Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

4th Grade Henri Matisse Inspired Abstract Portraits

I LOVE THIS PROJECT! I have done this project last year, at the end of the year, however this year I thought it would be best to start out with it. First, I really wanted to start out with an introduction (review for some) about the placements of the facial feature. The best attribute of this project is that it is abstract so the students don't put too much pressure on themselves to get it as realistic looking as a photograph. They work outside of the box, which I feel adds uniqueness and shows where their inspiration came from.
For this project I showed a powerpoint on Matisse's work, a brief bio of his life and discuss different vocabulary terms, such as, collage, "drawing with scissors", abstract, pattern, blending, proportion, etc.

We started out with a 11" x 17" white construction paper. Hold it vertically. They then drew with scissors. Have them pick a 6" x 9" piece of colored (any colors that are available) and have them cut out shapes WITHOUT drawing lines first, to have their imagination take their scissor where they are suppose to go and not to be so rigid. Have them glue them down with small dots about 1/2 inch from the border.

Once shapes are glued down. Have students follow the teacher step-by-step, drawing the head, neck, shoulders, facial features. Have them do the "trick" where the tops of your ears line up with your eyebrows/ and bottoms of ears line of with nostril, etc.

With medium or thick Sharpie Markers have them trace ALL of their pencil lines.
Then have them fill in by blending chalk pastel their heads, necks, ears and hair colors.
With oil pastel have them fill in a pattern on their shirt and a different pattern on their background.

Check them out, I'm so proud of our students!

Some are not quite finished but look so good!


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog (There's a Dragon in my Art Room). I've been heavily into Matisse this month, and I've already posted a 1st grade Matisse "drawing w/scissors" project, and I've posted a goldfish still life that my 4th grade kids are currently painting. I'll be posting a 2nd grade Matisse project tonight, and still more from the 3rd and 4th graders coming soon, so keep checking back! I love Matisse!!

  2. I know there are so many aspects of his work that has inspired a lot of my lessons. I can't wait to see all of these projects. Oh and I love your first grade Matisse projects.