I do not literally paint that table, but the emotion it produces upon me. - Henri Matisse
Henri Matisse was a French painter famous for his bold use of colour and shape to express his emotions. The work of Matisse was a focus to teach students about an artistic movement that shares and evokes emotions.
Over the period of a few days I had the opportunity to work in Room 13, a Year 1-2 class, Room 3, a Year 3-4 class and Room 8, a Year 5-6 class. I chose Matisse as the integrated focus in each of these classes. Supporting their class inquiries into the use of visual art to show movement.
Room 13 watched videos of the picture books Matisse’s Garden and When Picasso met Matisse and discussed the colours and shapes that Matisse used throughout his career.
We learnt about Matisse and the patterns, colours and flowers he created Austin
Matisse painted many still life compositions - often featuring vases of flowers or plants. Room 13 worked to create a three-sided vase showcasing three different Matisse inspired designs.
We used dye, crayons, painting and cutting shapes out to make our Matisse vases Tomas
Room 3, focussed on Matisse’s still life work. Students studied examples of his work, discussing his use of colour and shape. Then a still life composition was introduced for them to create a Matisse inspired representation of. Interesting challenge in perspective.
Lots of “we can’t draw that!” and “that’s too hard to draw!” were heard around the room. When the students were reminded that each of these items were simple shapes they were keen to get going and sketch out the still life.
In order to obtain the vibrant colours typical of the work of Matisse, students used crayons to colour the items in their still life sketches.
The backgrounds of Matisse’s still life works often featured patterns. Students used crayon and dye to recreate the patterned backgrounds.
Room 8, read articles about Matisse, studied examples of his work and discussed the key features of his works. The students also spent time sketching 3D shapes in order to be able to draw still life items that were proportionally correct.
The students were introduced to their still life composition, and because of the practise drawing 3D shapes, were confident to jump in and have a go.
Room 8 students were challenged further by the choice of medium used - pastels. Pastels can be tricky (and messy) to use.
The final products, as in the other two classes, were truly Matisse inspired!
Key Words: Visual Art, Still Life, Matisse