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Arts & Activities - Page 26
hat do you get when you combine the styles of Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock? A unique study of line, shape and action! I wanted to study the styles of Matisse and Pollock with my fifth- and sixth-graders, and the unit that developed was one of the most exciting and internalized of the year. Combining the shape studies of Matisse’s cutouts and the action painting of Pollock resulted in marvelous “action collages.” We looked at Pollock’s Number 3, l949: Cathedral (l947); Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist) (1950); Tiger (1949); and Eyes in the Heat (l946), and discussed how the colors in the paintings might have related to his feelings. Pollock did not use drawings or sketches for his paintings, but worked freely on the canvas to show his emotion. He also didn’t use an easel, but worked with his canvas on the ground, splattering, dripping and throwing paint onto it. The students admired the movement in the works of art. Pollock liked the term “action painting” because he used so much energy and moved around a lot when he painted. I think Pollock would have been pleased to hear people say, “Oh, a child 26 W could do that!” when they looked at his paintings, because Pollock wanted his art to have the spontaneity and intensity of art done by children. His paintings are filled with rhythm, movement and expression. While obser ving Pollock’s action paintings, we explored the relationship between various types of line. How do the lines of paint lead the eye into or out of the painting? Next, we looked at some of Henri Matisse’s cutout masterpieces, wherein he made use of flat shapes and simple bold colors. We discussed the variety in Matisse’s work, and saw that the artist heightened the visual appeal by combining one or more elements of art. TIMe FOr sOMe aCTION After discussing the two artists, I explained the hands-on portion of our study. Each student picked a piece of mat board, which was available in many colors. This would be the “canvas” for our action collages. The students were then directed to select scraps of mat board of various Go to artsandactivities.com and click on this button for links to some of the paintings mentioned in this article. april 2013 • 80 years x www.ar tsandactivities.com