Henri Matisse

LESSON TITLE: Matisse – Drawing with Our Scissors
TEACHER NAME: Jennifer Schupak
CLASS TIME: _45_Minutes _1_Days/week _1_# Session(s)
SUBJECTS COVERED – Famous Artist, Masters, History, Spacial Recognition


  1. Understand the history of Matisse and his paper on paper collages.
  2. Understand what expressionism is and how to create shapes using positive and negative space with the construction paper cut outs.


  • Glue Sticks
  • Scissors
  • 11×17 light colored construction paper or poster board
  • 8×10 colored construction paper


Collage – a picture made by sticking other pictures onto a surface; a composite object or collection (abstract or concrete)

Rhythmic – the art of placing colors and shapes in certain ways to create a flow through space on paper

Organic – creating shapes found in nature, they tend to be soft and irregular

Design – the act of working out the form of something (as by making a sketch or outline or plan)

Inspire – To infuse into the mind; to communicate to the spirit; to convey, as by a divine or supernatural influence; as Matisse inspired other through his work and started a movement

Expressionism – the art of expressing feelings and emotions through colors, shapes and allowing others to feel these emotions when viewing the artists work

Fauvism – french for “wild beats”, an art movement launched in 1905 whose work was characterized by bright and nonnatural colors and simple forms; influenced the expressionists

Positive space – space which is created by cut out paper

Negative space – the shapes that the left over paper creates (Matisse used both in his work)


Matisse, Henri, Henri Matisse, and Henri Matisse. Jazz: Henri Matisse. New York: Braziller, 1983. Print.


Students will listen to a short history lesson about Henri Matisse and his life of showing emotion through his work called expressionism and fauvism. Students will view paper collages by Matisse and share what they think they see in the collages. Allow students to share what they think they see in each collage.

Then share with students how they will be drawing with their scissors, by cutting out organic shapes of colored paper and then sharing what each shape is. Give students the large paper to glue their shapes on. Encourage students to fold paper and cut out shapes and see what they come out with. Allow them to cut out as many as they want. To keep down on wasted paper give students one color paper and encourage students to share. When they run out of one color then give them a new page.

Have students examine the shapes and put them in order on the page before gluing to ensure they are happy with the arrangement on the paper. They can glue them on the 11×17 paper or poster board of size you choose. (I suggest at least 11×17 paper to allow them to have a lot of room to work with.)

Note:: I used stations in this lesson. I gave my students and area where they could all cut out shapes and share with each other the paper an scrap paper. Then when they were ready to glue I let them collect the pieces they wanted to use and they went to a new table to glue. This worked out well for me because they had a new clean area to keep everything together, also leaving the mess in one spot. This allowed for a quicker clean up time and more time for them to work on their projects.

Once students have finished gluing have them sign their art work and then give them a follow up paper. They can now write a poem, or short story about their project. I also made a word find for my students who finished all of their work. This is great for teachers who have a shorter class time and need to extend their lesson into two classes.


Overall I was extremely please with how well this class went. Students really got into the project and they really used their imaginations. Everyone of my students from 8 to 18 enjoyed cutting their shapes and making a project look as well as it did. I encouraged students to tell me what they thought each shapes was that they made and to share their scarp paper with each other.  I even had one student who never enjoyed the class, due to er concer that her art wasn’t “good enough” sign her work, as “(name) the Artist”. This really made me feel great that not only did she get into the work but she was really pleased with herself. This is a lesson I will definitely use again.

Below are examples of my students work:


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