Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Matisse art course at the Tate Modern

I am half way through a six-week art workshop at the Tate Modern that is based on the current Henri Matisse Cut Outs exhibition. During the first session we (30 fellow Matisse lovers on the course) pretty much had the full exhibition to ourselves to look at the amazing collage work of Matisse's later career.

We were then set the challenge of creating a collage of our own using three colours based on image that we had been given. I selected the bird-in-flight image below left.

For homework we were given a list of themes to work from and as I had selected the bird image in the first session I chose to continue with the bird theme and produced the collage below using five colours this time.

We have been encouraged by our tutor Sarah to ONLY use scissors to create the collaged images. Not having to use a pencil has been quite liberating and I have found I am being more accepting about the shapes and textures I have created.

The following week we worked into our sketchbooks building on the images, shapes, colours and motifs from our previous works and I explored a range of quick 10 - 15 minute collages below.

On Monday we got another change to look around the Matisse exhibition to specifically engage with the larger pieces of work he produced to get ideas and inspiration for a large scale group piece based on the word 'cornicopia'.

I was initially a bit retiscent about working with others because I had really got into my own artwork, but I need not have worried because it was lots of fun working with the group that included cool chaps like Bryan, bubbly Robyn, Jessica, (another) Caroline and Juliette.

Below is the large scale artwork we created - to get an idea of the size, the top of the paper was about 6 feet from the floor! To get our creative juices flowing and to share out the work load we swapped sketchbooks to see what motifs, shapes and images we liked in each others work. We came to a general consensus so that each of us had an equal share of the images. We all agreed on the blue background fairly quickly. So onto the artwork....

 Who did what?

In three weeks time we will all exhibit our work in the Cloires Studio at the Tate Modern and we can invite guests along! I can't wait. 

What do you think?
Do you like Matisse's work?


  1. Ooo, I didn't know the Tate did courses like this, will have to check it out. I really like your collages, the birds are fantastic. I also feel particularly drawn to the one with the green background.

  2. Thanks Alex. I would highly recommend the Tate courses. They are great ; )

  3. These are gorgeous - love the birds in particular! Such lovely, bright colours. Have you done any other courses at the Tate?

    1. Thanks Jo - Yes, I have been on a Tate course earlier in the year based on the Richard Hamilton exhibition, blogged about here:

  4. These are Great! So much fun... I LOVE Matisse.
    I saw a fascinating documentary about him. He used very shiny white reflective tiles on the opposite wall from the stained glass windows when he designed this chapel so that the stained glass would reflect on them and create a constantly changing colorful background, depending on the light outside. He wasn't really religious, but designed the Chapel because he was very good friends with a nun (from the time she was his nurse as a young girl.)

    1. Thanks x
      Yes Matisee is an awesome artist. I didn't know about the reflective tile thing opposite the stained glass window - such a brilliant idea!