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.

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. 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.

Entries in 2nd/3rd grades (20)

Saturday
Feb022013

Chalk Snowflake Drawings

Winter and snowfall always inspires lots of interesting art projects. After discussing snowflake structure and the concept of symmetry, our 2/3 class used chalk pastels to create these fabulous drawings on black paper. Click on any image to get to the image gallery.

  

Friday
Dec282012

Christmas fun

I hope everyone had a wonderful, joyful Christmas. In the few weeks before the holiday, most of our grades worked on projects with a Christmas theme. Here are a few from our younger students. Kindergarten and first graders created reindeer cards. They cut and folded reindeer, glued them to construction paper then had some fun painting on snow with Q-tips.

 

When their cards were completed, students created Christmas tree ornaments from chenille stems.

For their own project our second and third graders stacked strips of colored paper to create classic Christmas tree shapes to which ornaments were added. Fun! 

Click on any image to get to the picture gallery and more trees.

          

  

 

Thursday
Dec062012

Folk Art Cats

Our 2/3 class studied some examples of folk art cats, noting the typical elements of bright color and naive style in the work. 'Kitty.'-Engraving, 19th-century, by George White, Vermont

After we practiced drawing simple cats, students had fun creating their own cats with crayon, then mounting the work on black paper to create a border. The border was decorated with colorful symbols and shapes using chalk pastels. I love the results. Click on any image to get to the picture gallery and see lots more cats.


Friday
Sep212012

Kandinsky Circle Paintings

Wassily Kandinsky was an influential Russian painter and art theorist. He is credited with painting the first purely abstract works. His painting Colour Study: Squares With Concentric Circles (1913) is one of his best known and most treasured works. Our 2/3 class created their own circles starting with oil crayons and adding watercolor backgrounds. Click on the large image to see indivdual student work.

Friday
May182012

Castle Landscapes

Our second and third grade students learned the concept of a foreground, middleground and background in landscape art with this project designed around a favorite subject of children – castles!

Together we discussed the basic parts of a castle, which the children drew in white oil pastel on black construction paper. Using small cut sponges dipped in silver tempera paint, they created a stone or brick façade for their structures. After the castles dried they were cut out and mounted on white paper, and environments were created with a foreground, middleground and background. Moats, knights, mountains and princesses were added according to each artist’s desire and cut paper was used for flags, doors and windows. A very engaging project; take a look at the results! Click on any castle to get to the gallery.

Friday
Apr132012

Of Butterflies and Mathematics

April is the month when spring really begins to show its lovely side, with warmer temperatures and longer days taking hold. But did you know that April is also Mathematics Awareness Month? To celebrate, our 2/3 class completed a fun spring project that reinforced the important math concept of symmetry.

Butterflies are perfect examples of Reflection Symmetry, where one half of the object is the mirror image of the other. After studying some images of real butterflies, the students learned how to create their own. They folded a sheet of 12” x 18” drawing paper in half, then drew one half of their butterfly at the folded edge with black crayon, being careful to press down hard. Students were encouraged to be creative, adding any designs or patterns to their butterfly they chose.

Next they refolded the drawing with the crayon side facing inward. When they rubbed the backside of the drawing with a craft stick, the black crayon transferred to the other side of the paper. Open it up and you have a butterfly with perfect reflection symmetry! To add color to the butterflies the students painted them with watercolors. Again, color choice was up to each artist, the only rule was to color the wings the same on both sides to maintain the symmetry concept.  The students amazed me with how well they “got” the idea, geometry here we come!

Our butterflies are currently perched on a tree limb in the art room, but you can view them all close up by clicking on the image below.

Sunday
Mar182012

Everyone Loves Vincent


These last few weeks three of our classes have been exploring the work of Vincent Van Gogh, an artist most children really enjoy. I think his bold brush strokes and gorgeous colors attract them to his paintings, and for me there is a child-like innocence and energy that radiates from his work that I adore.

 "Sunflowers" 1889

Since spring is in the air, we looked at Van Gogh's sunflower series of paintings and each class recreated this one together. We first painted the background in tempera paint on 24" x 36" paper. We noted Van Gogh used large brush strokes and often "mixed" his colors directly on his canvas. I printed out a copy of his original painting and cut out the vase, which I applied to our painted background. After looking closely at sunflowers in our classroom to understand their structure, each child created one of their own flowers using crayon or crayon resist and watercolors. We made our stems from tissue paper, attached them to our flower heads and arranged them in our vase. After their painting was completed, each child signed their first names only, just like Vincent. I think they are as gorgeous as the original. Click on any to get to our sunflower gallery.

 

Friday
Jan202012

I Wish For a Pet

Almost every child either owns a favorite pet or wishes for one (maybe both), so this was a fun project for our 2/3 class. I printed out some animal eyes I found online and laminated them. Each student picked a pair and used them as a starting point to create an animal they were wishing for. We had fish, birds, puppies, even sharks! The students put their animal in an environment and embellished them with paper bows or collars. After gluing their finished piece to a larger sheet of paper, they filled their borders with information about their pet. The borders contained pet names, dates of birth, favorite foods and other facts.

The students filled out brief artist's reflections about their work and why they chose that particular animal as a pet. Since learning to look at and appreciate artwork is an important skill, we had a "gallery walk", viewing and writing one positive thing about each piece. Everyone took the gallery walk very seriously and did a great job being art critics. Click on any image to see more lovely pets!

 

 

 

 

 Our Gallery Walk


 

Saturday
Dec312011

Winter Projects

Shades of Green Trees

We've already started winter-based projects and I'll be posting more soon. This one was done by our 2/3 class to practice mixing shades of color. It was done over two lessons.

We reviewed blue + yellow = green, how there are many shades of green and how to mix them in a tray with watercolors. Students drew 3 or more simple shapes for trees and outlined them in black crayon. Keeping the tree shapes simple kept them focused on the color mixing rather than the tree drawing. They mixed up at least three different greens for the trees and added blue skies. I think they did a great job with the colors. If they were done early they could add cut snowflakes to their paintings. Click on any image below to get to the picture gallery.

 


Friday
Dec302011

Leaves, Leaves, Leaves!

Fall is such a gorgeous time of year in New England, it's my very favorite season. To celebrate its visual beauty, our classes did projects involving fall leaves. Click on any image to get to the picture gallery.

Watercolor Markers

Pre kindergarten and kindergarten used water based markers to color leaves using "warm" colors; reds, oranges, yellows and browns. They then watched the colors blend as they brushed them with water. It was a good opportunity to talk about warm and cool colors and review the color wheel. 

 

Crayon Resist Technique

The 2/3 class traced leaves from nature and colored them with crayon. We stressed pressing down hard with the crayon and filling up the leaf with color. Next they washed over their leaves with watercolor. The wax in the crayon resists watercolor absorption.

  

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