My Matisse


Explore the vibrant work of Henri Matisse then tap into emotions in your own original tempera paintings, poems, and short stories.


1. Look at the artwork of Henri Matisse, such as The Green Stripe, Woman in Front of a Window and L'escargot. Study his use of patterns and colors, and discuss the way those colors make you feel. Notice that bright, active colors are energizing and uplifting, while darker colors are calming and quiet. How can color choices affect people's moods in interior spaces?

2. On construction paper, use Crayola® Colored Pencils to sketch your interpretation of a Matisse painting, or adapt your ideas to resemble a Matisse painting.

3. Cover a table top with recycled newspaper. With Crayola Tempera Paints and Brushes, complete your picture in a Matisse style. Use bright colors and patterns for an uplifting mood, or darker colors and patterns for a calmer mood. Dry.

4. Outline shapes or add details to your work with Crayola Washable Markers.

5. With colored pencils, write poetry or a short story describing the mood depicted in your painting. Use colorful, descriptive adjectives.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.

Crayola Washable Paints—Not for use as body/face paint.


  • Draw your idea on white paper, then trace it on a second sheet. Paint one copy in bright colors and active patterns, and one in dark colors and calm patterns. When they dry, compare and contrast the paintings. Which makes you happy? Which makes you calm?
  • Use Crayola Mini-Stampers to create uniform patterns, such as wallpaper, on your paintings.
  • Cut or tear brightly colored paper to make collages in the style of those created by Matisse.
  • Younger children and those with special needs may need assistance writing expressive commentary about their artwork. Invite older students or classroom volunteers to transcribe students' ideas for them with colored pencils. Display with artwork.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Paint Brushes
  • Colored Pencils
  • Markers
  • Washable Kid's Paint
  • Construction Paper
household supplies
  • recycled newspaper
  • paper towels
  • container(s) of water



  • Grades 4 to 6
  • Grades 7 to 12
  • Special Needs
  • Grades 1 to 3


  • Language Arts
  • Visual Arts


  • Multiple Sessions


  • Children explore the work of Henri Matisse, who used vibrant, contrasting color in his paintings and paper collages.

  • Students use color and pattern to interpret a Matisse painting in an original tempera painting.

  • Children relate their use of color and pattern in art to their own emotions by writing poetry or a short story about their painting.


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