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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Matisse inspired Still Life collage


What beautiful, vibrant colors! I love intermediate color.
The third grade artists have been studying intermediate colors and the color wheel. I have to say, my students love, love, love color and to paint. One of the best ways to practice color mixing and understanding color hues is painting. I've found that elementary student painters are very eager to swish paint brushes around and mix color until the cows come home.  The only drawback with that is that colors tend to get muddy when over mixed and intended subject matter gets lost when young painters blend together wet paint.

This is what happens when you mix all the colors together...blech!

One of the biggest lessons I learned teaching elementary students last year is that when I ask them to paint an image, their final artworks would lack definition and their paint colors would get muddy. This made me think, "how can I allow for colorful, painted expression without losing the subject matter?"  So, as usual, I explored my favorite art education blogs for solutions. I looked to the aptly named, wonderful blog, called The Painted Paper.  Laura, a veteran art educator from Ohio, provides almost limitless examples of how her students mix paint on paper first, then collage that painted paper as a composition. "Eureka!", she has a solution! 

One of my favorite views.
Taking a cue from Laura's Painted Paper, I can ask my students to mix paint, which they LOVE to do, in a structured way, and be empowered by using their painted paper to create a final work of art.

So, I did.

We studied the work of Henri Mattisse. We examined his still life paintings and discussed in depth what makes a still life vs. a landscape or portrait.
Henri Matisse, "Still Life with Lemons", 1943
We then set to painting paper. I had the students divide 12x18 white construction paper into half. The one half they painted their favorite intermediate color. The other side was divided into half again and they painted that their 2nd favorite color. The bottom half was divided into 3rds and they painted those the last of the 3 intermediate colors left.
I love this red-orange!

I love the way the water wash bowl looks. Also, check out that blue-violet!
Mixing paint, but under control.
The next art class they cut their paper up into the divided colored rectangles. The largest half was to be the background. The 2nd biggest color was to be a table. The other colors were to be cut up into shapes that can serve as still life objects, a la Henri Matisse.  They could be as creative as they wished.

Draw, cut, collage.

Look at those textures. I created texture combs with recycled plastic lids. They students could choose to drag those through wet paint to add a variety of textures.
Collage takes planning.
I suggested they draw on the backside of the painted paper so that it was easier to see their shapes for cutting. They could add oil pastel details if they choose. Here are some of their results.





 What I appreciate most about this project is the variety of results. Each student was given the same parameters and their creative work led them to different results. How interesting! I also appreciate the crispness of their the imagery and vibrancy of their colors. I'll be sure to continue this method of constructing a painting.

Thanks for stopping by!