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!

Entries in 7th/8th grades (23)

Tuesday
Jul012014

Wire Art

Working in a brand-new medium is an interesting challenge, one our grade 8 students took on with this project. Using thick, light-weight alumium wire they created a square framework, then added embellishments. Beads and various types of thin silver and insulated copper wires were used to finish off the designs. Prior knowledge of line as an element of art, as well as the design principles of balance and variety were incorporated into their designs. 

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
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
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!

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.


Thursday
Nov142013

Chalk and Glue Autumn Leaves

Here's another leaf project inspired by our beautiful New England landscape. This time we added a twist by drawing leaf shapes in glue on black construction paper. It was easier than it might sound if you've never done it before. The trick is to use only perfectly unclogged bottles of glue. That required a thorough cleaning of 22 bottles of much-used school glue, but the results are worth the time spent. After practicing a bit to ensure steady hands, our students drew their favorite leaf shape taken from the piles we had available to view.

(Luckily, there is no shortage of leaves right now in my yard!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the glue dried clear, only black lines remained. Students then selected two to three colors of chalk pastels to add to the leaves, blending the colors as they went. If they could see the black paper after blending, they added more chalk. The last step was to color the backgrounds using complementary colors, or colors on the opposite side of the color wheel from their leaf colors. Doing this creates the most contrast and made their leaves really "pop" off the page. Many of the pieces show the intense color chalk pastels are capable of, and some show off more delicate color schemes. I think they are all spectacular. Click on any image to see more of these beautiful designs.

Friday
May312013

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.

Friday
May312013

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.

 

Friday
May032013

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.