The Laughing Zebra

chalk pastel

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I got this Henri Matisse art lesson idea from Matisse’s “Woman with a Purple Robe” painting, and have altered it to fit different age groups. I love Matisse because of all the bright colors and patterns he used in his work. This is a fun way to introduce mixed media and the different steps keep the interest level high.

For the first step I have the students draw a vase with flowers in it with pencil, then outline it with Sharpie (I pre-draw this for preschool level). Then I have them paint the vase grey. Next step is to do a different pattern with oil pastels on each piece of colored cardstock (see sample). Then I have them glue the pieces down to the the heavy paper. 

Next they color in the flowers with oil pastel and add the black lines on the vase . When the paint is dry they cut out the vase and flowers and glue down over the patterned cardstock.

I’ve also done this project with paint instead of the cut paper on a full size sheet of watercolor paper. I add more detail with the painted orange and lemon and plate, and also a wider variety of flowers.  The flowers and line work are done with chalk pastel instead of oil pastel. Make sure to spray with fixative when they are finished.

*See my new Henri Matisse art lesson in my upcoming book! (Click here for more information)

Please refer people back to this site if you use this lesson! 🙂


I'm writing a book!

I am excited to announce my latest project!  My daughter and I are working on a big, beautiful, creatively designed book on artist related lessons (similar to the ones on this website but with more details, step by step instructions and photos). The book will be for anyone who wants concise, detailed, well laid out lessons that are ready to teach, in a format that is fun to look at as well.

Book Info

I did this Laurel Burch cats art project for one of my summer classes and have also done it for kindergarten to 6th grade at the school I work at. It is a fun one to do as kids like to do animal projects and this one is doable for any age. There are some great pics on the internet of Laurel Burch cats. I showed a lot of them in class to generate some ideas. I like using the chalk pastel on the black paper-it adds a fun dimension. I got this project idea from another blog-but can’t remember where now. I changed it up a bit.

I had the kids practice drawing the body of the cat on a scratch paper first. In my summer class they could choose to do a head or a body. At school the younger kids used a poster board pattern and then I had them come up with their own pattern for inside the cat. I had the kindergarteners trace around just a head template. We talked a lot about Laurel Burch and her use of color and pattern. Also how she did the cat’s eyes (more like a human eye). I showed them samples of her work to begin with. Once they practiced what pattern they were going to use I had them do their final drawing on the black paper. They used the chalk pastels to color them and and Nupastels to outline and accent. I had them either do a pattern in the background or a frame.

Please refer people back to this site if you use this lesson! 🙂