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Mesmerizing Matisse

The colors, patterns and shapes of this Matisse inspired still life will mesmerize you.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Share the book, “Dropping in on Matisse” by Pamela Geiger Stephens with your students as a read aloud. Lead a group discussion about the amazing life of Henri Matisse.
    2. Focus on the early career of Henri Matisse as a Post-Impressionist and a Fauvist. Lead a group critique comparing Matisse’s still life paintings “Red Room-1908”, “The Goldfish Bowl-1912”, and “The Lute”. His use of color, shape and pattern is striking.
    3. Next create Matisse-like still life drawings on 12” x 18” (30.48 cm x 45.72 cm) watercolor paper using Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils. Place a fish bowl in the still life and fill the space with geometric and organic shapes and patterns. Place living and inanimate objects on the table to create a strong composition.
    4. Ask students to put smocks on and place recycled newspaper on work surfaces. Trace over the preliminary colored pencil drawing with a colorful Crayola Oil Pastels.
    5. Next, place water cups and brushes out on tables. Finish the still life by painting any white areas with vibrant Crayola Educational Watercolors. Place contrasting colors together for a bold result.
    6. Once complete, display these stunning still life drawings on bulletin boards.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    MA: Draw and identify lines and angles, and classify shapes by properties of their lines and angles.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    VA: Apply visual organization strategies to design and produce a work of art, design, or media that clearly communicates information or ideas.

    VA: Students will investigate, plan, and work through materials and ideas to make works of art and design.

    VA: Identify and interpret works of art or design that reveal ways people live around the world and what they value.

  • Adaptations

    Read the book, “Oooh! Matisse” by Mil Niepold. This book has bright close-ups of Matisse’s most famous collages. Show students some of the collages such as, “Panel with Mask-1947” and “Polynesie La Ciel”. Have students use Crayola construction paper and Crayola scissors to make a Matisse inspired name collage. Students should make the letters of their name and shapes with vibrant colors. Use Crayola glue to adhere to a background paper.

    Matisse designed stained glass windows. Look at his “La Chapelle du Rosaire de Vence” windows, “Christmas Eve” and Verve-Nuit de Noel”. Have students draw organic Matisse-like shapes with Crayola glue on black Crayola construction paper. Once dry, use Crayola drawing chalk to add color. The end result will look similar to a stained glass window with bold black lines and vivid colors.


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