I can’t tell you how many photos I have from tropical vacations. I can never get enough shots of a gorgeous sunset, blooming hibiscus or the ocean. Unfortunately, like many vacation photos… once home they just sit on my computer as I get back to the “real world.” Well, here’s an “art on the go” assignment perfect for reviving those great tropical memories inspired by one of my favorite artists, Henri Matisse.
Towards the later part of his life Matisse fell ill with cancer. After a risky surgery, he became confined to a wheelchair. This handicap did not hold him back, though. The last 14 years of his life he called une seconde vie (a second life) and he created some of his most memorable pieces– his “cut out” work. I’ve always wanted to give a try at mimicking this style. Bright, bold, and playful, it’s the type of art that seemingly “anyone” can do, young or old. Given the bright colors and feel, I felt this look lends itself perfectly to using photos from a tropical vacation as inspiration.
The materials needed are simple enough that you can even bring them along with you and do on the trip, or spend a quiet afternoon once your home to recap the relaxation. Here’s what you need: tropical photo inspiration from your trip (or from your hotel balcony), colorful construction paper, white poster board, scissors and a glue stick. That’s it. Here is a step by step guide to creating your own tropical memories in a Matisse Cut Out style.
How to Create Matisse Cut Out Artwork
1. Gather brightly colored construction paper or card stock.
2. If you’d like, create very rough thumbnail sketches of your tropical memories based on your photos or view from your balcony.
3-5. Cut out 5 3″x5″ rectangles from the colored construction paper to use as backgrounds (use different colors). Now, cut out simple shapes with contrasting colored papers, and start to assemble small squares of artwork. (Note: imperfection is key to your cutting… this gives the artwork it’s whimsical spirit.)
6-7. Use a glue stick to glue pieces together.
8. With your 5 small rectangles complete, arrange them on a portion of white poster board. The artwork will be much longer than it is tall. Have the rectangles slightly overlap, and glue down. Add hand cut letters or other cut out embellishments to complete the composition.
Your work is now complete. Colorful, bright, and ready to hang on your wall to remind you of your wonderful vacation. Aloha!