One of the artists that we studied this year in 3rd grade was Henri Matisse. To provide a little bit of background for students, I walked them through this prezi and we had some table talk about our “take away” from this information. We talked about organic shape, repetition, layering and color schemes.
From there, students were given a class period to brainstorm – and if you get to know me and my lessons, you’ll learn that brainstorming is, in my opinion, an essential step if you want authentic and original ideas from students – even when they’re looking at other artists for inspiration. Students drew organic shapes and experimented with color combinations in their sketches to help finalize their ideas for the project.
During a demo, I showed them how they could plan out their shapes by drawing them and pasting with the pencil not showing. This was for students who I know need that planning and structure to feel comfortable. But, as a challenge, I showed them clips of Henri Matisse cutting shapes “free-hand” and after a quick demonstration of how I cut “free-hand”, I encouraged them to try it. Most all of them did because it created unique and fun shapes.
Students cut out their colorful organic shapes and placed them on their white background – some random, some planned.
Finally, students created bubble letters of their name. The had done this in another class with adjectives and it was great to tie the two experiences together. They pasted their name on their artwork to “claim it as their own” and also provide a great conversation about negative and positive space with their name and the paper that remained. Most students chose to keep their “negative space” as another, separate piece of artwork. This was a very simple, but fun, project for students. They seemed to really like how they could brainstorm their ideas but also come up with new and unique ideas as the project went along.