I loved this project.
When I taught art in my third grade classroom, we focused on an artist each week and it was so much fun to read books about them and do art in the style of the featured artist.I am so excited to start sharing artists with Bear.

I started by telling her we were going to study Matisse, an artist, and that she was going to get to see his pictures on the computer.

If I had been in the States with access to a library, I would have read her this book. (I love the Smart about Art series and highly recommend them.)
I showed her one or two of his collages.
I told her how he used to paint, but got sick and was confined to his bed. Since he couldn’t paint, he used his scissors to cut out his pictures.
I told her that Matisse liked bright, contrasting colors.

I then showed her a color wheel online and explained that colors opposite on the wheel are called contrasting or complimentary colors.
We looked at the various pairs of colors she could choose
and she chose violet and yellow.

We moved to her art table and I started cutting
organic shapes
for her, explaining that Matisse used lots of organic shapes in his collages and that organic meant that the shapes had lots of curves and few, if any, straight lines.

Then I cut some negative shapes and I explained about
negative and positive shapes.

Bear busied herself glueing the pieces where she wanted on her yellow paper.
She made one piece overlap, so we talked about what that word meant too.

She enjoyed the process so much that she wanted to do another.
We went back to the color wheel and this time she chose blue and orange as her complimentary colors.

This time, Bear became Matisse and cut some of her own shapes.
As she cut mostly rectangular pieces, I cut some organic shapes for her and I mentioned that now she would have contrast of shapes too – rectangular ones and organic ones.

Why this was a great project:
It was a fantastic vocabulary lesson.
Bear was able to tell me that a circle wasn’t organic and neither was a square.
She could point out the negative shapes and tell me they were the empty ones. Best of all, she was all excited to tell everyone she did a Matisse activity (she calls everything an “activity” these days!).