Posted by: MiniMonets | January 24, 2020

Matisse Self Portraits

Greetings Parents,

This is the time of year when I have all my artists create their self-portraits. This is the only project that I teach every year because you not only see how your artist portrays themselves, but their cognitive and fine motor growth. For the first part of the project, we drew a shape for our head and added 2 guidelines, one horizontal and one vertical that intersect in the middle of the face. This divides our face into 4 parts (top/bottom, left/right). This helps the artists to know where the placements of their facial features are. As we drew our faces, it became a wonderful time to learn about, or review, the five senses. I like to start with the sense of sight. The eyes sit on the horizontal line half way from the top of the head to the chin. Next we add the iris, pupil, eyelashes, and eyebrows. Then it is on to the sense of smell. The nose is placed right on the vertical line below the eyes. Noses are great to draw because they come in so many shapes and sizes. Next, is the sense of taste. I always ask artists to draw a smile. It’s their choice to add lips, teeth, or just a closed smile. After we complete the mouth, we move to the sense of hearing. The ears are actually located between the eyebrows and the nose. Finally, we added hair on our heads. If there was room, some students added bodies and the final sense of touch with their hands. We finished our drawings by tracing over with black paint or black sharpies.

At the beginning of our second class, I showed a video from the animated series, Art with Mati and Dada. These short cartoons introduce famous artists in a way that is relatable for young artists. In this episode, they meet Henri Matisse, the Master of Color. I showed the part of the video where Mati and Dada speak with Matisse about his painting, Woman with a Hat. This is a portrait of his wife that he painted in 1905. He used the colors that he felt, not the colors that he saw. When this portrait, and other paintings of his, was shown at Salon, the art critics deemed his art to be the work of Fauves (wild beasts in French). The term Fauve followed him for most of his career. After the video, I showed another portrait, The Green Stripe, where he has literally painted a green stripe down the middle of her face. These two portraits were of his wife, Amelia. I let the artists choose which colors they wanted to paint for their portraits. I wanted to see the colors they feel, not what they see. We left the background simple so that their colorful portraits would be emphasized. 

The objective of this project is to use personal point of view and experiences as sources for creating art. The 5 senses are part of learning about the human body.

The next project will venture into geography and constructing our own bridges.


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