Wednesday, January 15, 2014

SECOND GRADE . . . Talking about Ranney School

One of our favorite projects in Second Grade has always been our landscapes of Ranney School. Each student has their own idea of how to represent the campus of our school. Some of the drawings are as realistic as the illustrations of Norman Rockwell, the artist who inspired us with this project, and others are more creative and unique in style and color. For everyone who loves Ranney School, these will all bring a smile to your face.

With this video taken today in art class, we can now also enjoy the voices of our second graders as they describe what they like about their school and their drawings. Enjoy!!! (Make sure your sound is on!)


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

FIRST GRADE . . . Art Appreciation

First Graders are being introduced to art history this year as we learn about famous artists and other cultures around the world. So far, we learned about the realistic portraits of Leonardo da Vinci in 16th century Italy, and then we moved forward in time and had fun creating colorful landscapes based on the work of David Hockney, a present day artist who lives in England.

Our next stop in our journey around the world is Joan Miro, (1893-1983), an artist from Barcelona, Spain. He is best known for his bright and colorful paintings. Enjoy this slide show of our First Grade classes today as we discovered what kind of an artist Joan Miro was and how he was inspired by the whimsical shapes and movement of the circus. Make sure your sound is on!

Monday, January 13, 2014

THIRD GRADE . . . Abstract Art

   ab·stract art
  1. 1.
    art that does not attempt to represent external, recognizable reality but seeks to achieve its effect using shapes, forms, colors, and textures.

Leonardo da Vinci
Piet Mondrian
Third graders had a lesson about art history in order to better understand abstract art. We took a journey through the 19th and 20th centuries and saw how there have been dramatic changes in art. For hundreds of years, realistic paintings such as the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci were what people considered "Art". Before the use of a camera, it was an artist's job to make a rendition of any scene or person as realistic and recognizable as possible. An important way to record history was through depictions of portraits, landscapes, paintings of battle scenes, and illustrations from the bible.

During the 19th century, artists began to express their feelings in their artwork and they started to break away from the rigid rules of the masters in Europe. Artists who experimented with impressionism or cubism had a difficult time becoming accepted in a traditional art world, but it was their ideas that eventually changed the way we view art. Pure abstract art, such as the painting shown above by Piet Mondrian, is not supposed to represent an object or a person. It is meant to stand on its own as a wonderful composition. Learning to appreciate abstract art means understanding and appreciating the art of the design.

Third graders created their own abstract designs with a cut paper collage. We balanced colors, textures and random shapes together to create a pleasing design. My only rule was that it should not be based on a portrait or a scene, but just a random arrangement of paper. Here are two very different abstracts by Cynthia and Ryan. Both vary in color and composition, and are equally successful. As well as creating the collage and deciding which way to hold the picture, selecting just the right color frame was another important design decision they had to make. To see all of our abstract collages, follow this link to our 3rd grade exhibit on

Artwork by Cynthia
Artwork by Ryan

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