Monday, June 22, 2015

Painting with Scissors!

Henri Matisse (French Modern Artist, 1869–1954)

This program is for kids in grades 1-3 and focuses on creating art inspired by the French Modern Artist, Henri Matisse. 

When Matisse was older he was struggling with illness and reduced mobility. Because of this, Matisse was not able to paint like he used so he began experimenting with another medium: papercutting. Cutting dramatic shapes from painted paper allowed him to still create striking new works of art. Twenty of these were published in a book under the title Jazz, because of the influence of music on his work, and the spirit of jazz-like spontaneity that influenced his creative process. During this program children will listen to jazz music while creating artwork, just as Matisse once did!

Printable children's biography on Henri Matisse, Matisse coloring sheets, and more at the following link:

Objective: Explore the French modern artist Henri Matisse and experiment with art using gouache, scissors, and paper to recreate a work of their own after one of his cut-outs.


Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter
When Pigasso Met Mootisse by Nina Laden


Jazz music on CD
CD player

Paint dishes
Plain white cardstock paper
Colored construction paper
Butcher paper
Images of Matisse’s artwork

Step 1:  Play jazz music in the background to set the mood for the program. You can explain to children that this type of music is what inspired Matisse to make such spontaneous works of art out of painted paper. So to begin,  first have children play with gouache by painting on a white piece of card stock paper, covering the whole piece of paper and then set aside to dry. Have paint available in bold Matisse colors like blue, orange, yellow, and green.
Step 2:  Read Henri’s Scissors by Jeanette Winter. By reading this book, children will learn that Matisse’s cut outs were created late in Matisse's life when he was confined to a wheelchair, and could not paint anymore.
Step 3: Show children images of Matisse’s cut outs to get an idea of what his art really looked like.
Step 4:  Each child will cut out one largee shape using a full 8” by 11’’ piece of colored paper. Then place the shapes onto the butcher paper. By now, the gouache papers that children painted earlier will have dried so children can create cut-outs from that paper too. Have children sketch shapes lightly on the paper prior to cutting. Remember to hang up many examples of Matisse's art around the room for inspiration.
Step 5: Glue the cut outs down to the large sheet of butcher paper. Have each child decide where they want their placements to go. Agree upon a title for the large masterpiece and add the date at the bottom right corner. For example: Library Jazz, June 26, 2015.
Step 6: If time permits, give children a blank bookmark to color freely or to make a "mini" collage on. They make take this home to complete if they’d like.
Step 7: Hang final Matisse-inspired masterpiece in the Children’s Department!

Here are some pictures of the children from the program I did:

“There are wonderful things in real jazz, the talent for improvisation, the liveliness, the being at one with the audience,” Matisse wrote. That spirit will be cultivated and celebrated during this library program. 

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