Icarus by Henri Matisse – Chalk Pastel Art Tutorial

Today we are going to go on an art adventure! Most of our lessons are of everyday objects, landscapes and such, but in this tutorial we are going to paint an impressionistic type painting in the style of the great French artist Henri Matisse.

Icarus by Henri Matisse Chalk Pastel Art Tutorial www.hodgepodge.me This is a famous and iconic figure called the “Icarus.”

~This post contains affiliate links to art supplies we have used and loved for years – and those we highly recommend! Please see our disclosure policy.

Alphacolor chalk pastel set 144 www.hodgepodge.me We thoroughly enjoyed using our brand new set of Alphacolor 144 chalk pastels for this painting! This one box lasts us approximately a year. For five students and a couple of adults that is pretty good! Remember that Nana says that a simple set of 12 chalk pastels or less, at roughly $10 (even around $7 on sale at your local craft supply store), is a perfect starting point for a whole family. One set can be shared among family members.

breaking chalk pastel sticks in half www.hodgepodge.me We broke some of our new chalk pastel sticks in half so that they were easier to handle. Nana showed us how to do this in her video of the Very Few Must Have Chalk Pastel Supplies (with a fall tree tutorial). It is perfectly acceptable to break pastel sticks into a smaller size for little hands to hold. Plus, it makes more sticks to share around a family!

Icarus step one www.hodgepodge.me The figure of the Icarus is very simple to paint; you will need the following pastel colors: black, yellow, medium or light blue and red.

Turn your paper length-wise and start your painting with your black pastel. I chose to start with the head, it is a round head, and just flows into the shoulders on the left of the head, down a long arm (look, no fingers to draw!) then slowly draw the underarm and trunk or middle of the body. Next are longish legs (just “pointy feet, no toes or heels!) and curve up the right leg, under the right arm and hand and meet back at the shoulders at the head!

mid lesson chalk pastel clean up www.hodgepodge.me It’s handy to have baby wipes or slightly damp paper towels at the ready for a quick swipe in between colors.

You may be able to draw the entire body of the Icarus without lifting your black pastel off the paper!

With the black pastel still in your hand, smooth in a layer of black over the entire body…BUT…leave a spot open for a very red heart drawn right in the middle of the chest! Make your Icarus as smooth and black as you can so it will stand out on the paper.

Icarus adding stars www.hodgepodge.me Then take your yellow pastel and draw some star shapes, the stars do not have to be the “twinkle, twinkle” kind, just a loose star shape…about four or five stars, or as many as you like.

Icarus steps 2 and 3 www.hodgepodge.me The lovely medium or pale blue pastel encircles the Icarus and the stars…be careful not to get the blue on the yellow stars or you will have green stars! Which is fine, really, this is YOUR painting, and not anyone else’s.

Icarus completed chalk pastels www.hodgepodge.me Icarus (L to R) by kindergartener, by Nana and by 11-year-old.

Look at your wonderful painting! Why, you have become a French artist! Great work! When your family or friends ask you what the figure is, you will be able to tell them that you drew the famous “Icarus” like Henri Matisse! Yes, remember, you ARE an artist!!

Want more on Matisse? Check out Harmony Art Mom’s Four Fabulous Fauvists Paintings to Study. With a free printable!

Art for All Ages bundle at www.southernhodgepodge.com Our Art for All Ages Curriculum


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