Monday, January 30, 2012

Henri Matisse-Inspired "Beasts of the Sea"

I am forever thankful to Henri Matisse for creating work that translates with such ease to Art Education. Colors! Patterns! Textures! The opportunities to incorporate Art Elements and Design Principles are enough to send any Art teacher into raptures. The students seem to love Matisse's bright, playful compositions. We turn a slideshow of his paintings and cutouts into a guessing game:
  • What patterns can you find?
  • What shapes do you see?
  • What do you think the title of this artwork should be?
Henri Matisse is classified as a Fauve artist, a group known for its use of intensely bright, non-representational color. The name translates to "wild beast." Thus, we chose to study a Matisse work by the title Beasts of the Sea (1950).

Students began with a roughly 8"x18" piece of watercolor paper. Each student chose three colors of watercolor paint, limiting the palette to create UNITY in our artwork. With these colors, we created two vertical columns, stacking boxes of various sizes. In the following art class, we practiced cutting out spirals (tricky), long curvy shapes, short spiky shapes, and even the splatter shapes Matisse was so fond of. Shapes were carefully arranged to create BALANCE in the composition before being glued down. We had some extra time, so students had the opportunity to glue the finished work to a black background paper and create a pattern in the border.

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