Pointillism is a painting technique developed in the late 1800s, growing out of impressionist art. It is a form of art known as Neo-impressionism, and is represented by the works of Seurat, Signac, and Cross.
These painters used small dots of color, often contrasting, to create the impression of a wider use of color. This technique relies on the fact that our eyes and brains to mix colors we see and blend them naturally. During this time period, color theories were being developed and it was realized that when you blended pure pigments together (particularly the primary colors: red, yellow, and blue), this dulled the color decreasing its intensity. Since light is so important in painting, these painters discovered that if they juxtasposed the pure primary colors next to each other as little dots (instead of mixing the pigments into a new less intense color) that the eye would blend them and the intensity of light would not be lost. This is how they were able to create paintings that appear to glow. Critics today call the technique "Divisionism". But Seurat himself called it "Chromoluminarism" which must mean something like "the illumination of color".
Can we apply this to rug hooking? Yes. I have been experimenting with it while hooking White Tiger Beauty, and I will probably continue to play with this technique in other pieces in the future. In the case of White Tiger Beauty, I am not worrying about luminosity. I am hooking a piece in neutral colors that are not pure pigments but blended to dull the intensity by mixing complementary dyes on my palette.
I am using the technique to create an impression of shaggy hair and multi-textured areas on his face. Here is a step-by-step example of how I am approaching this technique.
1. I am using a xerox b/w to see my values. I will hook the light values (white, #1, #2) in the white areas. I will hook the medium values and overdyed textures (#3 and #4) in the fuzzy areas. I will hook the dark values (black and #7 and #8) in the black areas.
2. I hooked the outline of the ear and then some structural points with my light values. I hooked in the direction of the hair and ear (up) and I did so randomly (not in straight or curved lines).
3. I added white in the white areas.
4. I added dark in the black areas. Notice that there are little spaces left in my hooking. I am not filling all the holes in yet. NOTE: to hook randomly means that the wool is going to cross over on the back of the piece; this cannot be helped.
5. I begin to add medium colors, the cool tones on the top of the ear.
6. I add the warm medium colors on the bottom of the ear, randomly filling in around the light hooking already there.
7. I went back in to the dark areas and filled it out with more dark values, trying to hook different colors of the dark values between each other. This helps the area have movement so it doesn't turn into a blob of black. So there is #8 value of my 11=PURPLE, 10=BLUE-PURPLE, 12=PURPLE-RED, and BLACK, plus the #8 values of each of my neutrals.
8. I filled in around the outside of the white area with light values other than white, mainly #1 values of my neutrals.
Now I have a left ear to match the right ear!