Matisse Inspired Self-Portraits in Grade One

What happens when you combine paper cutting Matisse style with cool grade one self-portraits ?  An opportunity show off some creativity and have lots of fun! I saw this lesson over at and thought I would give it a go with my grade one crew.  We looked at many of Henri Matisse’s art work especially the collages he made later on in life. Matisse’s art was such a big hit with the kids and they loved the vibrant colors and shapes he used. This is a great time to introduce the terms organic and geometric shapes.

Give your students colored paper so they can cut the whole page up into organic and geometric shapes. I gave each table a tray and suggested  they work as a team. As they cut up their shapes they would place the pieces on the tray for the table to use later.

Next, each student picked a 12×18 piece of paper and using the shapes in the tray, organized their art before gluing down the pieces. It was wonderful to hear students talking about their organic and geometric shapes!

The following art class, we all practiced drawing a self-portrait on an individual white board while using a mirror. Once the kids were confident with their drawing skills, the final part of the project was to draw their self-portrait over the Matisse shapes. First with a pencil, then outlining the self-portrait with a thin black marker and finally with a thick black crayon to make it stand out.  They could use crayons to color in their eyes, hair and clothes.

How gorgeous are these?

Matisse Inspired Collages in Grade Three

Matisse is one of my favorite artists because I love the simplicity of his collages and kids can relate so much to his art in any grade level. We went online to find information about Henri Matisse and his artwork. The kids immediately fell in love with the vibrant colors in his collages and wanted to get to a pair of scisssors as fast as they could.

I set out colored paper around the classroom, glue bottles and scissors and let the kids go for it. I reminded them for this project they could either create panels for their backgrounds and fill them with organic shapes or simply do a collage filled with organic shapes. No pencils were allowed and they had to freely cut away. They also needed to plan their shapes and arrange them before glueing anything down.  

They had such a great time and the result was colorful and beautiful. What do you think?