Henri Matisse grew up in Le Cateau-Cambrésis, France – a very cold village and ever since that he hated the cold. He loved warm weather and warm colors. That is why his paintings were filled with bold colorful shapes and a lot of energy. When people saw them they felt like a “pot of paint has been flung in their face.”
After cancer-related surgery in 1941 Matisse was forced to stay in bed most of the time (or to use his wheel chair) – which is why he started creating the paper cut-outs he’s so famous for. They were much easier for him to handle at that time – yet they still offered the energy and bold colors he loved. He saw the technique as a combination of painting and sculpture and called it “painting with scissors.”
The Snail is one of his most famous works from this time period. Matisse’s daughter Mme Duthuit later said that her father made many drawings of snails at that time and that the idea for this work came out of them. The concentric pattern formed by the colorful shapes in the center of the work mimicked the spiral pattern found in the snail’s shell.
It is one of those projects that kids of all ages can enjoy… to make it more understandable for the little ones, you can print them out this image of the snail (or draw your own) and let them paste the colored paper on it – as a shell. The older ones can use only their imagination to create their stunning masterpieces. Click on the image bellow to download the template and get creative: