Friday, May 7, 2010

May 7: Matisse Used Scissors?

I had no idea Matisse used scissors. I'm familiar with his simply shaped silhouetted figures, but I always thought they were painted. It wasn't until I was looking up collage and mixed media that I discovered he used paper cutouts and then "translated" them into ceramic tiles, paintings, prints, stained glass and stage sets. Even better he did this as his creative outlet when he found it difficult to paint while recovering from surgery.

He called his technique "drawing with scissors"--he cut shapes from paper painted with an opaque watercolor called gouache, pinned the shapes on the wall of his studio and rearranged them until he discovered a satisfactory composition.

He put the images he produced in a book called Jazz. For them, he used the pochoir technique--using stencils of his designs and applying thick ink to paper.

This one is called Icarus. Why do you think the heart is red. . . ?

Here are some more images from Jazz, with appropriately, Miles Davis playing in the background. Cool, huh?

Here's another really nice video showing Matisse's art. . .I wish I knew the names of some of these. I like the one of the woman in the billowed blouse with objects on her sleeves and the one that looks like an open window. Such huge variations in detail. . .

What I think is interesting:

  • The variations of Matisse's style
  • The cutting out of paper as a form and as a new outlet crafted from "handicap"--besides Monet's loss of eyesight working for him, what other artist's has this worked for?
  • Collage--this isn't really a representation of it. . . but it's what drove me here.
And check this out--a kid's art lesson plan based on Matisse.

Shady Days in Gay (~45 miles south of Atlanta)
May 1-May 2


  1. What a nice way to start the morning, Matisse & Miles Davis! Thanks.

  2. Loved this post.... was inspired....enjoyed watching the video & miles davis....I found a great video too & put a link to you from my blog... hope you don't mind. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. The woman in the blouse with objects on the sleeve painting is called "The Rumanian Blouse." It's oil on canvass and was painted in 1940. I didn't find the open window painting that was in the vieo, but there is another painting from 1921 that's called "The Open Window." You can really see the wide variance in style if you compare it to the painting in the video. You can see both of them on a sight called 'Olga's Gallery." (

    Even better, we could see the Rumanian Blouse in person if we go to Paris. It's at the Musee d'Art National.

    I really like seeing this side of you.