Friday, January 8, 2016

FIFTH GRADE . . . Let our voices be heard in the New Year!

Sketch by Grace
"I drew the zero like that because it represents the ball drop. I colored the other numbers solid, so you can focus on the zero."

B day is art day for fifth grade. That means bringing in a sketchpad with a drawing of something . . . it could be a realistic interpretation, a cartoon sketch, or even a colorful design. This week we celebrated the New Year and artists drew the numbers 2016 in a fun way.

Sketch by Ashley
"2015 is in the past and 2016 is moving in."

We are learning how to give an artist statement to the class. This will give the audience more information about the drawing and get everyone excited about what is being presented. Here are a few examples of our New Year's sketches and the words of the artists describing what they created.
Happy New Year everyone!

Sketch by Brandon
"2016 sped in, riding on the exhaust of a car!"

Sketch by Maria
"Each number is filled with something you might have done during the year. The 2 means all of the crazy things you did last year. The O means going to the beach. The 1 is everything in your house. The 6 stands for your friends and family." 

Sketch by Tyge
"Once upon a time there was a sad buffalo. He was bored all the time. On the last day of 2015 he was surprised when the ball dropped on him and he became AWESOME!" 

Sketch by Hamin
"I drew fireworks to celebrate 2016. Soon it will be the Chinese New Year and it is the year of the Monkey."

Sketch by Colette
"I was experimenting with dimension. I wanted the numbers to stand out on the page.

Sketch by David
"I wanted the numbers to look like 3D birthday candles."

You are welcome to add comments below. Our artists would love to hear from you!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

FOURTH GRADE. . . We are illusionists!

Illusion by Hunter
Op Art is a form of visual art that tricks our eyes into seeing impossible looking effects with an image on a page. It is usually an abstract design created with either straight or curvy lines. The placement of the lines, together with high contrast in color, makes us see vibrating patterns or a swelling or warping of the page when it actually is perfectly flat. Our circle projecting out of our grid is just an illusion.

Illusion by Dakota

Fourth graders went back in time (to my generation of working artists) before computers made quick work of creating grids, lines and circles. Our focus this year is exploring the many tools available to artists to create their images, We took advantage of a computer for our last project, but this time I pulled out our art room table top drafting tables. Each student learned how to hold a T-square and rule perfectly parallel lines, just as I had to do back in the day. Changing the orientation of the paper allowed us to create another set of parallel lines, perpendicular to the first set. With Op art, the illusion will not work if the lines are not perfectly placed in the image. Our fourth grade draftsmen learned how to measure correctly with a ruler and were remarkably steady with their T-Squares.

Illusion by Crosby

A compass was used to create the outline of the circle. The illusion comes from the distortion of the lines inside the circle. As the horizontal grid lines touch the edge of the circle, those lines curve upward or downward following the shape of the circle. The same thing happens with the vertical lines.

Just a side note . . . students who love math got a kick out of this project! Artists use math all the time when they determine composition, shape and measurements for their projects. With this project, just look at this long list of math vocabulary terms that are also so important to art . . .

Inch increments

To see all of our optical illusions, check out our exhibit on our home page of!

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

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BEGINNERS... Let it snow!

Snowman by Hayden
Snowman by Mariella

Beginner artists are continuing to become more confident drawing and painting circles. Our snowmen paintings began with three large circles painted with a big brush and white paint. The snowflakes are small circles painted with our finger prints! Then we added more finger prints for the eyes and the buttons. With a brush each artist also added a hat, a scarf and brown twigs for the arms.

What would you add to your snowman?

Snowman by Andrew
Snowman by David
Snowman by Lily

Snowman by Marlena

Snowman by Matthew

Snowman by Odin

Snowman by Oliver

Snowman by Patrick