Thursday, October 24, 2013

FOURTH GRADE . . . Art and Technology

Our self portraits began as a lesson in technology when we learned how to use Adobe Photoshop in the computer lab. Then we turned back the clock to the 16th century and learned about the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci. Inspired by his mirror image writing, we retouched our photos on the computer and then created a mirror image drawing of one half of the photograph.

It was not possible to upload these drawings to Artsonia because they contain photographic images. Therefore, in order to share our drawings with you, I have created an iMovie with everyone's final work. Press the play button on the video below to enjoy our smiling faces and wonderful artwork!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FIFTH GRADE . . . The Twists and Turns of a Hand

Fifth graders are continuing to work on illustrations of an eye for our art show next month. This year we are focusing on one feature of the face and looking at each detail in depth. We have completed the outline of our eyes, the iris, the pupil and the highlight, and we began to add the lashes. These drawings promise to be quite an exhibition with everyone's eyes staring right at you!

For our sketchpad assignment this week, we also focused on just one part of the body . . . the hand! Understandably, it could be the hardest part of the human figure to draw with all the intricate shapes and angles in each finger. Here are four beautiful examples of sketches of a hand holding an object. Evan and Brooke both show their hands holding a pencil. This was one of the more challenging poses to draw and they both were able to observe and portray their fingers in a natural, relaxed pose. You can easily imagine their fingers pressed against the wood, guiding the pencil across the paper.
    The next two illustrations are also similar. Jaren and Ava both have their hands holding a water bottle and were able to make us see how the hand would have to stretch around the width of the bottle to hold it up. What terrific drawings! I am also impressed with the details all the artists were able to add to the objects the hands are holding. It always shows when you take your time and put in a little more effort with a drawing.

Click on "comments" below and let your friends know what you think of their work!

Sketch by Evan
Sketch by Brooke

Sketch by Jaren
Sketch by Ava

Monday, October 21, 2013

SECOND GRADE . . . Which object goes in front?

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) is a famous Post Impressionist artist from France. He often focused on the arrangements in a still life as his choice of subject matter. Cezanne studied the shapes and angles of his arrangements to create a dynamic composition. His paintings influenced artists such as Pablo Picasso and he was considered by many to be the father of modern art.

This is a Cezanne painting of a still life, titled "Apples and Oranges." What shapes or forms can you identify? Look at the fruit, the bowl, the water pitcher, and the table cloth.

The composition of a still life is the most important thing to consider. Objects are arranged on a table top to create interest, to highlight color, and to create a sense of movement across the page. When we began our still life drawings today, we learned how to create a composition with overlapping shapes. When objects overlap, it is important to understand which one goes in front. We learned that the object or figure lowest on the page should be the one in the front. To illustrate this, look at this image of overlapping children. By looking at the feet of the children, can you tell which one is in front? Which figure is behind everyone?

Note to families . . .
    This art blog will be updated regularly with new posts sharing our daily activities in the art room and news about upcoming art exhibits. To respect the privacy of our students, names will always be limited to first name only and identifiable photos will never be accompanied with a name. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to write in the comment box below or send me an email at I would love to hear from you!
    In my class, students are given the chance to explore different materials and fun new techniques as they develop their signature style. Some young artists love to draw with a pencil, some like to paint on canvas or create images in a digital format, while others prefer working with clay and molding three-dimensional forms. In my classroom, we use a variety of materials allowing all artists to experiment and figure out which type of art they like the best. At Ranney School, we place a strong emphasis on originality and celebrate artistic differences, always nurturing and encouraging the imagination of every student.
     Remember to check out our display of finished artwork and student portfolios in the Ranney home page of