Sunday, January 26, 2014

Matisse the Bard of Colour

"I feel through color," professed Matisse,
so it is through it that my canvas
will always be organized." 

Matisse has been a long time art crush for me.
We are used to seeing his images around us now,
but his passion for colour was the cause of much
ridicule, especially in the early stages.  He was reluctantly
categorized as one of the Fauves; a nickname that
translates as "wild beasts". 

I'm two weeks into an exciting online course,
"Studying the Masters".  Guess who we studied
the first week?  My fave...Matisse!  Part of the course
is learning about who influenced the artists who 
influence us.  It is a time honored tradition to study 
under a Master Painter (or other kind of artist, writer,
craftsman etc.) and use what we learn to inform our 
own art.  In the rush to be original it seems a lot of
us have forgotten that we learn by studying and copying
those who came before us. 
As a fan of Matisse's use of color, pattern, texture
and simplification, I've already tried my hand at
copying some of his moves....

"Music" by Matisse....1939

Shade's version.  2011?

Silly artist didn't sign or date the canvas.
I decided to change the leaves by duplicating
some of Matisse's paper cutout shapes
that he did later in his life.

When Matisse became ill and bedridden later in life
he had his assistants paint colour directly onto
paper which he then cut into directly.  He called 
it "drawing with scissors."  These became some of
his most popular images.

I was completely starstruck during my visit
to the Matisse Museum in Nice, France.
No pictures were allowed...but...
I snuck one anyway.  It wasn't that sneaky
because the guard caught me!  But he didn't
make me erase the picture.....
so here it is....

This one is called,
"Sorrow of the King".
You can't tell here but it is a very large picture
done by cutting and assembling painted papers.
I also got to see the original cutouts for
Matisse's book, "Jazz".  So vivid in colour and 
amazing to look at as a collection.

Like many artists, Matisse did nude sketches 
and paintings.  Close your eyes if you're modest!

"Nude Sitting in an Armchair", 1922
Later he simplified the form...

"Pink Nude", 1935
So of course I had to try my hand.
This was painted on a 6" x 6" terracotta tile.
I covered it with modeling paste and drew into
it with a knitting needle.  After it was completely
dry I painted it with acrylics and fabric paints.

Another highlight of my trip to Nice was visiting
the grave sight of Matisse.

Thank you Matisse for all the lessons you have taught me.

"I have never avoided the influence of others.  I would
have considered this a cowardice and lack of sincerity
toward myself.  I believe that the personality of the artist
develops and asserts itself through the struggles it has to go
through when pitted against other personalities.
If the fight is fatal and the personality succumbs, it means
that this was bound to be its fate."
From Guillaume Apollinaire interview with
Henri Matisse, 1907

1 comment:

  1. ...and who took those classic photos of you in Nice? :)