Mini Museum/Project No. 2: Matisse Fauvist Portraits
While looking for ideas for the second Mini Museum project I stumbled across these Fauvist portraits by Matisse.
The bright colors and thick brushstrokes I thought would be fun and freeing to paint. And so it was - but it was also daunting, particularly for me and my ten year old. We tend to be careful pencil drawers compared to my six year old, who paints with such wild abandon. Here are some brief pointers on Fauvism + the supplies and steps we used to paint our Fauvist portraits:
ABOUT HENRI MATISSE:
Henri Matisse was born in France in 1869
Matisse studied to be a lawyer and did not began painting until age 21
Matisse was the leader of the French Movement, Fauvism
Matisse works were made with bold colors, strong brushwork, lines, and emotional power
Matisse and Picasso met in 1905. They were lifelong friends and rivals
Matisse wanted his art to be one "of balance, or purity and serenity devoid of troubling or depressive subject matter"
In the later years, when Matisse was bedridden, he worked on collages
Matisse died in 1954 at the age of 84
A brief movement from 1900 - 1909 lead by Henri Matisse
Fauvist painters used vibrant, contrasting, unnatural color. Colors expressed emotions or reaction to their subject
Subjects were portraits, landscapes, and still life
Fauvists used short thick brushstrokes and controlled lines
Fauvists rejected 3 dimensional space
Fauvism comes from the French word "Les Fauves" or Wild Beast
Construction Paper/White - We used Tru-Ray Construction Paper in White
Tempera Paint - We used Dick Blick's Premium and Student Tempera Paint
Brushes - Flat/Large Round/Small Round
Paint palette - We used an old muffin tin
STEP ONE: SKETCH YOUR PORTRAIT
Snap a photo or print out a portrait to use as a guide
Do a line drawing of the portrait. These lines will be painted over and do not need to be perfect. They are only guidelines
Start with the shape of the face. My 6 year old has a round face with a square jaw which she tried to capture
Determine the placement of your eyes and work downward to your nose and mouth
As my 6 year old drew, we talked about her features - she has large eyes, a small nose, lines under her eyes, round cheeks, etc.
STEP TWO: PAINT OVER THE PENCIL WITH BLACK TEMPERA PAINT
We used a #4 round brush and slightly watered down black tempera paint
Like the pencil lines, these do not need to be perfect. They are only guidelines for filling in the color. Once the color is added, you will go over the lines again with black or a dark color.
STEP THREE: ADD WILD EXPRESSIVE COLOR
This step is where we had to take a leap of faith and just go with it.
Start by adding the lighter colors. Determine where the light should hit the face. This is where the lighter colors go.
Remind your painters of the characteristics of a fauvist painting:
Use bold short strokes
Use complimentary colors next to each other to create excitement (red/green - blue/orange - yellow/purple)
Use wild colors to paint the emotions not the natural colors
Remind your painters to keep moving forward until the end. An unwanted blob of color can always be painted over once dry.
STEP FOUR: ALLOW THE PAINT TO DRY, THEN REPAINT IN THE BLACK LINES