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Inspired by the brightly colored interior paintings of artist Henri Matisse (1869-1954), learn how to paint an impressive Fauve ink artwork using Atelier Inks! Following steps in simplifying forms, flattening perspective and imaginative use of color and patterns, create a unique and playful work of art. Using the interior of your own living space as inspiration, relax into making a truly personal and impressive artwork.

We are going to turn the everyday scenes into beautiful, playful works of art, as Henri Matisse did in his fauvist works. Fauve art, or Fauvism, is an art style marked by intense color and free treatment of form. Fauvism is all about feeling, playing and going with the flow. It’s about removing details and perspectives and learning to go with your intuition. What “go with your intuition” really means is to detach yourself from an expectation of what the outcome will look like. Trust your first gut instinct when making a mark or choosing a color, knowing that you can’t make a mistake.

matisse inspired painting atelier inks


  • Watercolor paper, one sheet
  • Atelier Artists’ Pigmented Inks (Variety of colors)
  • Pencil
  • Small flat paint brush
  • Small round paint brush
  • Paper towel
  • Paper plate
  • Masking tape
  • Jar of water
atelier inks materials for project

Step One

Choose the space you are using as inspiration for your artwork. Is there a quiet corner in your home that you enjoy reclining in? Maybe it’s a place that you often daydream or maybe just a corner or room which you spend a lot of time in.

The first step is to take a photo or make a quick sketch of this space. Corners of rooms that include windows can create a nice sense of space. We are using a bedroom corner with a large glass door as inspiration for our artwork.

Experiment with different angles when taking the photos both from the height and the direction of the shot.

picture of room
Step 1 – PIck a space to use as inspiration

Step Two

Create a border around the edge of your paper with masking tape. This will make a nice crisp edge of white paper to frame your finished artwork. This can be as thick or as thin as you like.

taping an edge
Step 2 – Taping the edges

Step Three

With a light pressure, sketch the outlines of the objects in your photo. Start with the object closest to you then work backwards. There is no need to be accurate with the scale or perspective in this drawing. In fact, the looser and flatter it looks, the better! Use your imagination to add objects, for example, we drew a rug and a little cat into our artwork.

The most important part of this step is to ensure the pencil marks are very light. Ideally you should only have the faintest impression of the marks.

Making a mrl
Step 3 – Making a light drawing

Step Four

Now we get into the fun part of filling in each area with color. You can pick any colors you like for any object you like. Use bright flat colors with no blending or shadows.

starting the painting
Step 4a – Starting the painting

If you would like a sense of depth you can use cool colors such as blue, turquoise, green and purple for objects further away and warm colors such as red, pink, orange and yellow for things that appear closer.

Ensure that each object/section of your drawing is painted in with blocks of one color with nice, crisp edges.

Let dry for 10 minutes.

adding more color to painting
Step 4b – Adding more flat color to painting

Step Five

Now that every part of your page has been painted with bold, bright hues it’s time to layer on some details in the form of patterns.

Look at your reference photo for inspiration in the design of patterns. Look for details in the throw cushions, lampshades, rugs, and other things. How can you simplify these into basic repeated shapes and lines? If you can’t seem to see any patterns, use your imagination to create them. Maybe the walls can be covered with decorative wallpaper, or the floor has a unique design for carpet. Get creative and look at Matisse’s paintings for inspiration.

The lovely thing about using Atelier Artists’ Pigmented Inks is that they are highly saturated with pigments, making them perfect for layering.

For a strong contrast in color, you can choose to use complementary colors when overlaying the patterns onto your work. A complementary color is one that is opposite to another on the color wheel. For example, if the walls are orange, you can paint the pattern of the wallpaper blue.

Let dry for 10 minutes.

matisse inspired painting atelier inks
Step 5 – Layer patterns

Step Six

Now it’s time to remove the masking tape! Take it off slowly at a low angle to best avoid the paper tearing. If you do have the unfortunate experience of paper tearing, you can use scissors to cut out your painting and put it in a smaller frame.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial and are feeling inspired to create works of art for every corner of your home!

matisse inspired painting atelier inks
Step 6 – Final painting

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