Matisse and Fish


July issue of atTree was dedicated to Henri Matisse and Fish.

What could you find there? You could learn about Henri Matisse and his colorful and bold collages. You’d find out why he made them, what else he did, why he used such bold colors and more. You would paint, collage, draw and glue a lot of different fish! You’d make a 3D aquarium, musical fish and learn about mosaics. You’d have fun with tangrams and a lot more!

If you want to get this issue, you can subscribe to the magazine and you’ll get this one (and 11 others) instantly!

If you are putting together an art docent lesson dedicated to Matisse, I’d recommend the video where you can watch Matisse work in his studio: see it by clicking here.


More art ideas? Click here to get started!


Or you can have the kids play a Spot-the Difference game with Matisse’s art by clicking here.


Little Artists and Shapes

Shape and preschoolers – one of the easy lessons that are fun for everybody!

We have started talking about the difference between organic and geometric shapes and looked at a way some famous artists used them in their work. From Matisse (organic) to Herbin (geometric):


We have also played a shape scavenger hunt in the classroom and did some physical movement exercise while we sorted objects based on their shapes.

For the art projects, we made two of them.


We guessed what shape would a thumbprint make and then talked about ways we can change it into a dog, cat, flower, person, bug, tree, etc.

For the main project, we used colorful circles to create a collage. We practiced cutting and gluing, talked about composition and colors. We also introduced fractions a little bit – talking about different ways you can cut the circle and how many pieces it will make. Some kids cut the circles in halves or quarters others cut it into a million small pieces. Fun all around!

Matisse, fish and preschoolers


Yesterday was my first Little Artists class with a group of 3-5 year-olds. We talked about color and Henri Matisse. We looked how different artists used colors, talked about our favorite ones, played color scavenger hunt, read books… and created a fish.


Each child started by drawing a fish on a colored paper. Then they cut out whatever shapes they wanted out of as many colored papers as they wanted to… and glued them onto the fish. Once they were done, they added the eye and cut it out. What do you think?

There are more ideas for Matisse, color and fish on our Pinterest board.

FREE tile decorating event


Join us for FREE tile decorating during the Mill Creek ART Walk on July 11th from 5 to 8 pm.

Your kids will learn about Henri Matisse and decorate a tile (and a bookmark) just like he would. They can use templates or their imagination and the project is suitable for kids of all ages (even though preschoolers may need a little bit of help).

And while your kids are busy you can be the first to see samples of arTree’s new magazine – ready for the school year 2013.

Matisse & Tile Cut-outs


Today was tile-painting time at arTree! We are going to be part of Art Walk in Mill Creek on July 11th (5-8 pm). Our location – Color Me Mine ceramics. Our project – Henri Matisse and his cutouts. We will have a paper bookmark project as well as tile-decorating project. We have 8 different templates based on Matisse’s paintings that kids can trace on tiles and color with bright paints – for FREE.  Every child that stops by at the Color Me Mine can bring home a bookmark, a beautiful tile (plus a discount for future projects) and a will have a chance to see first preview of the arTree digital magazine.

Want to make these tiles even though you do not live in Seattle area? No problem, print these out and bring them to your local ceramics place – or create your own templates and have fun!

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PS: For the snail, I cut up a dish-washing sponge. That way even a preschooler can create a Matisse-like artwork… just draw/trace the snail, have your child stamp the shell and then go over the snail with a black paint. Simple.

Art & Technology Night at Woodside


Yesterday was the first arTechnology night at Woodside Elementary school (Bothell, WA). It was a great success. The art docents and PTA did a marvelous job preparing the event and a lot of people showed to enjoy it – and to bring much needed art supplies. Let me just share couple of pictures with you.

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This was the board that was presented by arTree – Matisse, his collages and a simple project (make your own bookmark with Matisse’s famous quote: creativity takes courage).

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And these are some beautiful pictures created by kids and the art docents. Cannot wait to get involved in this school in the fall and help them create more art.


Matisse and the Snail


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:



Dance with me, my Valentine!


Getting ready for Valentine’s Day? In the following weeks, I’ll introduce some really simple-to- do art-inspired projects… today it is “Dancer” card for your Valentine (inspired by Henri Matisse). Enjoy.

You need: black, blue and yellow paper, card (or card stock paper of any color), scissors, glue and 10 minutes of your kid’s time.

1. First let your child draw:

  • a person in a funny pose (on the black paper)
  • a little heart (on the red one)
  • name of the recipient / hearts / organic shapes (on the yellow one)

2. Cut it all out and glue it onto the blue paper and onto the card.

And if you want to learn more about Matisse and his collages, wait for the first issue of ArTree… the Kickstarter campaign is going to be launched in 1-2 weeks. Or click here in the meantime (it is the Pinterest page that features all the artists covered in the first issue)…