Saturday, March 14, 2015

KINDERGARTEN . . . The creativity of play

In kindergarten art class, we are learning that art can tell a story. Young artists are eager to express themselves through art and tell you a story about what they created. While many of our projects have structured limits and directions, part of every art period also allows time for independent drawing or building. Not all of what we do is about the finished project. If you listen closely while the young artists are "playacting" with their creative materials, you can hear their imaginations come alive through a narrative that almost always accompanies their work. It is the job of a young student to discover the intricacies of a creative world and how they fit into that world. We might all copy a picture of Dr. Seuss' "Cat in the Hat," but each one will look very different on paper as the personalities of the students shine through.

To best see how well my art students can express their creative stories to the world, I have put together a video of Ranney Kindergarteners at play. My only directive to the students was to build a world with blocks, either in groups or individually. As they were creating sculptures and not drawings, it was also important to notice how the piece looked from all sides.

Enjoy our glimpse into narrative art in the Lower School art room...


Friday, March 13, 2015

THIRD GRADE... Tropical forests with monkeys

Our latest third grade project was a mixed-media project using waxy crayons, watercolor paint that resists the wax of the crayon areas, and markers for definition. We created jungle scenes in the style of Henri Rousseau (1844-1910).

Although Rousseau never left Paris during his lifetime, and never actually saw a real jungle, he was best known for his paintings of jungles and tropical forests. Inspired by the plants in the botanical gardens and animals in the Paris zoo, he created many imaginary painted jungles. "Tropical Forest with Monkeys" is perhaps one of his most famous paintings. Even though he was a self taught artist, he gained the praise of artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse and his paintings can be seen in museums all over the world. This painting now hangs in Washington DC at the National Gallery of Art.

Our third graders learned how to draw monkeys and created a composition on the page with tall trees and many different shapes and colors of leaves to give us the illusion of a forest. Here are some examples of our work. To see all of our tropical forests, click on this link for

Artwork by Lily
Artwork by Claire
Artwork by Matthew

Artwork by Maggie

Artwork by Sophia
Artwork by Mason 

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