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Lesson Plan Submitted by: Gerogina Cullen
Art teacher at Epsom, Auckland, New Zealand
Grades: K - 2nd grades (Y1-2)
After looking at the work of Matisse, focus on his later work on paper collage. Explain why Matisse turned to cutting, ripping paper and look at the techniques he used. Focus on colour and shape, especially the way paper was arranged to create form.
In the first lesson the children did 3 observational drawings in pencil, of still life flowers in a vase. While the children work, talk and get them to focus on specific aspects of the still life. Encourage the children by stopping them and showing others their work and discuss what you like about it. Remind the children to keep looking at the still life while they draw- so they draw what they see. Give them a time limit on each drawing. I gave them 5 minutes for the first, 3 minutes for the second and 1 minute for the third. By the time they get to the last drawing they will be looking only at the most important aspects of the still life.
The second lesson is where you look again at the children's drawings and discuss aspects you liked from each. Discuss with the children that they will be using scissors instead of a pencil to create their picture. They will not draw it first or use rubbers (erasers), just cutting or ripping the coloured paper and gluing it to the black paper. Black paper brings out the colours the best and if you use P.V.A glue it dries quickly and doesn't leave too many marks. Remind the children to think big and fill their paper. Don't let the children glue until they have cut and arranged their paper first. The finished work looks great when framed with bright coloured paper. I found this activity great, as many young children have little or no experience with scissors.
Henri Matisse- The Snail, 1953, Gouache on paper, cut and pasted, on white paper, collection Tate Gallery
Above: A students collage after looking at Matisse's collages.
For the third lesson, time will be needed to discuss rules for painting and your expectations. The children then paint their still life in the style of Matisse- simple lines, shapes and with a limited palette. I gave the children 4 colours- yellow, blue, green, red on white paper again A3 size. When dry, the children outlined with black vivid or similar thick felt. This work looked great displayed on the wall.
Pictures of work by Matisse (especially his later work on paper collage) as motivation
Coloured paper (photocopy strength)
black paper cut to A3 size (12" x 18", 30.5 x 46 cm)
Black vivids (Felt Tip Markers)
Hope you enjoy doing this as much as I did! Parent help is a great idea too- organize this early.
Jersey Online Learning- A collection of projects, including a Matisse collage.
Tenafly Public Schools- A Matisse collage lesson.
Art in English- A Matisse lesson used as art therapy
Art house - They have a Matisse lesson there.
Matisse creating art from a wheelchair- This is the IAD page on artists who create art in spite of their handicaps. Matisse is one of them.
If you want several examples to show students you can get the following prints:
Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors - This book is presented and organized in the style of a grade-school report.
Henri Matisse (Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists) - This popular book series covers all the famous artists. They cover Matisse in this edition.
Sticker Art Shapes: Henri Matisse - The book features six paintings, including Nuit de Noël, by Henri Matisse, whose lively colors and shapes are especially attractive to young children. Each spread has one of Matisse’s famous paintings on one page and an incomplete version on the opposite page. Reusable stickers allow children to experiment with the unfinished creation.