13th May 2020


Matisse: a room with a view (London Drawing Group)

Pen and pencil

In a 20 x 20cm sketchbook 

These are drawings are from another online London Drawing Group online course lasting an hour.

We were taken through a series of exercises along with looking at various paintings and drawing by Matisse based around his views through windows. 

This first set of drawings were done in decreasing amounts of time: first three minutes, then one and half minutes and then just 30 seconds and this made us begin to simplify and concentrate on discovering what we could see out of our windows. I wish I chosen to sit more carefully, thinking about the view I would be seeing. 

After this we copied Matisse’s drawing of a view though his windows entanglers as a model. This made me consider the way Matisse made marks and used lines in his drawing.


2 minutes

The next exercise made us merge Matisse’s interior and our own view. We drew just the window from one of Matisse’s open window works and then drew in our own exterior view. Taking one interior and a different exterior is an interesting exercise to explore. 


2 minutes x 2

The next exercise was focused on composition and the way Matisse would use windows, the interior and the exterior to create space. In this we firstly drew all the horizontals and vertical and then all the diagonals and curves. 


2 minutes x 2

In the painting we looked in the exercise we also looked at how Matisse created a sense of space and distance and then tried to apply that to our own view. We had to choose something nearby, something in the middle distance and something far away and draw just those things. Later we came back to this sketch and with our closed we make marks in response to music (Bach) on top. This made us be more spontaneous with mark making and gave a sense of energy.

Matisse also considered edges and for as he drew and painted some drew a view nice using edges and once aiming for more simplified and solid forms. 


Finally we tried to sketch the view drawing upon some of what we had learned. We looked at Matisse’s Interior with Egyptian Curtain which exemplifies the principles and ideas of the class.


This was such a thorough and concentrated exploration of some of the big ideas and approaches evident in Matisse’s drawings and paintings. I have spent the last 7 weeks or so often sketching from my view so this was perfect for me to expand and develop how I look and what I do. 


About jeandrawingaday

I am a printmaker and artist, a teacher and author, a senior lecturer in the School of Education at The University of Northampton.
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