Henri Matisse is considered one of the most influential painters of the 21st century, and one of the leading Modernists. Known for his use of vibrant colors and simple forms, Matisse helped to bring in a new approach to art. His style of painting is known as a "Fauvism," which means wild beast. Later in his life, Matisse began to create cut out paper artworks, which are wonderful examples to share with 2nd grade students. With this project, I combine matisse’s cut out style with animals in their environment. Students choose their own animal, and create the background to match which environment that animal lives in. Encouraging details helps students to identify the parts of the animal and the objects that would reside in their environment.
-10.5" x 16" light blue paper (or dark blue, depending on the time of day)
-12" x 18" colored paper for frame
-colored paper scraps
(Science Connection) Students will discuss animals and the environments they live in. They should demonstrate their knowledge of animals and their environments by creating an artwork displaying an animal in its habitat.
(Art) Students will construct an artwork by using geometric and organic shares. Students will also demonstrate perspective by creating the background first, and working their way toward the foreground.
I love this project because I'm able to use all the scraps I have collected over time. I begin the project by briefly discussing animals in their habitats. SInce Kindergarten, students have plenty of prior knowledge of where animals live around the world. Next, I tie in the style of paper cutting by the artist Henri Matisse. Once students see that famous artists have worked with materials they have worked with before, they are eager to try it out themselves.
(40 minute class periods) Day 1: Start by having students create the habitat for the animal, which would be the background. Explain what would be needed for the sky and ground.
Day 2: Give examples of basic geometric shapes used to make the main parts of the animal. Have students draw and cut out the big shapes first, the add the finer details on top.
Day 3: Final wrap up day for details! Do the students have a sun or a moon? what about different colors for the water to show waves? Does the animal have whiskers? Spots? Stripes? Once they're finished, add the 12" x 18" colored paper for a frame!
Here's some of the finished examples! As many times as I say "no corner suns," they still sneak it in!