Style Myself Matisse!

Submitted by: Tara Lightle, Cedar Hills Elementary, Overland Park, Kansas
UNIT: Matisse - Mixed Media
Lesson: Style Myself Matisse! Self Portrait collage with painting
Grade Level: Elementary (examples are 3rd grade)


Essential Questions:

What is Matisse's style?
In what media did Matisse work?


Objectives: Students will:

  • Explore Matisse's art

  • Identify characteristics of Matisse's style

  • Create a portrait using identified characteristics of his work


18" x 24" (46 x 61 cm) white Drawing Paper.
12" x 9" (30.5 x 23 cm) Construction Paper. (Cut a variety of colors) each student needs 2 pieces
Drawing Pencils., White Glue., Scissors.
Colored Chalk.
Oil Pastels.
Black Tempera Paint. or Prang Watercolor Pan Sets.
Brushes. (optional: Mirrors.)


1       2    3
Click images for larger views



Video: "Dropping in on Matisse"

"Matisse Portraits". by John Klein (for teacher reference)


Examples of Matisse portraits and collage work:


Ask students if they have a style? Do they have certain things they like to wear? Music they like to listen to? Way that they like to talk? All of these things and many more make them uniquely them! If we really get to know you we might even be able to guess what you like and what you don't, because we would know what is more your style.

Just like they do, artists have style. We are going to study the style of one very famous and unique artist his name is Henri Matisse. (Introduce Matisse- through book or video and or prints.)

Talk to them about what they think Matisse likes best in his pictures.

To make sure that students are thinking about each characteristic of Matisse, I don't give them all the directions all at once.


Studio Procedures:

Day 1: First, I will have them pick out two pieces of colored paper and the larger white paper. I will instruct them to think about the pictures they have seen and cut out LARGE shapes. But before they begin give them one last challenge! Tell them they must glue down all the paper. No scraps should be thrown away. Also show them how to glue things down well. (Matisse characteristic - biomorphic and geometric shapes - cut paper collage)

I would only give them about 10 minutes for this, then we get out our pencils. Tell them they are going to be drawing a portrait of themselves (or a classmate if you prefer). Matisse studied many different types of art. He could paint realistic or  abstract. Talk the class through proportions of the face. (characteristic: Painted portraits, abstraction)

Day 2: On the second class, students think about what style is to get warmed up. I ask them what some of the characteristics are that we have used so far on our pictures. After students are finished with their drawing (this might spill over from the last class), then students will add color to the portrait. I caution them- do not fill in the background with chalk; Matisse liked to have some white showing.

Day 3: The third class, students add oil pastel patterns to the background. Then the final touch would be to outline major parts of their picture with black paint. I suggest the face shape and the hair and nose for sure, but they will need to make a decision on mouth, eyes and background


Critique student work - compare to the work of Henri Matisse. What is similar? What is different?



Project: Matisse Self Portrait Collage/Painting

Name ____________________________________ Date ________________ Class ___________




3 pts

Advancing– 2 pts

1 pt


Developing skills at grade level – Shows growth - takes risks to discover

I produce high quality, creative work. I show originality and take risks to learn new.





Understanding and application of Art Concepts and lesson objectives

I apply all art concepts, especially those stressed for the project. I solve problems myself.






Participation and effort

I always participate in class and always use class time well.






Use and care of Materials

I used all materials appropriately with no reminders. I always clean up






I always follow all classroom rules and never cause a classroom disturbance. I am Always helpful.





S+=15-11     S=10-6     NI=5-0     Total



Art Concept(s):

Matisse painted abstract figures and portraits. In later years he worked in collage. Matisse's painting often how bold outlines.


Lesson Objectives: Students

  • Explored Matisse's art

  • Identified characteristics of Matisse's style

  • Created a portrait using identified characteristics of his work

Teacher’s comments:


Parent Signature: _________________________________date______________

National Standards: (Depends on your class discussion how much is covered)


1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes

2. Using knowledge of structures and functions

3. Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas

5. Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others

Students know the differences between materials, techniques, and processes

Students know the differences among visual characteristics and purposes of art in order to convey ideas

Students explore and understand prospective content for works of art

Students understand there are various purposes for creating works of visual art

Students describe how different materials, techniques, and processes cause different responses

Students describe how different expressive features and organizational principles cause different responses

Students select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning

Students describe how people's experiences influence the development of specific artworks

Students use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories

Students use visual structures and functions of art to communicate ideas


Students understand there are different responses to specific artworks

Students use art materials and tools in a safe and responsible manner






Add to or Comment on this Page: