The Ridge Light Ranch Blog

Here you’ll find Free art project ideas, helpful resources, and encouragement to help you teach art to your students.

Podcast #12: D&J Discuss Tracing’s Usefulness

In this podcast episode, Deanna and Julie discuss tracing! Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher Here’s the Highlights: I'm a big advocate for tracing. I hope to make sure the whole world knows that there's nothing wrong with tracing!...

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Happy Thanksgiving (and a Freebie)

Happy Thanksgiving! My sons and I will be coloring our own version of The First Thanksgiving and we wanted to share it with you. I hope you’ll get to sit down and enjoy some art time while contemplating what you’re thankful for.

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Podcast #8: D&J Discuss Handwriting and Art

In this podcast episode, Deanna and Julie discuss the Ridge Light Ranch blog post about Handwriting and Art (Listen to it on Podcast Episode 7 or read it on the blog post). Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher Here's the Highlights:...

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Podcast #6- D&J Discuss How to Organize Your Art Class

In episode 6 of the Anyone Can Teach Art (ACTA) podcast, Deanna and Julie discuss the Ridge Light Ranch blog post, "Organizing Art” (Listen to it on podcast episode 5 or read it on the blog post.) Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher...

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Podcast #2: A Discussion of How Everyone’s Creative

I'm working hard, converting many of my blog posts to podcast episodes! I'm also recording some episodes where Deanna Munger, my sister, and I chat about the concepts covered in some blog posts! This is the first of our discussions! In this podcast episode, Deanna and...

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5 Tips for Beautiful Coloring with Crayons

We started creating our life-size paper bodies in science this week! Aren't they cute? (These are our finished ones from three years ago!) Using the My Body book from Teacher Created Resources, we color a few different organs each week while we learn some interesting...

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Art Contests for Children

(Last Update: Dec 4, 2017) Do you have a budding artist? Check out this list of art contests they can enter (sorted by due date)! A contest is a great way to encourage children to keep practicing their art at home. They may already have a piece of art they're proud of...

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Copyright and the Art Teacher

What do art teachers need to know about copyright? Is it ok to print pictures of art I find online and show it to my students? What IS copyright and why does it exist? Can I email a copy of artwork to my students??? I had these same questions so I started reading and...

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Who Decides What is Abstract Art?

I received a great question via email today about Andy Warhol and whether or not his grid paintings should be considered "abstract art." I had a lot of fun thinking through it and writing about it, so I ended up with a longer email. I want to share it here with you in...

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5 Simple Ways to Adjust Art Projects for All Skill Levels

When I teach art, I try to always have scaling options figured out ahead of time so I can adjust the art project to make it appropriate for the wide range of skill and passion among my students. If you're using an art lesson plan I've created, you'll see the scaling...

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Creating Cartoons Like Jim Davis (C3W18)

On week 18 in Classical Conversations (CC), we have a little fun looking at cartoons and American cartoonist, Jim Davis. The students always love looking at cartoons. However, I've historically been more fascinated Jim Davis' business savviness as he's expanded his...

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Using Primary Colors Like Roy Lichtenstein (C3W17)

Roy Lichtenstein lead such an interesting and varied life! In fact, my first draft of my Lichtenstein lesson plan included over two full pages of background on him! However, since we usually try to only spend 5 minutes talking about the artist before getting into our...

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Painting with Neutral Colors Like Andrew Wyeth (C3W16)

Andrew Wyeth's paintings carry a contemplative depth to them that is characteristic of his work. He usually used a very limited and sometimes muddy / muted color pallet, achieving incredible emotion. This is not the shock of an Andy Warhol painting, but a more subtle...

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Painting in Tones Like Georgia O’Keeffe (C3W15)

O'Keefe painted an incredibly wide variety of subjects. She is best known for her large paintings of flowers, but she also painted landscapes, bones, and abstract images. Many of her biographies focus on the sexual interpretations of her paintings, but there's so much...

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Illustrating Like Norman Rockwell (C3W14)

Rockwell's art is fun and often comical. It's full of childhood mischief and American icons. It makes us smile and leaves us longing for the "good ol' days." So, I was surprised when I started reading biographies about Norman Rockwell himself and discovered he was a...

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Remembering Like Grandma Moses (C3W13)

Can I make a confession right from the start? I've never really loved Grandma Moses' art. The lack of accuracy on perspective and proportion gives me a little twitch every time I see it.  (There, I said it. My mother is surely shaking her head now.)  Even so, I've...

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I’m Growing to Love Some Amazing American Artists

Over the last few weeks I've been working on creating the Amazing American Artist lesson plans, which we'll be using in our homeschool community in January. Each lesson plan is a combination of a artist biography and art project instructions. When I create an art...

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Tricking the Eye with Op Art (C3W5)

In our Classical Conversations Foundations community, we study anatomy in cycle 3. As part of our anatomy unit, we have a fun experiment we do the very first week in science where we create an optical illusion. This makes cycle 3 a great opportunity to include some...

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Using Color like Andy Warhol (C3W4)

In week 4 of our homeschool community we'll be doing an abstract art project. Did you know some of the earliest examples of abstract art we know of are from the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) in China? Of course, in the western world, abstract art really gained traction in...

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Drawing Upside Down Ships (C3W3)

Between Columbus, the Mayflower and the Boston Tea Party, I feel like Classical Conversations' Cycle three, which includes American History, is a great time to draw an old ship! Plus, I really love the old ships. As an aside, there's a great little Maritime Museum in...

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Drawing the U.S. Capitol Building Using Symmetry (C3W2)

In week 2 of our Classical Conversations (CC) year, we always have an art project based on symmetry, or "mirror images" as the CC Foundations Guide puts it. This is a fun week that involves a little brain stretching, but it's important both for becoming a more skilled...

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Drawing Basic Shapes with American Landmarks (C3W1)

I'm excited to start another year in our homeschool community learning about the fundamentals of drawing. We'll start week 1 working with basic shapes. Understanding how to see something as a collection of its basic shapes is a fundamental skill when drawing. In...

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Six All American Drawing Projects for Your Classroom

Thank you all for all your encouragement and support over the last few months! You guys are so kind and I just love hearing and seeing all the art projects you're doing in your classrooms. We're winding down our homeschool year and I've been focused on planning the...

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Six Simple Art Tracing Methods

This is the third and last post in a series all about tracing. First I convinced you that tracing is an awesome tool by explaining many of it's benefits and addressing the main objections. Then I explained when and how to incorporate mindful tracing into your art...

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How to Incorporate Tracing into Your Art Curriculum

Did I convince you that tracing is an awesome tool last week? Are you ready to try it? Today I’m going to give you tips for when and how to incorporate it into your art lessons. Next week I'll focus on the six methods of tracing and have a handy Tracing Quick...

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The Top 7 Reasons to Teach Tracing

Allow me to convince you that mindful tracing is a great tool to use in an art class. Tracing has so many benefits. You probably have used it in your own life and encouraged your children to use it also. After all, this is how most children learn to write their...

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The World’s Most Amazing Homeschool Planner

Homeschooling is a rich and unique experience for each family and student. So how do we find a planner that works for what we're doing? There's certainly no shortage of PDF Planners on the market- but what if you're life doesn't look exactly like everyone else's? You...

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Glob it on like Morisot

Berthe Morisot was successful in her own lifetime, both prior to joining the Impressionist movement and afterwards. She painted scenes from her everyday life as a fairly wealthy woman, giving us snap shots of the culture at that time. She liked to use very thick...

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Plein-Air Painting like Monet

"Plein-air" is French for "open air." ("plein" is pronounced like "plain.") So plein-air painting simply mean going outside to paint. "Plein-air" is a funny little phrase I thought no one used anymore until I learned what it meant a while back. Now, I hear people,...

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Capturing Action like Degas

While Degas was considered an impressionist, he really didn't act like it. While most of the impressionists were doing their plain-air thing, Degas was sketching ballet dancers as they practiced or translating his sketches into paintings inside his studio. He just...

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Painting Landscapes like Gainsborough

I don't know about you, but I really treasure the few photos we've had taken by professionals photographers. Family photography is an art all it's own and I have a lot of respect for it. But what did people do before cameras had been invented? They hired artists to...

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Drawing Botanicals like Linnaeus

Carl Linnaeus was a botanist before botany was a thing. He created the base of our modern classification system for living things. So, he is known as the "Father of Taxonomy." As part of this naming endeavor, he would create scientifically accurate drawings of plants....

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Drawing Faces Like Rembrandt

In Classical Conversations we spend six weeks studying amazing artists and doing fun art projects to help us remember those artists. This takes place in the third quarter of our fine arts program. So, in week 13 of cycle 2, we'll be studying Rembrandt. Rembrandt was...

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Saving Christmas with Amazing Artists Lesson Plans

Update: Cycle 3 Lesson Plans are now available! Check out what we're doing for Rockwell, Moses, O'Keeffe, Wyeth, Lichtenstein, and Davis! I'm so excited to begin the 3rd quarter of fine arts, when we get to study the Baroque, Classical and Romantic period artists. In...

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A Helpful Tip for Memorizing English Pronouns

Our Classical Conversations Community just did week 4 of cycle 2, which has the nominative pronouns. This reminded me of how last time we did cycle 2 were got pretty confused by week 8, trying to remember which pronouns where nominative, which were objective, etc… so...

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Travelers Notebook Size Printables Now Available!

I'm so excited to announce a whole new section to my store: Travelers Notebook size printables!. (This is the same size as the Midori Standard size.) These 21cm x 11cm notebooks are a great size for mobility and I love all the beautiful leather covers available...

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HP Instant Ink Saves the Day!

Do you ever run across something that you love soooo much you find yourself telling everyone you know about it?  One of those things for me is HP Instant Ink. I discovered it a year ago when I had to buy a new printer. (Ok, the truth is that the lady in Office Max...

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How to Encourage Your Community to Memorize

Here's a little extra thing we love to do in our community and it's good to start any time of year. We call it "Tickets-for-Grammar" but you could come up with a fancier name. It's a fun incentive program that incorporates some Memory Master practice and encourages...

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How to Memorize Ephesians 6, Easy Peasy

I've found that our family does a great job of memorizing anything that I have on a cute little flashcards. We carry these flashcards everywhere and review them over meals, while waiting in line anywhere, in front of grandparents, etc.   I've also found that if I...

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Ephesians 6 Hand Motions for Easier Memorization

I'm a big fan of NOT reinventing the wheel. So, of course I looked everywhere for a written out list of hand motions for Ephesians 6 since we're memorizing it this year. Maybe I just didn't look in the right places, but I couldn't find it anywhere. So, I set out...

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Organizing Art, Once and For All

In this short little post, I want to show you my system for organizing art as a homeschool community art teacher. I'll walk you through my process including picking out projects, preparing for Tutor Meetings, and grabbing needed supplies on community day. You can...

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Need Six New Drawing Projects? Try These!

I'm so excited for the first six weeks of Classical Conversations when we get to focus on drawing during Fine Arts. In this post I'll be showing you the six simple projects we'll be doing for these six weeks. I love getting to share these projects so much. If you have...

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How to Set Up a Community Map Challenge Like a Pro

As I'm preparing for our upcoming Classical Conversations (CC) year, I'm updating our Community Map Challenge document. I love how geography and art overlap in Classical Conversations! It's been great for us and I want to share it with you.  You can use it in your...

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How to Make Paperclip Ribbon Bookmarks

I'm going to show you have to make your very own paperclip ribbon planner bookmarks with just a paperclip and a few inches of ribbon! They add a fun element to your planner and are super easy to move around. You can watch the video or read the text- they both say...

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Eliminating the Paper vs Digital Planning Tension Forever

We live in a awesome time of digital everything where new apps are invented every day and we're surrounded on all sides with digital integration into our lives. It's great, but when it comes to planning, it's also annoying and confusing somehow. I really do love my...

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5 Tips for a Perfect Iron On Transfer

I really love these little tote bags and I want to provide five key tips for executing a flawless iron transfer project. These tote bags are just the right size for a few binders, but not big enough for me to weigh myself down.  They make a great gift too. The best...

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Everyone’s Creative

As soon as someone tries to tell me they “just aren’t creative” I want to leap into inquisitor mode and discover in what ways they are, in fact, creative! I firmly believe that we are each created to be creative. It’s in there- in YOU- from birth. You, yes YOU, are...

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How I Digitize My Hand Lettering

I've really fallen in love with hand lettering but I was getting really frustrated trying to digitize my drawings until I found this great four minute video. He shows how to use Pixelmator (Mac only software, $29.99) to turn a shape into a vector (which can be...

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Tips for Modifying and Printing MS Word Documents

The files I create are designed to be ready to print and use immediately. However, some people want to take a few minutes up front to customize a file to better fit their unique life. I love this and highly encourage it! The more precisely a files fits your need, the...

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