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Art Appreciation

Henri Matisse Acitivities for Kids of All Ages

I cannot iterate how much all ages of kids loved this week’s Henri Matisse inspired activities. Each unique piece was simple enough to instill confidence and came out with the perfection to inspire even the most creatively timid to want to create more! This week was spent with so many smiles, and so much excitement that Matisse’s creative genius has definitely found a special place in my heart.

Of course at the end of last week’s Picasso study we gave a soft opening for Matisse with Pigasso and Mootisse.  And to start this week we did a quick review of impressionism, and how we ‘paint light’.


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Henri Matisse

Day One: Fauvism

Something I absolutely have found that I love about Henri Matisse is all of his vivid use of color!   Before even starting this unit I asked the kids where was their favorite place in the world we have ever been.  I then took photos from each of those places and printed them out large in black and white before going into this day.

The Warm Up: Draw a Henri Matisse Inspired Woman

For the warm up I had the kids open their Summer journals and just take a page to doodle out their Henri Matisse woman.

Is there anyone else in the world I would rather draw with than Ramon?  The kids and I have found a special place in our heart for this talented artist, and he keeps his tutorials simple enough even my five-year-old can follow along.

The Study: Fauvism

Trying to keep our lessons as simple as possible this week.  So our study was simply watching Mrs. G explain the Fauvism basics.

The Project: A Wild, Beastly Adventure

When I came across this on the high school blog arteascuola.com I knew it was exactly how I wanted to introduce fauvism to the kids.  Taking images already in place took the focus from drawing a more on the color.  It also simplified post-impressionism for my youngest who had yet to show much artistic confidence in herself, and refused to try anything that looked too challenging.


  • A black and white print out of their favorite place
  • Oil Pastels

The Project

  1. First I lay out all light wild colors of oil pastels.
  2. The kids identify the light and use the lighter colors to first color in all light places in their image.
  3. Then the kids use the bolder colors to color in the shadows.
  4. I tried to remember the kids to not get so caught up in the details, this was a translation of impressionism after all.  We just need the basic shape.

Day Two: Soft Edges

The Warm Up: Draw a Matisse Inspired Vase

For the warm up we followed the super simple step-by-step guide provided by Kathy Barbro at Art Projects for Kids.

The Study: Soft Edges

We started out watching the not so thrilling, but very well demonstrated video on soft edges.

Then we looked at a couple of Henri Matisse’s paintings and pointed out where and how he used soft edges.


Eager to use the new technique I taped down a large sheet of butcher paper on the table and splatted on two piles of paint, red and blue.  The kids had a blast just playing with the concept, and just painting together in the same space.

The Project: A Matisse Woman Painted

I took a note from a Crayola lesson, but knowing B despises self-portraits, and I had already made him do one last week I decided we would once more draw our Henri Matisse woman, but this time on a bit of a larger scale.



  1. Follow along with Ramon to draw the woman.
  2. Using Fauvist colors and soft edges paint her.

Day Three: Collage

The Warm Up: 

Draw along with Henri Matisse himself!

The Study: Collage

Later in life Henri Matisse survived stomach cancer, but it left him in a wheelchair.  He could no longer stand to paint.  He wondered if he could ever enjoy his passion of art ever again?  Then he discovered collage….

The children’s book Matisse’s Garden is only one of so many about this amazingly colorful artist.

The Project: Basic Collage



  1. Take a moment to observe a few of Matisse’s shapes.
  2. Each child chooses one piece of construction paper.
  3. Then they consider the colors they may want or the patter or design they will create.
  4. Then the child will cut other sheets of construction paper of various colors.
  5. Before gluing it is advised to plan placement of the entire piece.
  6. Glue.

Day Four: Mixed Media

The Study: Summing Up Henri Matisse

The Project: Mixed Media Studio



  1. On the canvas I placed a few scattered blobs of paint on their paper.
  2. With a plastic knife they spread the paint all over the canvas.  (Be careful not to over mix the colors)
  3. Pulling out scrapbook paper books I had each child choose 3 sheets of paper.
  4. On one of the lighter sheets they were to draw one last Matisse face alongside the video from Warm Up 3.
  5. Go over face with marker.
  6. Now they can cut the papers however they want to tell a story, build a garden, whatever, it’s their work of art.
  7. Place the shapes on their still partially wet canvas, and with a little glue spread on the back of the scraps they can start to create their art.


Planning to try these great works?!  I want to see!!  Feel free to post all masterpieces to Instagram and tag it #H2UArtRoom

Additional Inspirations

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