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Henri Matisse: Creative Play with Shapes

Education Center
Saturday July 13, 11am – 2pm
$75 (includes all materials)

Join Denise Laurin, artist and art historian for this workshop, where participants will learn about the cut paper technique French Henri Matisse developed after he was no longer able to paint. His work has inspired many people because of its simplicity and boldness. Thoroughly trained in traditional art, Matisse abandoned the typical rules of art because he wanted his work to express his passion for being alive. Although he experienced great struggles, Matisse chose to express joy and serenity in his art. Participants will learn about the visual elements and how to create successful compositions using the principles of design as they create cut paper artworks using the Matisse shapes provided.


Participants may pre-order lunch from Cantigny’s Cafe to pick up at noon through the Large Group Pre-Order Form.

Meet the Instructor

Denise Laurin is an artist, art historian, and art educator. Her fine art centers around the universal theme of moving from darkness into light as expressed through the human form.

In 2023, Denise studied oil painting and gilding with Brad Kunkle. At the New York Academy of Art, Denise studied anatomy and painting with figurative artist Peter Cox. With contemporary realists David Kassan and Shana Levenson, she studied charcoal portraiture, and she studied semi-privately for six years with Grace Cole. These realist figurative artists all have played an instrumental role in her technical development. Her media include oil, silver/gold leaf, pastel, charcoal and graphite.

For over twenty years, Denise taught art history and studio art on the college level at Elgin Community College, Waubonsee Community College and The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago. She holds a B.A. in Art and Art History and an M.A. in Art History from Northern Illinois University. Before launching her fine art career, Denise owned a graphic design firm and was named Woman of the Year by Women in Design/ Chicago.

Past exhibitions include the Fine Arts Building Gallery, the Chicago Cultural Center, and other regional locations. Between 2009-2014, she lived in New York City, where she taught at a private Manhattan high school and led a group show under the auspices of MoMA.

In addition to her studio practice, Denise presents art workshops and talks on art to organizations. She has been recognized as an advanced speaker by Toastmasters International and is a member of the National Portrait Society. Her work can be viewed at www.deniselaurinvisualart.com.