Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Homeschool Files : Art and Artists - Matisse


As you may have gathered from many of my posts, we spend a lot of time crafting and drawing. This probably began because it's something I enjoy doing and the kids do too. It's also because I believe it's really important for people to have different ways of expressing themselves and art is one valuable form alongside, dance, music, talking about our feelings, writing and many others.

Recently we have been working on Matisse. It began when we decided to spend some time drawing bodies using our wooden artist's doll. After we'd done sketching over several days and sessions, I wanted to offer the children another way of representing bodies and I immediately thought of Matisse. Both his paintings and his later collages represent bodies beautifully in ways that reveal their underlying shapes and fill them with movement.

We began by looking at some Matisse pictures online. We talked a bit about the pictures and I shared a bit with the kids about Matisse particularly how he turned to collage when he got older and he couldn't paint anymore because of rheumatism. This led to a discussion about frustration and how you can deal with it before we got stuck into collaging.

Dancing man

I placed all our collage materials in the middle of the table. These include old magazines, newspaper, wrapping paper, speciality papers such as origami, tissue paper etc and painted paper, snippets of paper the children have stamped on, kraft paper etc. Basically anything that I think could possibly be interesting goes in the box (ok boxes now- shh). I also put out a pair of scissor each and a couple of glue sticks, everyone having their own tools makes for much less squabbling in our house.

I put the artist's doll back in the middle of the table and let one of the kids arrange his body the way they wanted. Maya decided to begin with a cat rather than a person, I worked on a man mirroring the artist doll's position. The youngest two decided they would just use the papers to do a collage and spent a lot of time with the magazines cutting out anything that interested them.

Man and his cat
For me the important thing about this sort of activity is that we're doing it together and that it is a proposition that the children can take up and run with as they wish. Quite often I find myself alone or just with one child at the beginning, but the fact that mum's doing it often means that by the time I've finished everyone has joined in and carries on long after I've moved on to getting the tea or running the hoover around. 

Pink Flamingo
I was really pleased with how my artwork turned out and the children's too. It's been a really fun project and one we're continuing with as you can see from the photos, using it to explore our experiences at Branféré Animal park. For the younger children collaging is a great activity for their fine motor skills and the littlest one also had fun hunting through magazines for specific colours or objects we named.


If you want to do this kind of art activity at home you'll need:
  • collage materials 
  • glue sticks
  • A4 or bigger sheets of paper
  • scissors
Remember anything can be collage material, you could even do the same as Matisse and make your own materials first by painting paper. You could also work on another artist. Copying great artists has always been a part of artistic training and is a great way to think about how art represents the world and to learn knew skill sets.

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