Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Studio Visit Project: Matisse "Cut Outs"

These are paintings made of cut paper. The artist is Henri Matisse, a french painter. He loved bright colors. One day, Matisse painted some very large sheets of paper with bright colors. He cut out all kinds of shapes, flowers, leaves. birds, fish. He was delighted with the way he felt, it was like "painting in the air." He moved the shapes around on paper until he was happy with his composition, and then he pasted them down. He had never created a painting with cut papers before. He called them "collages." (Did you know the french word for paste is colle? Coll..age. Get it?) This is Matisse at work on his "cut outs."

Here is a project inspired by Matisse's Cut Outs. It's called "Gardens." You can create colorful collages just like Matisse did. You'll need some beautiful, bright papers. You can draw some large flowers, leaves, birds and fish, and then cut them out. Paste them on colored papers and create exciting collages.

You'll need some large, bright construction paper
2 scissors
Elmers School Glue

Draw some flower and leaf, shapes. Let an adult help you cut them out. Arrange them on a large paper. When you like the composition, paste the shapes down. When your collage is finished,
mount it on the wall.

Draw some bird and fish shapes. Let an adult help you cut them out. Arrange them on a large paper. When you like the composition, paste them down. When the collage is finished,
mount it on the wall.

Draw some people shapes. Let an adult help you cut them out. Arrange them on a large paper. When you like the composition, paste them down. When the collage is finished,
mount it on the wall.

Do another. And another. Mount them on the wall. Stand back and admire your "Garden."

Friday, December 3, 2010

Musing: About Mozart's Father

We know that Mozart's father Leopold, passed on some astounding music genes to his little son, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the most gifted composers ever. But let's not forget that Mozart's father, a pianist to the royal court and a music teacher, taught little Mozart to play the piano as soon as he could reach the keyboard. When Wolfgang was only five years old, Leopold explained the structure of music composition to him and taught him to write his own compositions. Leopold taught his sister to play the piano too, and he encouraged the two children to play duets. He surrounded Wolfgang with great music by great composers like Bach, Vivaldi, and Handel.

When Mozart was six, the king invited him to play at the palace. He gave recitals in many of the palaces in Europe. He had amazing talents. He played many musical instruments. He composed in many musical forms, including opera and wrote some of the greatest music in the western world.

Genes are vital, but it was Mozart's father's daily lessons and nurturing gave Mozart the reality, the "world of music," when his genes were buzzing. Bravo Mozart. Bravo Mozart's father.

Some young children have a special gift. They "hear" the music. But without someone like Mozart's father to guide them, they do not discover their gift until much later, maybe never. Special young talents need nurturing as early as possible. The younger the better. Talent can get lost in the drive to learn to read and write. Training should be with Mozart's father types, artists with great talent and passion. We don't believe it, but very young children need to have contact with great artists. Great artists communicate a unique belief in creating art. This is true of all the arts, painting, writing, dancing, acting...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Studio Visit Project: Picasso's "Faces"

Picasso with his wife and children

Here is an art project inspired by the playful "Faces" Picasso painted on his ceramic plates and jugs.

Pablo Picasso (25 October 1881 – 8 April 1973) was a Spanish painter, draftsman, and sculptor. He was one of the most recognized figures in 20th-century art. He is known for his wide variety of styles. Late in his life, he moved to the south of France, where he also worked on ceramics. He loved to paint faces on ceramic plates. Here are some of the fabulous faces Picasso painted:

Picasso painted faces on ceramic vases too.

You could invite a friend to your house, for a "Faces" art playdate. You could both paint "Faces" on paper plates. When your "Faces" are finished, you could mount them on the wall. (Use that picture-hanging goop that doesn't stain, and comes off easily.) Do lots of "Faces." Mount them on the wall next to each other.

You could invite a few friends and their families to your house, for a "Faces" holiday party. Everyone could paint some "Faces." Just give each person a brush, some paint and some paper plates. Imagine how exciting your wall will look, with lots of painted "Faces" on it. And, whenever friends visit you, you could ask them to paint some "Faces." Mount them on your wall too.

Materials you will need:
Dining room table or floor
Plastic drop cloth taped down
A package of paper plates
Tape to hold the plates still
Tempera paint
Non-marking wall-mounting tape

Step by Step: Prepare some saucers with tempera paint: black, blue, red yellow. Put out some 2" foam brushes. Put out some 1" bristle brushes. Tape a paper plate to your table. Paint two eyes, a nose, a mouth. Add some strokes around the edge. Let the painting dry. Mount it on the wall. Do another painting, then another

You will discover that a wall of "Faces" makes one of the cheeriest holiday decorations ever.