Tonight's picture was taken in May of 2009 at the "Mattie March." As I mentioned before on the blog, Team Mattie is the true creator of our community walks. They created a framework upon which the Foundation has built upon, expanded, and shaped over the years. In fact, many of the key players in the Mattie March are still a part of our Foundation Walk planning committee. In this picture, Mattie sits between his two very close kindergarten buddies, Charlotte and Campbell. My faithful readers may recall that Mattie considered Charlotte his girlfriend and actually gave her a plastic engagement ring, and Campbell is the fellow who I recently mentioned made a donation to the Foundation on Mattie's birthday and also gave me a chocolate bar because he deemed I needed that kind of support. Charlotte always told me she, Mattie, and Campbell were going to go to college together and actually share a dorm room. That comment always made me laugh, but it spoke to the level of closeness this threesome shared. Typically a group of three friends may not work out so well, because one usually can get left out. But that did not happen with these three. It was a special kind of friendship.
Quote of the day: The possibilities for tomorrow are usually beyond our expectations. ~ unknown
Tonight's quote captures the tone of my whole morning. Last night, as I was preparing for my last kindergarten session on Matisse and Picasso, I could never have imagined the actual art work that was going to be created today. It is actually way beyond my expectations. Today's class content addressed the friendship or better stated..... rivalry that existed between Matisse and Picasso. However, like any great nemesis in one's life, there is a strange allure, intrigue, and desire to understand why the other person is better or perceived as better than we are. For Matisse and Picasso, this rivalry became almost an obsession. As obsession that caused each of them to study the other's art. INTENSELY! Not only study it, but adopt some of the techniques and integrate them within their own works. So for example, Matisse was considered the master of color, and therefore Picasso examined Matisse's style and over time, integrated colors, patterns, and textures into his own paintings. In fact, I showed the children numerous PowerPoint slides depicting this and at times it was hard to know which painting on the screen was a Matisse and which was a Picasso, that is because their styles became so well integrated.
The children found the story of these artists' love-hate relationship fascinating. But what needs to be noted is that each presentation I did with the children enables me to be in their classroom for 90 minutes to 2 hours. This is a great deal of time to engage such young minds and bodies, but they soaked it up! You would be amazed at their retention. Can you believe they remember that Picasso's painting style is called cubism? The list goes on as to what they remember. As part of my presentation today, I explained to the children that Matisse and Picasso both loved painting still lives. I then asked them what they thought a still life was. Some of the explanations were fascinating, such as a "person who is alive and not moving." Which is definitely a good guess. But then one little girl said, that a still life captures trees, grass, and flowers. Which of course was absolutely right, still lives, depict mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural (food, flowers, plants, rocks, or shells) or man-made (drinking glasses, books, vases, jewelry, coins, pipes, and so on).
I set up a still life composition in the middle of the classroom. It included a tablecloth, two bowls of arranged fruit, and sunflowers in a colorful vase. The children were then asked to paint what they saw using components of what they learned about Matisse and Picasso. Meaning they could paint this still life based on form and shape like Picasso, or capture the color like Matisse, or integrate the styles like both artists did later on in their careers. Naturally this gave the students a great deal of flexibility and the ability for them to use their imagination. I snapped a picture of one of the four tables working today, and as you can see even though they were all working with the same still life, each creation was UNIQUE!