Friday, November 20, 2015

FIFTH GRADE . . . Presenting our sketches

Each week, 5th graders come into art class with drawings that they complete at home. Some of the assignments might ask for them to use their observational skills and draw objects from life, in pencil only and as realistic as possible. Other drawings can highlight their design skills and call for working in color and patterns. Drawing from our imagination is another option, as is drawing an animated sketch and trying our hands at cartoon style illustrations.

Last week, 5th grade artists celebrated the colors of the season by creating a pattern with leaves. As students came up to present their drawings to the class, they also presented an artist statement, giving us more information about their art and getting us more engaged in the presentation. Classmates then had the opportunity to offer a critique to the artist. We are all learning how to talk about art, use art vocabulary, and we are learning how to appreciate the artwork of others.

Here are four very different interpretations of this week's assignment. Please contribute to our conversation by adding your own comments at the bottom of this post. Our featured artists for this blog post would love to hear from you!

Grace created a pattern on the page by alternating different colors and shapes of leaves and forming a beautiful star-like design. Some thought it looked like a snowflake design too!

Ashley drew a full page scene. Her landscape shows a pattern in the repetition of the tall trees and with the fluttering leaves falling to the ground. A pattern within a pattern is also visible in the veins inside each leaf!

Michael has us focusing on a perfectly drawn leaf. The blending of light to dark green for his coloring is so well done. We can almost imagine the color changing as the season passes. His patterns are exhibited in the colors of the leaf, in the natural beauty of the veins, and in the small corner leaves on the page.

Tyge has a wonderful sketchy style when he draws and it works perfectly in a sketch like this one! We can sense that this is not just a forced arrangement of leaves, but a glimpse at a real pile of leaves. One gust of wind and the leaves could easily fall into another arrangement. His sketchy lines give us that sense of transience and movement.

What do you think about these sketches? How well have these artists represented this colorful and changing season? Please add your comments below!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

FOURTH GRADE... Photoshopping our selfies!

Fourth graders discovered the magic of Adobe Photoshop in our general art class. Each student began with their image and learned the basic steps to crop, re-size, and adjust the brightness scale. Then they explored the artistic filters to create these amazing transformations. A favorite transformation occurs in the Liquify window with tools that slide pixels around on the screen, bloat or pucker areas of the image, and create swirls like in a Vincent van Gogh painting.

There are many photo editing programs and apps out there for people to use with their digital images, but the special effects cannot be controlled or customized. With Photoshop, our fourth graders learned how to create an original work of art out of a photograph, all on their own!

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