Tate Modern courses

Cutting into colour

Main View © Estate of Patrick Heron. All Rights Reserved, DACS 2022

This practical six-week course takes inspiration from Tate Modern’s exhibition Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs and the artist's vibrant use of colour and line. You are invited to creatively explore and experiment with different methods of the cut-out, a technique developed by Matisse in later life. By using scissors, Matisse would create simple yet sophisticated shapes from painted paper, assembling these to make dynamic and striking compositions.

Using a wide range of media, including hand-painted paper, found materials and fabric, you will learn to create 2D and 3D cut-outs that vary in scale, from large installations, mobiles and reliefs to intimate sketch book studies. You will develop your own series of vibrant dynamic artworks.

Inspired by Matisse's cut-out techniques and those of other contemporary artists interested in form and colour, you will learn to develop your own experimental works.  As well as making several visits to the Matisse exhibition, we will also take inspiration from the work of other artists in Tate's collection such as Alexander Calder, Alighiero e Boetti, Sandra Blow, Patrick Heron, John Piper, Michael Craig-Martin, and Gilbert & George.  Experimenting with a variety of techniques used by these artists, you will learn to simplify form, work with colour, produce a temporary cut-out mural, make a series of works in a sketch book, create your own mobile and finally work towards making your own individual interpretations of the cut-out technique.

No technical knowledge is required and all levels of ability welcome. Materials are provided and ticket price includes entry to the exhibition on several sessions. Led by artist Sarah Sparkes

Week one

You will have exclusive access to the Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition, before returning to the Clore studio to experiment with making their first Matisse-inspired cut-out using coloured paper.

Week two

Making works inspired by Matisse’s dramatic use of colour and dynamic, simple forms, you will create a series of experimental cut-outs, learning to simplify form and use colour to full and vivid effect with. Matisse's book Jazz will be a point of reference.

Week three

Making a larger scale mural as part of a group activity, you will make wall-based assemblage using large cut-out painted paper, fabric and other found materials. You will have the opportunity to visit Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition again to sketch and document specific works of interest.  Bring your camera to document your murals!

Week four

Making a mobile using cut-out shapes and taking inspiration from the work of Alexander Calder, you will explore the potential to create exciting combinations of forms in three-dimensional space.

Week five

You have the opportunity to visit Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition again and work on the construction of an experimental cut-out technique of your choice, or to continue to develop work from previous sessions.

Week six

Make the final touches to your series of cut-out art works. During this final session you will display the works you have produced during the course in a mini exhibition and have the opportunity to invite your friends and family to view your creations.

Note: you will be given a sketch book to bring in each week in which you can explore and develop processes and ideas. You will be invited to bring in various contextual materials, such as collage material each week.

Tate Modern

Clore Hub

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit


9 June – 14 July 2014