Matisse Artist Study

by Jimmie Lanley on March 11, 2010

We’re about halfway finished with our study of Matisse, our artist for the term. There’s no real reason why this term is Matisse except that we had an over-sized Matisse art book on hand.  I just randomly choose artists for us to study. And I think that if you’re trying to begin artist study, it doesn’t really matter where you start. Just choose an artist and plunge in. The artist doesn’t have to tie into your history lessons at all.

matisse artist study reproduction

Sprite has asked me several times why Matisse and Picasso were always painting nudes. So she noticed. Yes, well, I’m not exactly sure myself. (But I ventured a convoluted explanation anyway.) We tend to skip over the nude paintings and sculptures for our daily art narrations. I don’t go so far as to rip out the pages or black them out. We just flip over them and get to a piece that doesn’t cause so much discomfort.

matisse bio notebooking pageBooks

Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors (Smart About Art)

I love, love, love this series of books. They are so interesting and full of graphics.

Henri Matisse art spine

CM said to study one artist per term with one painting every one to two weeks. But we do a painting daily.


Artist biography page from History Scribe.


Since Matisse did some of his art by cutting out shapes from painted paper, we chose to do a collage style reproduction. To make it really interesting, Sprite chose one of Matisse’s paintings to reproduce from cut out paper shapes.

matisse artist study reproduction

matisse artist study reproduction

matisse artist study reproduction

Sprite’s is the smaller one on the left. Mine is the larger one on the right. It was a really fun activity, and far more challenging that I imagined.

matisse artist study reproduction

Matisse Reproductions

See how simple artist study is? Actually, you don’t even have to do the notebooking page or the reproduction at all. Just a regular exposure to the artwork of one artist each term is all you need. [By the way, this post compiles many weeks of study, so don’t think that we do this kind of in-depth art study daily.]

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Dana March 11, 2010 at 12:58 pm

WOW!!! I love the last project you and Sprite did. You both did incredible jobs!!! I love it.

And, we study artists but not exactly the CM way. But, we are both learning so much about art and artists! I think you just need to keep talking about art, doing art, etc. 🙂
.-= Dana´s last blog ..Traditions: Doughnut Shop =-.


Sybille March 11, 2010 at 3:00 pm

What a great job she did!! I LOVE your artist studies!
We also did a bit of Matisse last summer, if you want to take a look:
Have a nice day!!
.-= Sybille´s last blog ..Neue Zeitschnur-Kärtchen *** Aggiornando la corda del tempo =-.


Paula March 11, 2010 at 3:03 pm

We read ‘Henri Matisse: Drawing with Scissors’ yesterday!
It gets bad reviews on Amazon, but like you, I do not agree: it is a lovely book.
We did our scissors’ experiment yesterday as well. I will mail you our blog-post on Matisse. Never thought it would be so nice to make cutting-outs. Sprite’s art-work is great.


Jimmie March 11, 2010 at 6:27 pm

@Paula — Bad reviews? Really!? I think it’s a fantastic book. Ah well, to each his own.


silvia March 11, 2010 at 8:21 pm

I sometimes read the reviews get confused…we also enjoyed that book Drawing with scissors with my daughters…and jimmie, sorry but Sprite’s more plump lady is closer to the original 🙂
.-= silvia´s last blog ..Susan Bauer’s comparison between Classic Education and Charlotte Mason =-.


Sarah at SmallWorld March 11, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Absolutely fantastic!! Love it!
.-= Sarah at SmallWorld´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday: Woodpecker =-.


Cindy March 11, 2010 at 9:32 pm

Guess what we’re studying this month?? LOVE the cut out reproduction!
.-= Cindy´s last blog ..WWII =-.


Kris March 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Wow! Sprite did a great job! I love the way you did the project with paper cut-outs. Very creative and fun idea. We’ve GOT to get back to artist study. Our afternoons have been so busy lately, we’ve cut out just about everything but the (state) required basics. Not nearly as much fun.

Thanks for another great idea.
.-= Kris @ Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers´s last blog ..Review: Er-u-di-tion =-.


Paula March 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm

I uploaded our Matisse cut-outs session (see website). Painters might look down on paper-cutting, but it isn’t easy at all. Again, Sprite did a good job.


Drue March 12, 2010 at 2:41 am

I totally think you guys do this in-depth stuff daily! Your ideas and posts are always so inspiring. Great work both of you. The last 2 posts show how much Sprite has matured and her organization skills are great.


Samantha March 12, 2010 at 5:37 am

Lovely job on the reproductions! We did a project like that when I was teaching a once a week art co-op. I like the idea of having a painting to look at as reference. The kids came up with their own cut out creations. I was able to find a website with Matisse style stencils to use but, alas, the link was lost over time. Great artist study!
.-= Samantha´s last blog ..Styrofoam Model of the Solar System =-.


J's mom March 12, 2010 at 7:00 am

Wow, that’s amazing.

She looks so proud.


Dawn March 12, 2010 at 9:40 am

Wow! That is wonderful. I like the project. I will bookmark this idea. I love all of the creative stuff you do with your dd.


nichole March 12, 2010 at 10:11 am

never been a big matisse or picasso fan, but I really like that particular painting, and the paper cutting picture Sprite made…what a good job!


Marsha March 12, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Oh that is such a brilliant idea to make a reproduction out of cut paper. I am sure such a hands-on activity would cement that painting and artist in her mind. Great job on the painting, Sprite (and you too, Jimmy)!
.-= Marsha´s last blog ..spring, sprang, sprung =-.


Stefanie March 16, 2010 at 5:55 am

I LOVE your project. They came out so great!

Yes, we’ve been slacking in our artists study. Shamefully, we haven’t done one at all this year. We did just finally add our regular art lessons back in, now that I’ve basically figured out how to somewhat pacify the tot during school.

You’re inspiring me to try and get it back in there though.
.-= Stefanie´s last blog ..Muffin Tin Monday: Green =-.


Marv November 17, 2010 at 3:41 am

Here’s a couple Matisse links that I found on one of my favorite sites:


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