Matisse – Cold and Warm Colours

Our final two weeks of looking at Matisse took us away from cut outs and back in time to paintings.

First one we looked at was The Dance.  We did this individually as we’d not had time to get it done as a group after the Ten Pieces show.

Having worked our way through the ‘that’s disgusting’ reaction (Sam does not see beauty on the human form :D), we talked about the warmness of the figures being highlighted by the coldness of the background.

We looked briefly at the sister piece ‘Music’.  Then Sam chose another hobby and drew his own version with oil pastels.  This is ‘Reading’.  Note the strategically placed book :D.


The final session we managed was a look at ‘the Green Line’ or ‘Portrait of Madame Matisse’.

We painted colour wheels.  Starting with the primary colours, then the secondary and ending with the shades in between.

20141016_4Talked about what the different colours made us feel and where we would draw the line between warm and cold.  Then we looked back at Madame Matisse and discussed how the green line almost divided the page in two with one side warm and one cold.  Finally we decorated masks so that on one side were cold colours and the other warm.

20141016_3 Happy with the way art group is working.  Nice bunch of kids.  Giving us the motivation to include art in our week but in quite a relaxed way (dropped one session due to illness with no disruption).  I think I’ll not do the observation element with the group next half term but will find time in our week.  Think Sam will get more out of it that way and we’ll have more time for the practical element.

20141031_5 20141031_4Matisse was definitely a good place to start.  On to Monet now in contrast.  Monet plan

Large Decoration with Masks

Art group this week continued with Matisse.  We finished our look at his cut outs with a look at Large Decoration with Masks.

We started off with a look at the natural shapes and talked about examples we had seen from these in recent weeks.  We then highlighted the symmetrical nature.

Using mirrors (I have mirrored tiles for  symmetry work – no frames) we produced pictures inspired by Matisse.

As you can see Amelia went down the natural route while Sam did the masks.  I love how from the same starting point it goes in such different directions.  Like Matisse we were focusing on symmetry of patterns rather than symmetry of colour.

20141003_16 Large Decoration with Masks was made on ceramics so we painted our tiles.  The brief was just symmetry, results were varied as ever 🙂

20141002_2Sam’s 2, a cyclops and not sure. 20141002_1

More Matisse

The art group I run has carried on looking at Matisse and we’re still on cut out phase.

Moving away from the colours and the ripped paper of The Snail we moved on to something where the shapes themselves have more distinction, ‘Oceania, the Sky’.  We looked at the picture and talked about the shapes they could see and they drew some from memory.  Then we discussed the scale of the picture and how it was first made on the walls of Matisse’s apartment before being screen printed on to linen

We finished off with a large scale group project on my dining room wall. There are moons, suns, kites, butterflies, flying fish, planes, rockets, daleks exterminating sky divers and pterodactyl skulls, all the things you expect to spot in the sky.

20141180Today’s session was on the chapel windows at Vence.  At the front you have the sheets where they were supposed to be drawing them from memory.  This seems to have slipped Sam by and he designed his own ‘face’ version.

Then we made ‘maquettes‘ from cut outs.  When we went to the exhibition at the Tate the thing that impressed me most was the display of ‘Nuit de Noel’ next to its maquette.

20140924_113Once we’d made the cut out versions they transferred them to tracing paper.  I’d used the same card template to draw the window shape on paper for the collage, on tracing paper and on a gift bag.  Some traced through.  They then coloured the tracing paper design.  Having cut out the panel from the bags I taped the tracing paper to the inside (this was the tricky bit) and we popped an electric tealight inside.

20140924_110Here’s Sam’s lit up.  It is actually a ‘holiday’ inspired one.  The face is a pumpkin for Halloween.  ‘Body’ is actually an Easter egg.  ‘Ear-rings’ are snowflakes and the weird blue things are fireworks.20140924_114

Arty week

Making a big effort to reconnect with my crafty mojo at the moment and bring more hands on stuff into our education.

Weds was the first of our new art group sessions.  3 other families, 4 children plus little siblings as laid back as groups get.

We started off with a story

20140916_5Before moving on to look at and colour ‘The Snail’.


We ended with sketching outlines of animals and creating a ripped up paper collage version.

Michael’s Giraffe
Sam's T Rex
Sam’s T Rex
Amelia’s much tidier interpretation.

On Friday we began Art Award lessons.  Unfortunately there were not enough children to run the classes so it has been postponed while they try and recruit more children.  But it did mean that Sam and his friend Michael had the really rather lovely teacher to themselves.  She really just seems to have let them loose with a choice of materials and they really had fun.  Two children produced really different work out of the same session.  Here is Sam’s.

Colour mixing
Lino printing
Starting a sketch book
Colour wheel
Colour wheel

If anyone local is interested please ring the Ashcroft and sign up.

We have also had an autumny craft burst.  Primarily for work but lots of fun all the same.  Making our own paints from berries, grass and mud I think has to have been the messiest and most fun.  Particularly when you take them outside afterwards to mix up and get messy.

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Love working with Autumn colours.

20140913_74Display so far.  Very tree focused at present but plans to diversify.




Cut Outs and Book Benches

First full day of term was a lovely one.

We headed up to London to catch the Matisse exhibition at the Tate and see some of the book benches before they go.


Only spent about 45 mins in the exhibition (these things are always too busy).  But we came out impressed, particularly with the larger, more detailed later works.   The scale of some of them was amazing – can only assume the commissioner/purchaser had a much bigger house than me 😉

Not allowed to take photos in there so here’s a postcard of Sam’s favourite ‘The Parakeet and The Mermaid’.


Magnet of second favourite ‘The Snail’.


Christmas cards of my favourite ‘Nuit de Noel’ or ‘Christmas Eve’.  Displayed brilliantly with lights behind the window to show the colours and next to its maquette (scale model – my new word for the day).


We’d spent some of the train journey reading about Matisse and introducing his works.


Before having a lovely and positive chat about home education with the retired teacher sitting opposite.  No idea where people encounter all this negativity I read about, rarely have had anything but plain curiosity or complete enthusiasm from strangers particularly ex teachers.  The only doubts expressed to me have been about the lack of monitoring but as I am actually quite in favour of registration and monitoring if done right (the big stumbling block) then that avenue quickly dries up.

Any way after the gallery and lunch we did the Riverside book bench trail from the National Literacy Trust.   Pity they are going as would like to do the rest of the trails.  The Paddington one (or Dr Seuss) would be very welcome additions to my back garden should anyone want to buy me a present.

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Was a lovely afternoon walking along the south bank of the Thames.  As much as I love the open air of the hills and coast, I do love London very much.  The contrasts, the vitality, just stumbling over history/culture all of the time.  These are just some of the things that caught our eye yesterday.

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We also managed walk around Borough Market in the shadow of Southwark Cathedral and a trip into a small gallery under the Oxo Tower where they had a display Mapping London – I could have spent a lot longer in there, wishing I’d bought the exhibition catalogue.

We still had time for a long play in Jubilee Gardens (one of our favourite parks) before heading home.

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