Thursday, November 21, 2013

THIRD GRADE . . . Degas' Dancing Figures

Third graders followed up their lesson on figure drawing by creating another figure posed in motion, such as a dancer. For this project, we learned about Edgar Degas (1834-1917), a famous artist from France best known for his studies of ballerinas. Here are a few examples of his work. He was fascinated by the movement of the body and spent many hours studying the graceful poses in a dance studio.

Artwork by Gina

Students began their dancing figures with a step by step lesson on drawing a figure in motion. In this partial drawing, Gina drew the head, neck and body of her dancer and then added legs and feet, posed in a position that a dancer would stand in. The next step would be to add the arms and hands showing a graceful movement. Unlike our wooden artist model figures, these dancers are wearing clothing so we had to make sense out of how the arms and legs would look under a skirt or pants.

Artwork by Chantal
Artwork by Kris

These students completed their poses and added a simple indication of a face. Working first with the background, we painted a tone of color to the paper with a watercolor wash. Once these background colors dry we will be able to complete our projects by highlighting and adding color to our dancing figures.

KINDERGARTEN . . . Eric Carle Collages

Many of our students in Kindergarten are familiar with the illustrations and stories of Eric Carle books. “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?” are examples of two of his most popular stories. Eric Carle’s “The Artist who Painted a Blue Horse,” is the book we used as the inspiration for our animal collage project.

To make our collages, Kindergartners painted large papers with two colors close to each other on the color wheel, such as red and orange, or blue and green. When the paint dried, students traced and cut the shape of their favorite animal out of the paper.  

Paper painted with orange and yellow

Cheetah cut out of the painted paper

The background was painted on another paper, using a much smaller brush and a much larger color palette. Putting it all together, we glued our animals over the background scene.

To see our finished collages, join us for an exhibition in Panther Hall gallery in honor of Grandparents and Friends Day!

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

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

FIFTH GRADE . . . Photographic illusions

Based on a drawing technique fifth graders learned last year, creating their portraits using a mirror image technique, artists this year used part of a picture from a magazine as their sketchpad assignment. The key to this project was to complete the part of the photograph using pencil and color so that the illustration becomes an extension of the image. It is hard to tell where the photo ends and the drawing begins with some of these sketches. Beautiful work everyone!

To add your thoughts, click on "Comments" below. The artists would love to hear from you!

Artwork by Isabella
Artwork by Claire
Artwork by Haeun

Artwork by Elena
Artwork by Myron
Artwork by Peter
Artwork by Lara

FIFTH GRADE . . . Take a seat!

Fifth graders drew an illustration of a chair in their sketchpads. The most successful drawings were made when the artist really paid attention to the shape of each part of the chair, including the legs and the negative spaces between the legs.

Fatima, Tatiana and Hubert each selected a chair that had both round shapes and straight lines.  The artists not only focused on the shapes of their chairs but also took their time to include the intricate designs carved into the wood. All of this detail gives us a realistic view of the chair they observed. We can appreciate the beauty of the furniture design and their beautiful rendition of it as well. What do you think of these drawings? Add your thoughts below by clicking on the word "comments" below.

Artwork by Fatima
Artwork by Tatiana B.
Artwork by Hubert