Welcome to Art with Mrs. French

I've put together this site to showcase some of the wonderful art work my students are creating. Take a look around and enjoy!

We Are Art Smart!

Howard Gardner, Ph.D., professor at Harvard University, first identified seven different kinds of intelligence in his classic book Frames of Mind. His theory has challenged assumptions about intelligence and learning and deeply influenced the path of education in the United States.

Gardner identifies Spatial intelligence as the ability to "think in pictures," to perceive the visual world accurately, and recreate (or alter) it in the mind or on paper. Spatial intelligence is highly developed in artists, architects, designers and sculptors. When we create art, thinking and acting to increase and develop our spatial intelligence, we become Art Smart!

Click here for an interesting article from ARTSEDGE on why being Art Smart is an important 21st century workplace skill.

About me

Julie French

I started my career in advertising as a graphic designer working with some very interesting businesses and non-profits. Click here to see some of that work. After taking time off to start a family, I wanted to combine my two loves — children and art. Click here to see some of my art work. I'm now in my fourth year teaching art and I love it! My students' creativity amazes me every day, they are a joy to work with.

Contact Me

Parents may reach me through our school website, everyone else please email juliefrench@mac.com.

Acknowledgements

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the people and places that have allowed me to make my transition from graphic designer to art teacher. The State of Connecticut’s Alternate Route to Teacher Certification program allowed me to build on my art degree and professional experience to become highly qualified to teach art in Connecticut. My experience as a student teacher at John Lyman and Korn schools in Regional School District 13 was invaluable, the teachers and administrators there are my heroes and role models! Thank you to the staff at Island Avenue school in Madison for showing me the way during the two years I worked there as a paraprofessional, especially super-teacher Carissa Connell. A grateful thanks to the wonderful, caring people at St. Vincent De Paul School for their daily support and friendship during the three years I taught art there. This year I am teaching a diverse group of students from PreK through high school in Wallingford, and learning so much. I'm fortunate to be working with a group of truly dedicated educators!

Wednesday
Apr162014

Op Art Spheres

Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley are two of the most famous artists of the 20th Century art movement known as "Op Art." Short for Optical Art, the artists working in this field were interested in the way the eye perceives movement. 

 

 

 

 

 

Vega-Nor Victor Vassarely 1969                                                                               Intake, Bridget Riley 1964

Our grade eight students reviewed some of the work of these artists to learn what creates the unique effects of Optical Art. They then created their own Op Art pieces. Click on the image below to get to the Op Art gallery.

Monday
Apr072014

Rainbow Fish

The art processes of printing, drawing and collaging were explored for this project our kindergarten and first grade students just completed.


Step 1, Printing: After reading the ever-popular story "The Rainbow Fish", students dipped paper towel roll ends into white tempera and printed their ocean background on blue construction paper.
Step 2, Drawing: Next, we talked about and viewed photos of fish to learn what all fish have in common; eyes, tails, fins and scales. Together we practiced drawing a big fish that filled up our white drawing paper. Students could then color the fish with crayon as they desired.
Step 3, Collaging: When they had a fish they were happy with, students learned how to collage, or glue, small pieces of lots of different colored paper onto their fish, ending with a one shiny silver scale. The fish were then cut out and glued onto the printed backgrounds, adding seaweed or other ocean details completed the artwork. Aren't they great? Click on any image to see more fish!

Monday
Mar102014

HexaHexaFlexogon Fun

Our 6th and 7th grade classes combined math and art concepts to create these paper HexaHexaFlexogons. They are called that because they have six, six-sided faces made from equilateral triangles within them and you must flex and manipulate the hexagons to view all sides. Because as you flex them, the triangles rotate their positions within each face, there are actually 14 different configurations to view in each flexagon. Click here for an interesting video which explains how HexaHexaFlexagons were invented. Students reviewed the color wheel and designed each face to show the six primary and secondary colors, warm colors, cool colors and three complementary color designs. Below are a few of the flexas they created.


Monday
Mar032014

Mehndi Hand Designs

Mehndi is the traditional art of painting the hands, feet or body with a paste made from the powdered, dried leaves of the henna plant. It is an ancient form of body art that has been practiced in the Middle East, India and parts of Africa for thousands of years and is typically used during celebrations and festivals.

Our grade 8 students had a chance to explore Mehndi and design their own hand art using markers and gloves to take the place of traditional henna on skin. Besides the benefit of being less messy, this technique allowed students to create a design which would be permanent after the glove was filled with cotton batting. Traditional Menhdi materials fade and are washed away in a few weeks.

Students reviewed traditional designs from India, the Middle East and Africa as well as the Maori peoples of the Pacific. They used these resources as a jumping off point to create their own personal Mehndi art. Take a look! Clicking on any image brings you to the gallery for more art.

 

Thursday
Feb062014

Valentine Hearts in the Style of Jim Dine

To celebrate Valentine's Day and learn about warm and cool colors, our 2/3 class took a look at some of the work of the American artist Jim Dine.

Using black crayon, students first drew a heart shape in the middle of their paper, then added lines across the paper going through their heart. The resulting sections were then filled with warm or cool colors and watercolor paint was added if the artist wished. Click on the image below to see more and be sure to have a Happy Valentine's Day!

Thursday
Feb062014

Puffy Snowmen!

Brrr... all this cold, snowy weather has been turning our thoughts to one of our favorite outdoor activities, building snowmen! This week our younger students created their own snowmen in the art room using puffy paint we mixed up ourselves. We used equal amounts of white school glue and dollar store shaving cream, then added paper eyes, noses, scarves and hats. A little silver glitter makes the snow sparkle in the sun. Take a look at the super results! Clicking on any image brings you to the gallery for more creations.

 

Thursday
Dec192013

Sunrise, Sunset Silhouettes

Our sixth and seventh grade classes worked on similar projects recently which allowed them to explore color, value and blending in painting. We first reviewed the meaning of silhouette, then viewed a selection of photographs featuring images of trees and animals against rising or setting suns. Students then composed their own images to be drawn in solid black with permanent marker. Seventh grade students painted their backgrounds first in tempera paint, then added their black images. Sixth grade students drew images first, then painted over the marker with watercolor paint. The black marker resisted the watercolor, and students could go over the black image again to sharpen it if they chose. Both classes learned and practiced painting and blending skills before they worked on their final pieces. Take a look at the beautiful results!

Thursday
Dec192013

Kindergarten Winter Trees

Give a kindergarten child a few strips of paper of differing lengths, and watch how quickly they figure out how to line them up to form a tree shape. You can almost see the thinking process as they work out the process in their minds. Add a glue stick, some crayons and white tempera paint, and before you know it some beautiful Christmas trees come alive in a snowy winter landscape. Click the image below to visit the winter tree gallery.

Thursday
Dec192013

You're a Funny One, Mr. Grinch

Everyone loves the Grinch, and our 2/3 class had lots of fun creating their own Grinches a few weeks before the holiday break. We don't do a lot of guided drawing in the art room because I prefer imagination to drive art. I do think though, that developing confidence in drawing ability is important, because that confidence lets our artists get down on paper what they are seeing in their minds. This little guided drawing exercise I found on Art Projects for Kids allowed students to get the basics of the Grinch and his sly eyes and impish grin. I love how each child took those basic instructions and gave their Grinch his his own unique personality. Click on any image to see more Grinches.

Friday
Dec062013

Social Justice Calligrams

The subjects of Art, Literature and Language Arts came together for this project our 8th grade students have just completed. Social Justice is a major theme in Mrs. Panzo's Literature and Language arts classes this year, where students have been researching and writing about the topic in a variety of challenging projects.

They applied that knowledge for this art project by developing a favorite quote or writing by an important figure they had studied into a calligram. Calligrams use a word or piece of text to create a visual image related to the meaning of the words themselves. Students could also choose the alternative of developing a poem about themselves and their interests they had written into a calligram. In the art room we stressed that the visual image relate well to the text, and that the words vary in size and thickness when needed to create visual interest. Students were excited to bring this important theme into their art, and I think the results are stunning, don't you? Find more examples by clicking on any image below.