smallest one. After using cotton buds to do some Pokemon painting recently, he had an idea he thought would work.


  • Poster paint
  • Cotton buds (the end of a pencil or paintbrush works well too)


Ioan dipped the cotton but in the paint and used it to create a dot on the paper. He started in the centre of the rainbow, then worked his way out.

While he worked, I explained that he had chosen type of art called ‘Pointillism’. Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of colour are applied in patterns to form an image.

Art History

Ioan was interested to discover how Pointillism began, so did some research. He was fascinated that when Georges Seurat and Paul Signac developed the technique in 1886, art critics made fun of their work. Ioan taught me that the term “Pointillism” was coined by art critics in the late 1880s to ridicule the works of these artists. It is now used without its earlier mocking connotation.

‘Parade de Cirque’ (Circus Sideshow) by Georges Seurat, painted 1987-88

Ioan was amazed that the detail in the pictures, was created only by blending coloured dots. He particularly liked how bright and happy Signac’s work was. He kept stepping back to look at the picture from a distance then coming up close to see the dots. He’s keen to have a go at this one day.

Femmes au puits (Women at a well) by Paul Signac, painted 1892

DfES Outcomes for EYFS and National Curriculum (2013)

Art and design

Key Stage 1 Programme of study

  • use a range of materials creatively to design and make products
  • use drawing, painting and sculpture to develop and share their ideas, experiences and imagination
  • develop a wide range of art and design techniques in using colour, pattern, texture, line, shape, form and space
  • learn about the work of a range of artists, craft makers and designers, describing the differences and similarities between different practices and disciplines, and making links to their own work.