Friday, June 26, 2015

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse 

Who does not love color?  Lots of color!  We certainly do and, right now, our hallway is bursting with it.

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
I love all the children's art so much that I am having a difficult time taking it down, so I just keep adding more to our hallway gallery.

Alongside the children's Picasso- and Kadinsky- inspired works are ones inspired by Matisse, Monet and more.  The Matisse ones include both collages and paintings since we've explored Matisse twice this year.

Collaging Time...

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Jack's color choices show his love for orange and precious metal "treasure" colors.

(Note:  Among the links that follow for your convenience are affiliate links to Amazon.  Feel free to read our full disclosure.  Basically, if you click through any links to make any Amazon purchase, we may receive small compensation to help support our family and this blog.  Thank you!)  

Earlier this year, the children and I were introduced to Henri Matisse during a library Art Adventures program.  There, the children listened to Henri's Scissors, viewed print outs of some of Matisse's art, chatted about the artist and his style, made collages and read The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse.  

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Luke was asked to read  The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse to his siblings and others once collaging had been finished.

The collages were inspired by Matisse's "painting with scissors" style.  After illness caused Matisse to be confined to a wheelchair, he took to making cut-outs of papers that had previously been painted by his assistants.  Matisse directed his assistants to arrange these cut-outs in bold, bright, eye-pleasing - and sometimes huge! -  compositions that he envisioned.

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Matisse used cut-outs to create vibrant "outdoor" scenes to surround himself in during his confinement.  Nina followed suit by creating a warm sunny day on what was actually a quite brisk, snowy one!

The library program lasted only about an hour and was one that could easily be replicated by any family, playgroup or co-op. Plus - bonus - collaging projects are inexpensive, open-ended and can likely be done with materials that you may already have at home:  construction paper, interestingly-shaped and textured paper scraps, scissors and glue!

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Luke explored abstract shapes, contrasting colors and varied textures with his collage.

Painting Time...

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Warmth and joy emanate from Nina's abstract Matisse-inspired work!

A couple months after the children enjoyed the Matisse-inspired collaging experience, Luke and Nina tried their hands at another Matisse-inspired work during a painting class taught by a friend of mine.

Matisse was inspired by impressionists and launched a new style of painting called fauvism, in which unnatural colors and bold brush strokes are used, often to express emotion.  Matisse, an abstract modern art, also explored the use of negative space.

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Nina had picked her bright, happy palette and stickers and was awaiting the "go" signal to paint.

Modeling after Matisse, the children were encouraged to use unnatural colors directly from the tube and to paint in an abstract way using distinct negative space. To do this, each child was asked to think of an emotion and, then, to paint an image on a paper canvas which was previously lined with masking tape that would later be peeled off to create negative space.  Foam stickers were also available so the children could add these to their paintings to make interesting shapes of positive or negative space.
Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Luke ignored the fact that there was tape on his paper as he painted an impression of Minecraft right over it.

Luke chose not to use any stickers and went for an impression of Minecraft in bright greens and blues, contrasting with blacks and browns.

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Luke's piece looked a lot different in the making than it did once the tape was taken off and the abstract, negative space aspects came into play.

Nina's artwork was quite different than her brother's.  In fact, each child's work was completely unique, which is something I appreciated about the class our friend Sandy led.  While the styles of the masters were introduced and basic techniques were taught, there were no cookie cutter projects there.  Experimentation and personal creativity were embraced.  

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
I found it interesting that Nina chose to paint around her tape first and then to continue on with her artwork while Luke had simply painted right over his tape.

Nina's mood on the day she painted like Matisse was reflected in the bright, happy colors and stickers that she chose to work with.  Her artistic choice was encouraged and she opted to leave the stickers she had attached to her painting on it as another joy-filled layer of texture in her work.

Reading Time...

Paint (Collage) and Read: Matisse
Luke has mastered reading well enough to be asked to read to others at a library program, but he has not mastered reading while turning pages and holding a book forward for peers to see.  I ended up having to help him hold the book open so everyone could see the beautiful illustrations.  We thought it appropriate that I assisted him, just as Matisse had assistants with the production of his later works of art.

After we were introduced to Matisse at the library program, we took out a couple books about him.  We revisited these and took our a few more titles after the painting class my friend taught.  Among our favorites were:

Many may have heard how Matisse "painted with scissors".  But, did you know he painted with light as well and that he did so for a chapel in France?  I did not until I read Matisse the King of Color, which became my favorite Matisse-related picture book. 

Matisse the King of Color chronicles the true story of a friendship that bloomed between a young nurse named Monique and her elderly patient Matisse, which ultimately resulted in the construction of a chapel at Vence, a place of worship in southern France known for its brilliant stained-glass windows which were designed by Matisse.  

Part biography, part story of friendship and part testimony to the striking evolution of Matisse's work, through illness and into his final years, this picture book engages as much as it inspires.  Bright, cheerful illustrations which draw heavily from Matisse's own collages, illustrations, and paintings draw the readers eye.  A touching story of friendship  and the healing powers of creativity keep the pages turning.  Art.  Relationships.  Service.  Faith.  They all play a part in this pleasingly crafted picture book.

Colorful Dreamer: The Story of Artist Henri Matisse was another fast favorite.   We all enjoyed its visual richness as it depicted Henri Matisse's dreary reality in pencil shares of black, gray, and white contrasted with the vivid works of his imagination in striking, full-color collage, paint, and pencil.  We also appreciated how the lyrical text of the story encouraged readers, like Matisse, to never give up on their dreams. 

In the book, readers learned how Matisse's parents expected him to learn a trade when he grew up, how being a law clerk bored him, and how he continued to dream of a colorful, exciting life.  His dreams came true.  When Matisse started painting and working at his craft of creativity, he overcame his boredom, persisted through hardships, and became one of the most admired and famous artists in the world.  In doing so, he proved that it is never too late to embrace one's calling and find happiness!

Henri's Scissors was the first book we heard about Henri Matisse and is one that we all quite enjoy.  This book summarizes Matisse's early life, and, then, explodes with vibrant color as it spotlights Matisse's "second life", when old and ill, he found great joy in "painting with scissors" through collaging with shapes cut from brightly-colored paper and transforming his sick room into a mystical garden filled with flowers and birds.

Simple text sprinkled with quotes from Matisse himself and clever, eye-capturing design are hallmarks of this book as it depicts how Matisse's work continued to evolve until the day he left this world.  Sensitive, moving and inspirational, the story is a keeper!

The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse was the title that Luke was asked to read to peers at the library.  The illustrations are a beautiful combination of line-drawings, color, and texture within a printmaking style.  The poetic text describes how Matisse, though raised in rather dreary surroundings, found inspiration in his mother's painted plates, fabric weavings and the movement of birds. 

The book tends to wonder more than it authoritatively tells about Matisse's life, which makes it a strong choice for balancing more straight-forward biographies.  Readers come away impacted by the hues, patterns, and iridescence that inspire Matisse's creativity.  It is definitely a book that leans more towards exploring natural and nurtured creative art than towards learning specifics about an artist.  And it is lovely.


Of course, there are many more Matisse books we have yet to enjoy!  I have no doubt we will be revisiting this child-friendly artist again and pouring over some of these then:


Visit other posts in this series:

Who are some of your favorite artists to explore with kids?  What favorite books have you read together about them?


Related Posts with Thumbnails