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. I'm now in my sixth 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.


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. After teaching a diverse group of students from PreK through high school in another community for two years, I am in my second year teaching Art Foundations, Photography and Graphic Design at the high school level in my hometown district. My students are very talented and they impress me with their creativity every day.


Colored Alphabets in the Style of Jasper Johns

To start off the new school year our kindergarten and first graders created their own alphabet art in the style of the American contemporary artist Jasper Johns, b. 1930.

Jasper Johns, Colored Alphabet
Oil, encaustic and paper collage on panel

Our versions were done on 9" x 12" white sulphite paper divided into 25 rectangles (the letters I and J shared a space.) Kindergarteners traced over the lightly pre-printed letters in crayon, then painted over each rectangle with water-color paints. They watched the crayon magically "resist" the paint while the bare paper absorbed it. Oohh, it's fun to see that process for the first time! First graders were challenged to draw their own letters before painting. The artists had their choice of color selection, and it's interesting to see how different each piece looks. Click on any image below to see more of their terrific work.


Welcome Back Artists!

Welcome back to all returning artists and greetings to those new to our school. I hope you had a wonderful, refreshing and inspiring summer break. We have some interesting and exciting new art projects planned for this year. My goal is to challenge you to really see the world around you, and both motivate and inspire you to grow and think creatively. Remember there is always more than one solution to a problem in the art room!

Much of our work gets photographed and posted to this website when completed, then returns home with students at the end of the school year. We’ve also got some great links to articles and websites about art I’d like to share with students and families, so please remember to stop in regularly. I can't wait to get started creating art!


Clay Insects

Our 4/5 class celebrated summer's impending arrival with their own insect project. Keeping in mind the rules for what makes an insect an insect (see Insect Collages,) students created their own three-dimensional insect using air-dry clay. When it was dry the insect was colored using paints or markers. Paper pulp served as a base for an insect home, which could be appropriately decorated with grass, tree branches, etc. The bottom half of an upside down 2 liter bottle served as a dome to protect the insect. Here they are! Click to view the insects in their gallery. 


Insect Collages

The coming of summer has had us thinking about a favorite subject of many second and third graders - INSECTS! This project had students exploring when a bug is an insect and when it's not. We learned that all insects MUST have the following:

1.  three body parts - a head, thorax, and abdomen

2.  six jointed legs

3.  two antennae to sense the world around them

Rules are rules in this case. For instance, spiders may be bugs, but they are NOT insects because they have eight legs, not six. After viewing lots and lots of insects from all over the world, students used colored paper to collage their own colorful insects. They were encouraged to be creative and dsign their own insect if they choose to; but they had to follow the rules for what makes an insect. I think the results are wonderful, don't you? Click on any image below to see lots more of our favorite bugs.









 After the project was done students explored recreating their insect in three dimensions using modeling clay.



Value Portraits

For the last few months our 7th grade students have been studying drawing through self-portraiture. If you missed the post showing their All About Me Self-Portraits please take a look. For the final lesson of the unit they created these value portraits. After taking a photo of themselves on their iPads, I used the Cutouts filter in the computer program Photoshop to break down their photos into 5 distinct shades of black. The students then traced the printout of their value photos onto drawing paper and chose to recreate the values in pencil, colored pencil or paint. The project helped the students practice and understand the importance of value in two dimensional art and gave them these pretty great portraits of their 7th grade selves. Clicking on any photo below will get you to the Value Portrait Gallery. More portraits will be added in the next week or two.


We love Dinosaurs!

Most young children seem to have a never-ending fascination with dinosaurs, and our K/1 students got a chance to explore that passion this week. After examining some photos first, we learned how to draw a basic dinosaur. I was pretty impressed with how much some of our students knew about the names and types of creatures that existed so many millions of years ago. The topic promoted a lively discussion about what size each creature was and who could eat whom if necessary! The creatures were drawn with black crayon then watercolors were used to add color to the art. The students added whatever features they thought might exist in their dinosaur's environment. As always they were encouraged to be creative with their color and design, and they tried very hard to fill their entire paper with their art. I think the results are pretty great, please take a look. Clicking on the photos below will get you to the gallery for more dinosaur viewing.



More Carnival Masks

Our 8th grade students have offically finished their masks for Carnival, and just in time for graduation! It was a great interdisciplinary art lesson with ties to language, culture and history. See the original post for more information. Everyone enjoyed the project and put in their best effort so be sure to take a look. I've put these latest masks on the gallery page and you can reach it by clicking on any of the photos below.



All About Me Self-Portraits

The self-portrait is a form of representation by an artist that goes back to primitive times, and became truly popular during the Renaissance.

  Our seventh grade class begain their self-portrait unit by sketching facial features; eyes, ears, noses, and mouths from magazine photos. They practiced shading to create the look of three-dimensional form on a two-dimensional surface.

After learning the basic proportions of the human face, they studied their own unique facial features in a mirror and drew what they saw. If you have ever done this type of drawing you will appreciate the difficulty of capturing what you see on paper! After working hard to complete their drawings, students had fun using magazine images and collage techniques to represent something about their likes, dislikes, and their own unique personalities. Click on any image to see all their fabulous work.


A Hand for Mom Collage

Collage derives its name from the French verb coller, to glue. A work of art is created or enhanced by gluing things to its surface. While collage became a recognized art form during the Synthetic Cubist period of Picasso and Braque, the idea of attaching things to a piece of art to add interest goes back to primitive times.

 "Compotier avec fruits, violon et verre" by Pablo Picasso

Our 4/5 class combined the techniques of collage, crayon rubbing and watercolor to create these lovely works of art. After tracing their hands onto paper, they filled the area with scraps of magazine pages. The paper added a unique range of colors and textures to their hands. The hands were cut out and glued to background paper which had been placed over pressed tin and rubbed with crayon. Finally, the artists blended watercolors out from their hands to partially color the background. The use of complementary colors as well as adding a black border really makes the images pop. I love the dramatic and colorful results, and as bonus they'll make wonderful Mother's Day gifts! Click on any image below to see all this gorgeous art.


Flowers in the Style of Picasso

The artist Pablo Picasso created this lithograph for a peace demonstration held in Stockholm, July 16-22, 1958. Each of the 200 lithographs in the edition is hand signed and dated by the artist. Our kindergarten and first grade artists created their own versions of this iconic image. Working with a partner, they first traced each other's hand. Then each student outlined his own hand in marker. Stems, tissue paper centers and colorful petals were added to create a bright flower bouquet. After signing and dating their work it was complete, and just in time for Mother's Day! Clicking on the image below will bring you to the gallery and lots more beautiful flowers.