I love the way matisse creates this dog with just a few simple lines! I wanted my students to try their own version of this on a small 4"X 4" canvas using acrylic paint washes. This will give them a chance to work on drawing as well as mixing acrylic paint and working with the watered down paint as a wash.
First they will draw their dog on paper and get a feel for how to use just a few lines to create him. Next they'll draw the dog on the canvas using pencil and then go over the pencil with sharpie.
Now they can decide on the color of their dog and using acrylic paint mix it and add a little bit of water to it to make it thinner. Once they apply the light wash they can add some darker areas with a fine tip brush. The sharpie should still show through. Now they can decide the colors for the rug or blanket and paint them. I used a red/orange for the background because the complementary colors for blue and green are orange and red. Matisse used complementary colors masterfully and we'll be discussing this prior to choosing the colors for the rug and background.
The end result is a little snapshot of the entire Matisse painting focusing on the dog. Students can choose a different pattern for the rug, or a solid color and a pattern for the background, however they want to change it is fine. Matisse is the inspiration, the starting point, where they go from there is up to them!