Second Grade Matisse Windows

Second grade artists have been exploring the collage art of Henri Matisse.  They learned that in 1949, Matisse began one of the greatest projects of his life…a chapel for the Dominican sisters in the town of Vence, France.  He designed every part of the Chapelle du Rosaire, including the beautiful stained glass windows.  Our Matisse window collages are inspired by his “Christmas Eve” piece, and the second graders worked hard to create an eye path, using color and shape, that leads the eye around the collage.

Christmas_Eve_1952 Matisse Window “Christmas Eve”


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As our assessment for this project, second graders did a “Gallery Walk” around the room, admiring each other’s work.  They wrote comments about the pieces they were viewing, and there were great conversations about eye path, shape, and color!

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Big Shoe Review

Third grade artists have been reviewing their curriculum in a fun way…the Big Shoe Review!  After drawing a giant tennis shoe, they illustrated the shoe with images and information about one of their favorite artists.  We learn about many artists throughout the school year, and we focus on three artists at each grade level every year.  This year, third graders learned in depth about “Action Jackson” Pollock, Leonardo DaVinci, and the creator of Blue Dog, Louisiana artist George Rodrigue.  I was impressed that they were also able to recall some of their second and first grade focus artists as well – Henri Matisse, Vincent VanGogh, and Pablo Picasso.

After showing everyone how to draw their giant shoe, I hung posters of our artists on the board and set out many art books for them to peruse.  Check out some of the cool shoes!

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Matisse and The Eye Path

Second grade artists have been learning about Henri Matisse and his beautiful cut paper collages.  They created their own cut paper collage in the style of his “Beasts of the Sea” piece.  They quickly became experts at cutting spirals and finding the beauty in their positive and negative cut shapes.

  Matisse – Beasts of the Sea

Here are two of our collages.

I love to introduce my second graders to the concept of an “eye path” with this lesson.  We talk about ways an artist can make the viewer’s eye move around the artwork – by using color and shape that is carefully placed in the picture.  Then I challenge them to create an eye path of their own as they create their compositions.

This year we spent some time looking at our finished pieces and finding each others’ eye paths.  The conversations at each table were absolutely fabulous – my kiddos were so excited to talk about their work to each other!  We practiced first about the polite way to talk about each others work, and how we might add “constructive criticism” such as “what if you put another shape here” and “my eye wanders off the picture here, could you add another spiral to bring the eye path around the corner”…..and they did it!