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.

  • A Review of CC’s Copper Lodge Library Books
    Overall, I really like the footnotes in the classics and think it’s worth it to purchase them if you can. I’m not impressed with the original works.
  • How to Keep a Timeline Journal (Book of Centuries)
    I didn’t learn a lot of history in my years in public school. Don’t get me wrong, I went to class and even earned A’s! However, I had no real interest or passion for history, so I didn’t really learn it. History felt very segmented to me. I knew a…
  • How to Schedule a Year of Cartography
    So you’ve decided to learn geography with cartography! Congratulations! This is really exciting! You’ll be having fun and using different parts of the brain as you draw all these unique shapes while you grow familiar with the world we live in. You can find more great cartography resources on our…
  • Does Coloring Count as Art Time?
    Short Answer: Yes! There are numerous benefits to coloring- both art benefits and non-art benefits and I want to tell you about some of the most important ones. Some of these benefits are similar to the benefits of tracing, but there a few unique ones too. Before we jump in,…
  • 5 Practical Tools for Drawing Maps
    In my previous blog post, I told you about the 5 main issues that seem to cause anguish for students entering Challenge A and trying to wrap their brains around drawing maps for the cartography strand. Now, I want to get more practical and give you 5 tools you can…
  • Drawing in Challenge: How to Avoid Tears and Enjoy Learning
    Our family has been using the Classical Conversations curriculum since 2012, but this fall (2020) will be our first year in the Challenge level! As my oldest moves into 7th grade, I find myself having to re-work the way I approach school with my son. Among the many exciting changes…
  • Audio Sample of the ACTA Book
    We’re working on an audio copy of my book, Anyone Can Teach Art. My first try at recording the first few chapters is now available here for you! OR, Listen on:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  Help! I’m not sure how to listen to a podcast! Buy ebook on Amazon Buy a Print Copy Straight from…
  • Now We’re Homeschooling?
    (I originally posted this on Facebook. It resonated with so many people that I decided to make it available here, even though it’s not really art-related. If I can answer any homeschooling related questions for you, please contact me!) If your kids’ school suddenly closed their doors and told you…
  • Art Resources
    I love the spirit of generosity I’m seeing among so many online businesses right now. Knowing that there are a bunch of people stuck at home, feeling a little confused on how to act, and maybe a little anxious, many businesses have made extra resources free for you while we…
  • All About Art Events- Podcast #66
    OR, Listen on:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  Help! I’m not sure how to listen to a podcast! ‘Art Events’ is the umbrella term I’ve given to in-person events where we create art. This includes painting parties, art camps, and art classes.  We’ve talked about art events on the podcast before when we heard from Emily…
  • Special Christmas Episode: the Incarnation of Christ- Podcast #65
    The birth and incarnation of Christ are often featured in great works of art- but what is the significance of the incarnation for Christians?  This week Julie and Deanna are wrapping up Season 3 of Anyone Can Teach Art with a special episode!  Instead of an art subject, today we’re…
  • How to Pick out Art Supplies- Podcast #64
    Whether you’re buying yourself art supplies, picking out supplies for your classroom, or purchasing a gift for a fellow artist, here are some tips on how to pick which art supplies to purchase. Here are some of our favorite art supplies. A Method to the Madness Having a methodology for…
  • Art Projects for Making Gifts- Podcast #63
    We’re talking about fun art projects you can create as gifts for others. Tile Coasters Blog post about coasters: How to Make a Custom Coaster in 30 Minutes Blog post about Tracing: Tracing Is Amazing! I have A LOT to say about tracing. If you’re specifically looking instructions on how…
  • Drawing a Pet? Start with a Great Photo!
    A drawing of your pet makes a wonderful keepsake! Whether you’re drawing it yourself or commissioning someone else to draw it for you, it’ll be a lot easier if you start with a great photo. Since I started drawing pet portraits, (which I sell through my store) many people have…
  • Why Study Vincent Van Gogh? Podcast #62
    Vincent van Gogh is one of the best-known artists of all time. He’s known for his unique style and strangely beautiful works and art, but also for his short, tragic life. Today we’re talking about van Gogh and what we love about his art. OR, Listen on:  iTunes  |  Google Play  |  Stitcher  Help! I’m not…
  • Why Study Berthe Morisot? Podcast #61
    Today we’re talking about one of the most famous female Impressionists: Berthe Morisot. Initially, she gave up on getting married and having kids so she could pursue her career as an artist. However, she later met a fellow artist who helped her keep painting while she married him and had…
  • Why Study Claude Monet? Podcast #60
    Monet is probably the most famous Impressionist and he’s known for his beautiful depictions nature, particularly waterlilies. Join us as we chat about his life and his works of art. What Can We Learn from Monet? Practice, practice, practice! Monet painted the same subject over and over! Try plein-air painting!…
  • Why Study Degas? – Podcast #59
    This unusual Impressionist didn’t enjoy plein-air painting (painting outside) or the airy natural light. Instead, he sketched and then returned to his studio to paint. He’s most famous for his paintings of ballet dancers, but he also painted everyday people in the city and action scenes from polo games! In…
  • Why Study Gainsborough? Podcast #58
    Thomas Gainsborough ( 1727-1788) was a life-long painter who loved creating magnificent landscapes but found they didn’t sell well. Instead, he paid the bills with portraits until he started combining the two into unique portraits with idealistic landscapes in the background. This made him England’s most famous portrait painter and…
  • Why Study Rembrandt?- Podcast #57
    Rembrandt (1606-1669) was a famous Baroque artist from the Dutch Golden Age. He is most famous for painting portraits in the 1600s, but of course, his story goes much deeper than that! Early in life he hit it big and became the most popular portrait painter in that time and…
  • The Personal Renaissance Mindset- Part 2- Podcast #56
    We’re back for part 2 of The Personal Renaissance Mindset. This is where we talk about how to cultivate a family culture that encourages lifelong learning and creating! You can find the Personal Renaissance Mindset part 1 episode here! The “Personal Renaissance” mindset came out of a conversation Deanna had…
  • The Personal Renaissance Mindset- Part 1- Podcast #55
    We love telling all about our own personal renaissance activities each episode (the things we’re learning and creating)- But how can we foster this mindset of a lifelong love of learning in ourselves and in our children? We’ve thought up a few keys and wanted to share them with you!…
  • Drawing Texture and Tree Bark- Podcast #54
    Texture is one of the 7 Elements of Art and learning how to create it can really increase the sophistication level of your artwork! Join us as we discuss how to create texture and how this integrates with the science of tree identification! Why Learn about Texture? Texture is one…
  • Aerial Perspective and The Science of Light- Podcast #53
    Learn about how the science of light creates aerial perspective, one of the Methods of Perspective Things We Mention Aerial Perspective and the Science of Light- Art Lesson Plan #34 Drawing Depth- Perspective in Art part 1 #35 Drawing Depth- Perspective in Art part 2 #47 Museum Visits Austin Kleon’s…
  • Fibonacci and Abstract Art- Podcast #52
    This week, Deanna and Julie are talking about the Fibonacci number sequence and how it’s used in art! Around 1170, Leonardo Bonacci (now called Fibonacci) was born to a businessman in Pisa, Italy. Traveling with his father around the Mediterranean, Fibonacci learned about the Hindu/Arabic number system (which is what…
  • Audubon and The Birds of America- Podcast #51
    John James Audubon had a passion for birds and he loved exploring America and discovering the many unique species of the land. This podcast correlates to one of our lesson plans: Audubon’s Scientific Illustrations with Upside-Down Drawing- Lesson Plan. It’s available on its own or as part of our Science…
  • Balance, Symmetry, and Leaves- Podcast #50
    This week I’m talking about balance, symmetry and how they’re related to leaves! Deanna’s unavailable, so it’s a solo episode this week! What is Balance? What is Symmetry? Balance is one of the Principles of Design Principles of Design:  How to use the elements of art to make art (Emphasis,…
  • The Basic Shapes of Trees- Podcast #49
    Basic drawing meets basic tree identification and makes for an awesome science and art integration!
  • How to Host Painting Parties with Emily Magone- Podcast #48
    Why not earn some extra money hosting painting parties this summer? As homeschoolers, our summers are usually a little bit more relaxed than the school year. That makes summer the perfect time to start a little business on the side! My friend Emily Magone is offering all her advice and…
  • Tips for a Successful Museum Visit- Podcast #47
    As summer is approaching and you’re planning your vacations, we hope you’ll include a visit to a few art museums! Join us today as we discuss the benefits of visiting museums with your kids and how to prepare for a really fun trip to the museum! Listen on iTunes   | …
  • 3 Simple Principles for Art Classroom Management- Podcast #46
    Welcome to Season 3 of the Anyone Can Teach Art podcast!! This week we’re talking about classroom management. We’re focusing on the art classroom but, of course, most of this applies to any classroom with children or even adults. Classroom management can be a real challenge for all of us,…
  • Best of Renaissance Artists- Podcast #45
    It’s time for a celebration of the Renaissance period! Are you ready for a quick overview of Renaissance artists? This ‘best-of’ episode is a sample of about 10 minutes of each of our six episodes about Renaissance Artists (#36-41). This will be a great refresher for you and your kids…
  • Best of the Ancient Art Episodes- Podcast #44
    Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Celts, and more! Are you ready for a quick sampler of six kinds of ancient art? This ‘best-of’ episode is a sample of about 10 minutes of each of our six episodes about ancient art (#28-33). This will be a great refresher for you and your kids…
  • Best Of: Using the Classical Model to Teach Art- Podcast #43
    Episodes #23-27 were about how to use the Classical Model to teach art. We’re summarizing them for you in this ‘best-of’ episode as a great refresher if you listened to those episodes last summer. Or, if you didn’t get to listen to them then, this will be an excellent introduction to…
  • Drawing Drills- Podcast #42
    If we’re always determined to create a masterpiece with every sketch, we miss out on some of the best ways to improve our drawing skills. The best way to get better at anything is through deliberate, regular practice of a smaller skill set. In art, we use drawing drills to…
  • Why Study El Greco?- Podcast #41
    His real name was a 10 syllable doozie: Do-men-i-kos The-o-to-kop-ou-los. No wonder they just called him El Greco (The Greek). He was born in Crete (part of Greece at the time), studied in Venice and Rome, and then settled in Spain. His style was a mix of Byzantine, Renaissance, and Mannerist…
  • Why Study Michelangelo- Podcast #40
    Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was an amazingly talented painter, architect, and poet, but his favorite art form was sculpting. He was probably the most talented sculptor who ever lived, perhaps even the most talented artist who ever lived. His art was dramatic, detailed, and always perfect. The people he sculpted were usually…
  • Cornstarch Clay
    I’ve been so impressed with how naturally most kids take to clay. It’s a medium without mistakes- Just keep playing with it until you like what you see!  I laid out all the basics of working with clay here. Air-dry clay is nice because it doesn’t need to be fired…
  • Why Study Albrecht Durer- Podcast #39
    Albrecht Durer was known as the “Leonardo da Vinci of Germany,” but he was a Renaissance trendsetter in the whole European art world. His impact reached far beyond Germany, partially because he traveled to other countries, but more because his Woodblock cuts were far beyond what anyone had ever created! However, Durer…
  • Intro to Clay
    Looking for a fun art project? How about clay!? We’ve been experimenting with clay as I create a few art lesson plans that use clay: Creating Relief Sculptures with Ghiberti Sculpting like Michelangelo We’ve tried several different varieties of clay and we’ve each found our favorites. I’m using the term…
  • Why Study Fra Angelico- Podcast #38
    Fra Angelico is another great Renaissance artist. We can see the Gothic-to-Renaissance progression over the years in his works of art and have rich conversations about the underlying philosophies and worldviews that influenced art at this time. Fra Angelico’s artwork also shows some examples of foreshortening, a key drawing skill! Listen…
  • Why Study Ghiberti- Podcast #37
    Lorenzo Ghiberti was a famous early Renaissance artist, best known for his three dimensional bronzed reliefs on the doors of the Florentine Baptistry. By learning about his work, we get to learn about relief art and its somewhat three-dimensional nature. We can also gain an understanding of the role of…
  • How to Make a Custom Coaster in 30 Minutes
    This project makes a great gift and it’s fun to do with the kids! It’s pretty fast- most people can do it in under 30 minutes. Although it will vary based on how much time you spend sketching. To purchase some of the coasters I’ve created or to just see…
  • Artsy Gift Ideas
    Christmas is coming! What sort of art-related gifts do we suggest? Deanna and I mentioned a few of our favorite gift ideas in the Podcast episode #36, but here we’ve compiled a list of all our favorite artsy things and sorted them into some different categories. I try to use…
  • Why Study Giotto- Podcast #36
    Studying Giotto is a great way to usher in your study of the Renaissance period because he’s the Father of the Renaissance in Florentine art. We chat about Giotto’s life, the hallmarks of Renaissance art and some art project ideas for your study of Giotto. In our Personal Renaissance section, we offer some great suggestions for Artsy Gift Ideas.
  • 5 Quick, Easy Ways to Incorporate Famous Art into Your School Day
    We all would love our students to be familiar with a collection of important works of art (and we kinda would like to improve our own familiarity with famous works of art too!) Familiarity with famous art is part of why we want to include art in education to begin…
  • 4 More Secrets to Adding Depth to your Art- Podcast #35
    In this 2nd half of our discussion on the 7 Methods of Perspective, we’re talking about: Shadows, Angle of Lines, Degree of Detail, and Color! These skills are a little less intuitive so they’re especially fun to learn and then see in everyday life! Here’s part 1, in case you missed it: The Methods…
  • 3 Easy Ways to Add Depth to Drawings- Podcast #34
    This is the first half of our discussion of the 7 Methods of Perspective. In these two episodes, we chat about all the ways to add depth to your two-dimensional artwork. In this episode, we discuss: Overlap, Horizontal Placement, and Size. In episode 35 we’ll cover the other 4 Methods…
  • Illuminated Manuscripts- Podcast #33
    We’re going back to the Book of Kells and other illuminated manuscripts (as promised in episode 31 about Ancient Celtic Abstract Art)! In this episode we answer the questions: When and where were Illuminated manuscripts created? What were they? What can we learn from looking at several examples of Illuminated…
  • Teaching Perspective with Greek and Roman Architecture- Podcast #32
    Its time for our conversation about Greek and Roman architecture! Join us as we answer the questions: What other cultures influenced Greek and Roman architecture? How has Greek and Roman architecture influenced present day architecture? What is perspective and how do I teach it? Is Architecture really art? What other…
  • Abstract Celtic Art, Patterns and Puzzles- Podcast #31
    Celtic Art has such a unique look to it that most people can easily identify at Celtic, whether it’s from the earlier pre-Christian eras or the later Celtic-Christian times. In this style we see a lot of patterns and drawings that look like knots and ropes. As far as abstract…
  • Archaic Greek Art, Linking Ancient to Modern Art- Podcast #30
    In this episode we’re chatting about Greek art, but specifically art from the Archaic period (about 800-500 BC). It’s an interesting period that leads to the Golden Age of Greece and the Roman empire. The Archaic period forms a link between Ancient Egyptian art and Classical Roman art. We chat…
  • Egyptian Art, Variety and Consistency- Podcast #29
    What makes Egyptian art so instantly recognizable? Why did the Egyptians draw and paint in this way? What kind and contributions did the Egyptian culture make to architecture? Today we chat about all these topics as we prepare for a fun art project: Drawing King Tut’s Mask Using Symmetry. Looking…
  • Exploring Prehistoric Art- Podcast #28
    Prehistoric art, like Cave paintings, rock art, and petroglyphs, are windows into cultures before written history. In addition to the obvious historical integrations, there are so many great prehistoric art / science integrations like the study of caves, geology, and paint materials. Join us today as we explore prehistoric art…
  • How to Teach Art in the Dialectic and Rhetoric Stages- Podcast #27
    Today we’re completing our series on the Classical Model of Education and how to use it to teach art with a special double episode about art in both the Dialectic and Rhetoric stages of learning. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher Art and the…
  • What are the Remaining Components of Art Grammar? (Part 3 of 3) – Podcast #26
    Today we’re talking about the other five components of the grammar (basics) of art: Techniques / Media, Skills, Purposes of Art, Art History, and Art Appreciation. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher Art and the Classical Model Here’s all the links to this full series on using the…
  • What are the Principles of Design? (Art Grammar, Part 2 of 3) – Podcast #25
    We’re discussing the Principles of Design (one of the components of the grammar, or basics, of art) as we continue our series on How to Teach Art using the Classical Model of Education. The Principles of Design are the way the Elements of Art are used in a work of art. The…
  • What are the 7 Elements of Art? (Art Grammar, Part 1 of 3) – Podcast #24
    As part of our series on How to Teach Art using the Classical Model of Education, we’re diving into the grammar of art! Today, Deanna and Julie discuss the 7 Elements of Art and how to use them in your classroom. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   | …
  • How to Teach Art Using the Classical Model of Education- Podcast #23
    What is the Classical Model of Education and how does it apply to art? What’s a model of education to begin with? In this podcast episode, Deanna and Julie discuss three hallmarks of a Classical education: Valuing methods over content, the Trivium, and Subject Integration. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen…
  • Why Include Art in Education? Podcast #22
    There are so many reasons why visual art should be part of education: the effect it can have on other school subjects and its inherent value in fostering creativity, visual learning, attention to detail, motor skills, confidence, comfort with ambiguity, learning from mistakes, perseverance, and communication with others.
  • Need Reference Photos?
    Drawing from a reference photo is sooo much easier than drawing from life, but sometimes you and your students don’t have a photo of your own that’s quite what you’re looking for. Using someone else’s photo without permission is copyright infringement! This is why I have a stash of photos…
  • Podcast #21: Making Time for Art
    One of the most common struggles we all seem to have in teaching art, is making time for art. Join Deanna and Julie and they discuss HOW to make time for both Art Appreciation AND Art Creation for both your children and yourself. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google…
  • Podcast #20: Why Study Jim Davis
    Deanna & Julie discuss Jim Davis, the creator of Garfield. Who is he? What is his art like? Why should we study him? Join us as we chat about the genre of comics, cartoons, and graphic novels and discover some great reasons to study Jim Davis and his memorable cat. At…
  • Podcast #19: Why Study Roy Lichtenstein?
    Deanna & Julie discuss Roy Lichtenstein. Who was he? What were his paintings like? Why should we study him? Join us as we chat about Lichtenstein’s Pop Art and the fine line between a copycat and a unique original piece of art. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   | …
  • Podcast 18: Why Study Andrew Wyeth?
    Deanna & Julie discuss Andrew Wyeth: Who was he? What were his paintings like? Why should we study him? Join us as we chat about Wyeth’s subdued pallet and discover what it means to train your eyes to see color. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen…
  • Podcast #17: Why Study Georgia O’Keeffe
    Deanna & Julie discuss Georgia O’Keeffe: Who was she? What were her paintings like? Why should we study her? Join us as we chat about the life and works of the Mother of American Modernism and grow to truly appreciate her dedication to the arts. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen…
  • Podcast #16: Why Study Norman Rockwell
    The 2nd artist we’ll study in our spring semester is Norman Rockwell. Who was he? What was his art like and why should we study him? Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on Stitcher Here’s the Highlights: Who was Norman Rockwell His life: Well know, 4000…
  • Podcast #15: Why Study Grandma Moses
    Deanna & Julie discuss Grandma Moses: Who was Grandma Moses? What were her paintings like? Why should we study her? Join us as we chat about the life and works of this American icon and grow to truly appreciate her paintings. Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   | …
  • Podcast #14: Why and How to Study Art History
    Deanna and Julie have a fun discussion about art history. We chat about why studying art history is so important, why starting with a big picture framework is best, and how my Art History Overview chart is arranged to be as helpful as possible. (50:23) Art History Overview Chart In…
  • Podcast #13: Art History- How to Go from Confused to Confident
    I’m getting excited thinking about our upcoming unit on American Artists! Every January and February we do six art projects, each focused on one artist per project. Studying these historical artists is such a fun way to incorporate a little art history into our homeschool week! It’s also a great…
  • 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! Go! Be free! Learn to…
  • Happy Thanksgiving
    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.
  • 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: Writing things by…
  • 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 Maybe…
  • Podcast #4: A Discussion of How to Overcome the Fear of Teaching Drawing
    Here’s our 4th podcast episode! In this episode, Deanna and Julie discuss the Ridge Light Ranch blog post, “How to Overcome the Fear of Teaching Drawing.” (You can read the blog post OR listen to it in episode 3) Listen on iTunes   |   Listen on Google Play   |   Listen on…
  • 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 Julie discuss the Ridge…
  • 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 facts about each organ. We…
  • 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…
  • 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…
  • 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 options…
  • 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 simple Garfield comic strip into a world wide licensing…
  • 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 art project, I went back…
  • 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 emotion. I find myself staring…
  • 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 more to be learned from O’Keefe.  For…
  • 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 rather insecure guy with a…
  • 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 learned several…
  • 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 lesson plan for a specific artist like this, I…
  • Making a Statement with Grant Wood’s American Gothic (C3W6)
    In the 6th week of each year, we have a final drawing project to finish our six-week fine arts unit on drawing. This coming year (Classical Conversations, Cycle 3) we’ll be making an altered version of Grant Wood’s American Gothic. Even if you don’t recognize the name, I’m sure you’ve seen the…
  • 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 art with optical illusions….
  • 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 response to the realism…
  • 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 San Diego  In it,…
  • 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 artist and…
  • 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 Drawing with Children by Mona Brookes, she…
  • 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 art curriculum…
  • 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 lessons, including some thoughtful questions to help…
  • 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…
  • 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 letters. It’s…
  • How to Improve Your Memory, Confidence, and Get Better Grades
    What Could Do All That??? According to this article in the Chicago Tribune, practicing handwriting aids in memory and inspires confidence. It engages different parts of the brain than typing and correlates with better grades. “For children handwriting is extremely important. Not how well they do it, but that they…
  • 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 can’t tweak a PDF…
  • 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 paint. This gave her paintings…