My class is visiting the art museum today. I can’t wait! I sit at the front of the bus, next to the art teacher.
We’re going to look at a painting called A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat. It shows a park in France. We’ve seen pictures of the painting at school. But now we’ll see the real thing.
“Afterward, we’ll paint our own neighborhood,” I hear Ms. Kattan say.
I stop smiling.
Our bus rolls past garbage and graffiti and old buildings. I sigh. Nothing to paint here.
After a while, we pass skyscrapers and planters filled with forever-greens. I breathe. We’re almost there.
When we stop, I hop off and wave to the bronze lions out front. I know them because Mama cleans offices nearby. But I’ve never been inside the museum.
It’s hushed, like a library. I stand up straight. We climb the stone staircase, and our feet echo. Finally, we reach the painting we came to see.
It’s huge! I spread my arms to float in its shimmery light.
“What do you notice?” Ms. Kattan asks the class.
“Boats!” “A monkey!” kids say.
I shut one eye and tilt my head. “It’s fuzzy,” I say. “Why?”
“This picture is made with tiny dots of paint,” Ms. Kattan says. “This way of painting is called pointillism.”
I call it magic, putting all those dots tight together to show one big sparkling place. I can roll in the soft grass, pet a puppy, dip my toe into the water. I even twirl a sunny-brella, like one of those fancy ladies in that park.
But when Ms. Kattan tells us to be inspired for our own paintings, I tumble back into the real world.
“What’s wrong?” she asks.
“This park doesn’t look like where I live,” I say.
Ms. Kattan smiles. “When you’re the artist, you decide what people see.”
I peer sideways at La Grande Jatte, looking for a clue. Then I spot him. The man in the undershirt. He reminds me of someone. Who?
I’ve got it. He looks just like Poppa G., selling ice pops! I think of my street in summer—when the whole city shines. And suddenly, I know what to paint. I’m the first one back on the bus.
At school, I dab colors for the sun and the sky. I dab kids dunking baskets and racing scooters. I dab workers eating lunch and people sharing stories. A train rattles by.
“Beautiful,” Ms. Kattan says.
But I’m not done until I set myself in the scene. Eating a treat!
I call my painting A Sunny Day on Sia’s Street.
A Look at the Real Painting
Georges Seurat took two years (1884 to 1886) to paint A Sunday on La Grande Jatte. He used a way of painting called pointillism. Tiny dots of color are placed next to each other, and they blend to form one image when viewed from a distance.
The painting is about 7 feet high by 10 feet wide, roughly the size of a single-car garage door. It shows 48 people, 8 boats, 3 dogs, 1 butterfly, and 1 monkey. It is on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.
From Highlights magazine