Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Henri Matisse Inspiration

Today was another substitute art teacher day for me, this time I was back in the middle school, grades 5 through 8. Often substitute teachers are left with minimal lesson plan direction and I always try to have additional ideas to keep students interested. I noticed a Matisse figure drawing on the wall in the back of the art room and decided it would be interesting to encourage students to use simple lines to create figures. I also suggested they choose colors that reflected the mood they wanted to convey, something Matisse also did in his works. I talked about the artist briefly but I felt it was important the students understood the motivation behind the artist's work.

"Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), considered to be the 20th century’s most important French painter, communicated joy with expressive colors, striking ornamentation and bold patterns. Matisse, whose mother gave him his first art supplies while he was recovering from an illness, described his discovery of art as “a kind of paradise.” He was originally viewed as a Fauvist, and his early works were exceptionally mature. Influenced by Impressionism and Japanese art, Matisse made color a crucial element of his work, and also experimented with expressive abstraction. When he was nearly 80, Matisse volunteered to decorate the Dominican nuns' chapel at Vence, France. Suffering from anxiety, Matisse found serenity in painting". (from Matisse art link)

My Matisse inspired 18" x 12" pastel drawings:

Student pastel drawings:


  1. Robin, I think it's marvelous that you are doing the substitute teaching. It was just a few months ago that you were taking the tests, wasn't it? You move FAST!!
    The Matisse inspired art is so fun and colorful. I love seeing all the art pieces created by you and your students. Looks like a fun day!

  2. Pam, I have also been lucky that the person in charge of placing substitute teachers knows me now and knows I am a licensed art teacher (and professional artist) so she thinks of me when ever an art teacher is out. I love teaching children!

  3. Serenity in painting--I like that. I know your students benefit from your experience as an artist.

  4. Thanks, Sherry. I have a renewed inspiration after this Matisse lesson, his work is so soothing to me.

    I think the act of painting is serene, Hallie, don't you? at least until it changes into problem solving which also happens to me regularly.

  5. Matisse is one of the artist I'm featuring in the online journal class I'm taking.I was concerned about showing his nudes in the workshop gallery to the point of putting swimsuits on them. Seeing the innocence and the beauty of the figures your students have created made me see how dumb I was. Back to nature the way Matisse intended. Thanks! :O)