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Matisse Paper Cuttings
  • 1 x A4 white card
  • 1 x A4 coloured card
  • Warm & cool paints
  • Paint brush
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Matisse shape printouts/website
Step 1
Place your A4 white card in landscape view in front of you. On one of the short edges of the card, fold 1/3 of the card. Neatly cut along that line and place the smaller piece of card off to one side.
Step 2
On the larger piece of card visually, or using a pencil divide your card into two even columns. Split each column into 2 or 3 boxes on each side. Chat to your child about warm and cool colours, ask them how the colours make them feel (warm, hot, cool, calm?) and explain that colours can be grouped this way and will generally look nice placed together on a page in these groups.

In the first column paint a different cool colour in each box. In the other column, paint warm colours in each box. Your entire page should be painted now. You can use watercolours, or acrylic paints. Acrylic paints will make your page a bit more crinkled when it dries.
Step 3
Now paint a mixture of coloured boxes and patterned stripes on your smaller piece of card. Try to use colours that you didn’t use on your first painted page or colours that are complementary to the colours that you painted on your first page. This means colours that will stand out when placed together, such as yellow & purple, blue & orange, and red & green.
Step 4

Once your second smaller page has dried, draw a mixture of curvy, organic looking shapes in each colour section with a pencil. Try to imagine that you’re drawing coral or tree shapes that have lots of curves and bends.

Step 5

Take a look at some of Henri Matisse’s paper cutting artworks for inspiration. Moma has a number of good artwork examples and information for kids.

Step 5a
Glue your larger piece of painted card onto your A4 coloured card, this will be the background. Place the painted card neatly in the centre so that the coloured card behind creates a nice frame for your artwork. Now, carefully cut out your shapes from your second piece of painted card.
Step 6

Place your shapes on your background. Move them around until you’re happy with how they look with the background colours. Glue your shapes on. Frame your beautiful artwork. 

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