Thursday, April 20, 2017

FIFTH GRADE . . . Picasso animals

Animal Sculpture by Matthew

Fifth graders explored abstract art with our latest sculpture project. Inspired by the shapes and forms of animals in nature, we built an abstract version of our favorite animal using wood, string and cardboard.

Pablo Picasso changed the way we all view and accept what we consider to be "Art." His brilliant and influential ideas went far beyond just painting a face with features in the wrong place. As a well trained realistic artist, he could create a very recognizable and beautiful study of the human face. He was trained in anatomy and in figure drawing. He understood how to represent the world on paper in a traditional way. Why would an artist paint a face as strangely abstract as he is best known for doing, if he could draw like this image below?

Realistic Sketch by Picasso
Abstract painting by Picasso
Fifth graders compared these two images in class and most students thought he was just having fun with the shapes and colors, or perhaps he was looking for a way to be different. We saw many examples at the end of the 19th century of how art and architecture started to pull away from realistic, practical forms. The world was changing and Pablo Picasso was a dramatic leader in our changing vision. His cubist portrait with features drawn in strange places was a creative experiment in how to portray a 3-D person on a flat surface. Why would you try to make something look like it has dimension on a flat canvas, if the surface is flat? He broke all the rules as he tried to make sense out of these revolutionary ideas.

Fifth graders broke all the rules with their sculptures. Using wooden blocks, they arranged shapes in a creative way, inspired by the features of their favorite animal. Here are some of our abstract sculptures. Can you tell what animals these are based on?

Animal Sculpture by Jason
Animal Sculpture by Lindsay

Animal Sculpture by Alexandra
Animal Sculpture by Logan

FIRST GRADE . . . As whimsical as a Miro

Sculpture by Hannah

Joan Miró
First graders were introduced to the artwork of Joan Miró, a Spanish artist best known for his whimsical paintings. We learned how he was inspired by the colors and movements of the circus and we talked about how he showed that through his artwork.

When Joan Miró was a young art student, he became frustrated when he tried to draw objects realistically. One of his art teachers saw that Miró had a good understanding of color but had a hard time copying shapes. The art teacher blindfolded him so that Miró could better understand the forms of an object by feeling it with his fingers before trying to draw it.

We tried that in our classroom, using brown paper bags to hide our objects. Putting our hands inside the bag, we felt the objects with our fingers and then drew what we felt. We let our fingers see for us! Everyone was so surprised and impressed with their "touch only" drawings and we all had a hard time believing that this was the work of first grade artists!

Our Miro project continued with a 3-D animal sculpture in the whimsical style of this famous artist. Using cut paper and scraps of other materials, we built our colorful animals with silly shapes, swirly lines and fun compositions. Here are some more examples of our animals in art...

Sculpture by As'ad

Sculpture by Timmy

Sculpture by Phillip

Sculpture by Gigi

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Pre-Kindergarten . . . Bunnies popping up all over!

Bunny by Odin
Art in Pre-Kindergarten is all about experimenting with the materials and becoming more comfortable with the tools. Our bunny project gave us many different opportunities to discover how much fun art can be! We practiced our drawing skills as we drew very big bunnies on big paper. We outlined our bunnies in black and then colored them any way we wanted. The background landscapes were done on separate paper and painted. We drew a ground line and perhaps a sun in the sky. Again, we were able to choose any colors of paint to fill in our ground and sky. We even learned how to wash our brushes as we changed colors too!

Here are a few more examples of our big bunnies popping up in our landscapes. To see all of our bunny scenes, follow this link to the Ranney home page of
Bunny By Zaid

Bunny by Mariella

Bunny By Sharnagat

Bunny by Kaitlyn

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