Where The FAUVE Things Are! Studying the Great Artist Henri Matisse…

“When I put green, it is not grass. When I put blue, it is not the sky.”  ~Henri Matisse

It’s here again! It’s here again! Kids Get Arty!! YAY! And we have gone a little wild here at Small Potatoes! We are celebrating the French modern artist Henri Matisse. There were soooo many possibilities with this artist, but I chose his “Fauve” period because this is what smalls do best! They are natural “Fauvists“!

First of all, what is a “Fauve“? Well, I’m pretty sure this next image will sum it up for you!When I was studying up of Henri, I realized how perfect Fauvism fit in with every day preschool, toddler art work. Painting is a full sensory activity for them.  They don’t stick to painting things the way the world thinks they should. Young children paint things the way they FEEL they should be painted.After I realized I had a group of Fauves right under my roof every day, I thought about how best to relate this concept to them. How could I create an activity where the smalls could express themselves without a lot of structure? I cold have just given them each a colouring book page and asked them to paint it how they felt it should be. But that seemed to structured. Too forced. Then I had an idea.

If the Fauvists painted with no regard to an objects natural colours, how better to illustrate this, than by painting ourselves? Our faces are not naturally green, orange, purple, blue, red, or yellow!!I made body paint out of baby shampoo and tempera powder, (*2 parts shampoo/1 part powder) and let the children use themselves and each other as their canvas.The activity was well-received, even if the onset of Fauvism in the art world was not! Some of the smalls took it very seriously. I washed a couple of faces twice so they could “do it again!” Some of the smalls used a mirror, some painted “blind”, and some painted each other…All of them learned something. Will the toddlers remember the name “Matisse” tomorrow? Maybe not. But they won’t forget how happy they felt when they were allowed to paint freely. They will remember the emotion. And this was the whole point of the Fauvist movement…to paint how you feel things look.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Arlee, Small Potatoes
Red Ted Art


12 thoughts on “Where The FAUVE Things Are! Studying the Great Artist Henri Matisse…

  1. This is simply the most adorable art exploration session ever! I love the photos – all the colours are so vibrant and beautiful and looks like the kids had a brilliant time. I am in awe! Pip Squeak would have loved to have been there!!

    Thank you so much for taking part in the Kids Get Arty challenge. You are a star.

    PS off to pin!

    • Thank you, Maggy!! WE sure enjoy this series! And so does my big sister…she’s the one who gives us the artist every time! I call her up a week before and tell her “it’s time!!” It’s become a family affair!

  2. Pingback: Fauvism, a new allegory of colors | Yareah Magazine. Arts and writing

  3. Beautiful! What is your favorite tempera powder? I’m looking to buy some, but there are many different brands on the market, and your colors are so vibrant, I want what you have!

  4. Art made by kids inspires me as an artist/illustrator and a writer. I feel many of the great painters like Matisse, allowed themselves to be “free” with their expression and color is so important in art. Kids do what makes them feel happy ( good) by playing with color and shapes as they explore making art.

  5. Pingback: Art Projects for Toddlers - Great Artists

  6. Pingback: 7 Exciting Art History Projects for Kids that Made Me Say "WOW!" - The Art Curator for Kids

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