Tuesday, April 28, 2015

2nd Grade Art Lesson: Matisse Art Shapes

We are concluding our 2nd grade art lessons focusing on the 7 elements of art by talking about shapes.

We had spent the year going over all seven of them here: Line Shape Form Space Color Value Texture*.

There is never a better artist to talk about shapes then Henri Matisse, the cutout king of shapes!

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)

I started by asking if anyone had ever heard of Henri Matisse, the famous French artist who was told he couldn't draw by his art teacher?  There were a few that had heard of him, but no one had been told the story of how he taught himself to be an artist. 

Mr. Matisse started his life in northern France then moved to Paris to be a lawyer. When he was 21, he got very sick and went home to get well with bed rest at his moms.

She got tired of him in bed all day, so she gave him paint brushes and paper and told him to get some art in. 

He fell in love.

When he got well enough to go back to Paris, he decided that he wanted to be a painter and enrolled in art school.  But his teacher told him he wasn't very good and should stick to law.

Hentri Matisse Reading Girl

Mr. Matisse disagreed, committed himself to learning art, making friends with artists like Vincent Van Goh, and within five years he had an art show where someone from the city purchased artwork for the government.  I bet that teacher was glad he was wrong!

Mr. Matisse loved art so much, he did it night and day.  But when he got to his 80s, it became hard for him to hold a brush, so he picked up scissors and paper and began to cut.

Henti Matisse Cutouts

He referred to this new medium of gouaches decoupes as 'painting with scissors'.  He created fun whimsical and geometric shapes and played around until they became something he was happy with.

When his arthritis became so bad that he could no longer hold scissors, he directed his assistants to cut out the shapes he wanted.  Mr. Matisse continued to make art his whole life.
Henri Matisse Jazz

Our lesson consisted of taking construction paper and cutting it into fun shapes. Then we traced the shaped onto lined paper and colored them in.
Cut outs and trace ins help with fine motor skills

We used rulers and pencils to line our paper, then went over it with Sharpie to make them darker.

We used contrasting colors to make our artwork really pop.  Contrasting cards are opposite each other on the color wheel (red/green, yellow/violet, orange/blue).

We would be creating artwork inspired by Mr. Matisse's underwater series.

Here are just a few of the masterpieces.  (Tip - If you do try this lesson, give yourself two hours.  As you can see, none of the kids completed their artwork, but that just means more art on a different day!)

Here are a few more tips:
Make sure to add Sharpie before you color.

Have a few pieces be larger than your hand.

Color all of one color first to help keep track.
When we finish up the lesson, I'll post the completed works.  Stay tuned!

*(The earlier lessons are not linked because I had not started taking my camera to school.  I will see if I can update just the lessons at a later date)

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