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“And BOOM! Masterpiece!”

It was with such enthusiasm that Gillian Y. crafted her Artist’s Statement when she uploaded her Notan art to Artsonia last week.

Gillian Y.

Notan is a Japanese concept of light and dark. Fifth grade students used sets of complementary colors to create Notan using construction paper. The process of “Painting with Scissors” they employed is modeled after French artist, Henri Matisse, who created beautiful, giant collages using this technique in his advanced years. I showed my students this video, which shows Matisse creating this way. I get goosebumps watching the genius at work.

Students emulated Matisse by cutting paper Notan pieces. When they had completed a black and white piece, followed by  the three sets of complementary colors, they took photos of them with their iPads and created a four-square collage using the Pic Stitch app. We briefly looked at Andy Warhol’s four-square portrait series before beginning.

Andy Warhol

Student work is on display on Artsonia. Please visit the site to see the work: Notan Gallery

Here are four more pieces of fifth grade Notan along with Artist Statements:

Caroline B.


Maya W.


Alex H.


Adam M.



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