I am an art teacher with the Fairfield Community Schools teaching grades K through 5. I enjoy working with the children and helping them learn to use the creative side of their brain. I hope you enjoy my blog and seeing a bit of what we work on in the art classes.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

January Art Walk Promises Youth Art

The January Art Walk on Fri., Jan. 6, will feature a display of youth art work from various schools. The work above by Jacy, a first grader at Libertyville Elementary, is one example of a piece of artwork that will be on display. There will be a reception with refreshments from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Fairfield Public Library. Everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy seeing examples of what fine art is produced by students from kindergarten through 12th grade. This is a great time to come and enjoy seeing the wonderful creations by some of our students. This January show is a sampling of some of the fine art already produced this fall by some of our students.Of course we could not include every single student in this sampling. That will be accomplished in the spring with the Elementary Art Show in May. Every student K-4 will have work on display for the May event. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Sculpting Continues

'Tis the season... to get messy, for us! It's that time in the art room. Time to get our clay projects done and drying so that later this winter they can be ready for the kiln. It's a tricky process. Above is a story teller doll from last year's show all finished. Students try to build a project that will make it through the kiln process twice, with glazing later this winter between the kiln firings. The results can be beautiful! It's fun to see our projects reach completion and make it to the spring art show! 
Kindergartners are making pinch pots. First graders are making simple sculptures like a single animal or person. Second graders are making their own version of a story teller doll (Pueblo tradition). Third graders are making an animal with a sphere like center. Fourth graders are making a relief sculpture of their self portrait. Good work, kids, becoming ceramic artists and sculptors!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Drawing and shading lessons on web


The School of Imagination is a fun website which shows step by step a way to draw and shade several things. Once you master these you can try your own varieties and create more ideas. Some of the items are completely free, including the fish, jellyfish, pencil, and treasure chest.  If anyone is looking for a fun practice with a great teaching tool, here it is. Have fun! You do not need to join to try the free items. Check out the work by student art by students of all ages!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Thank you, Veterans!

Happy Veteran's Day and thank you to all our Veterans for all you have sacrificed to keep us safe and to preserve and protect our country! We cannot say thank you enough!

Two of my favorite Veterans, my father, David Noble, on the right, and his buddy Gordon Faught of Douds on the left.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Joys of Creativity (and being messy)

As we start to get involved in painting and clay and various other art materials, I would like to remind students to not wear their Sunday best on art day. We do try to put on paint shirts, and keep as clean as we can, but art is messy by nature. We will be working with clay, paint, and glazes, etc. We will get messy. I can always use a few extra t-shirts for paint shirts, if anyone wants to get rid of some for us to have in the art room for cover-ups. Remembering to not wear really good special clothes on art day can also really help.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vincent van Gogh

Maybe some of you saw the amazing report on Vincent van Gogh on Sixty Minutes last Sunday night. If not, you can go on line to see it. Use the link below, or google Sixty Minutes report on van Gogh. The program showed many of Vincent's works and revealed many things that were not as originally thought. Some of it will change what has been taught in art history for many years. As you can see by the accompanying art work by a young child in my class, Vincent van Gogh's Starry Night is one of the master works of about about which we learn. He was an amazingly talented painter, and I think you will enjoy seeing this report.


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Looking at manikins

Over the years I have learned that even first graders are able to look at a manikin and think about how to observe people, their proportions, and the way people move. They are also able to work through emotions and feelings and events through their art. As children create, they often have a story to tell, something that happened in their life that they are drawing and/or painting about. The picture that accompanies this post is a great example from last year. First grader Carter said this was his father waving goodbye as the bus leaves for school. I love how in this picture Carter was able to capture the feeling of that moment, the point of view of his dad as the bus leaves,

and even the perspective of the bus getting smaller as it gets further away. Art class enables students to create and learn, and also to think deeply and to communicate important ideas.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Second Graders' Line Drawings

One of the elements of art is, of course, line. The second graders have been working on line drawings with "cut away" views of all various things, homes or cliff dwellings, or under the ground scenes of a mole's hidden home. This picture of a house is in progress by Erin, age 7. Check out all the things that are happening in her fun drawing so far! Great job, Erin! The cut away view allows us to see so many different things!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One of the reasons...

One of the reasons I am passionate about art is that I have relatives on both sides of my family who studied art.  I cherish the few pictures I have that they did. Although they have been gone for many years, their art is a visible reminder of their lives and their contributions to the planet. The sketch that accompanies this blog was completed in 1918 by my maternal grandfather, Roy Jensen.  He died in 1935 when his car was stuck by a train. He was a United Methodist pastor and the father of three children, including my mom who was two years old when he died. Although my mother and the rest of us did not get to know this wonderful man, the drawings he did and the things he wrote are treasures that let us in on a little of who he was. 

Likewise, one can look back at the artwork of a child as the record of who they were when young, and the thinking and ideas expressed therein. Each of the students I work with changes and develops each day. The work they do today is different than that they will do next year, the next, and later in life. Their work is a creative effort, an example of who they are now, a footprint of sort of their time here today.  Each one is in the process of making sketchbooks for this school year, labeled with their name as they write it now, their preliminary sketches for their projects, their idea book and a reflection of their changing lives. I hope to have them write in their books about what they are thinking about their artwork.  I hope that at the school year's end these little books will become keepsakes for their families, a look back at who they are now.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Third graders view closely

Third graders have been observing still life objects and trying to really observe shape and form. They have been working on monochromatic (one color) watercolor paintings of their observed object. It takes a lot of concentration to think about the edge of something piece by piece. For example, one might look carefully at the curve of one part of one pedal of a flower, and then after getting that on paper, go on to the next pedal beside that. I have been pleased with the results so far as the students try to draw what shapes they see, and drawing with a paintbrush! The use of a monochromatic color scheme helps to give these paintings unity, one of our principles of design.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

End of the First Week

This week I will focus on what the fourth graders are learning in art class right now. The fourth graders learned what "surreal" means (not real) and have started creating surrealistic works of art. We saw several examples of artwork by Salvador Dali and others. The students looked for pictures in magazines to start in a collage approach with things put together in a new and surprising way.  It seemed to me that they were having a great time finding images that really did not go together in a traditional way of thinking, but could make our viewers surprised. So far it has been a good experience as they have been "thinking outside the box."

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Back to School!

As summer winds down, and we see the back to school ads arrive, I am reminded of times my own kids and I went shopping for the items on the list from the school: things like pencils, notebooks, paintset for art class (and we say Prang or Crayola brand because those have actual pigment and will actually paint colors). I have been reflecting also about the other school supplies I hope we will bring: a positive attitude, enough rest to be able to learn, hope and faith that we can find a good path ahead together, and most of all, kindness. If we have those things, the rest will follow. Have a great start to the school year!
Mrs. Finney

Monday, July 11, 2011

Stencil Paint on 1898 house!

We are continuing to work on our 1898 house and this summer I have been doing some stenciling of borders. This border is designed after the original (bottom layer) of wallpaper that we uncovered, under other layers and under paneling. I drew the design from the original border and cut it holes in plastic to create a stencil. This is a big project with hopeful results. Redoing this old house over the years is a huge labor of love.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Fun Painting Site on the web

If you want to do some electronic painting, (no mess!) try Bomomo.com
Here is my picture created by playing on that site.

Doggy Lisa

Here is my dog as the famous painting.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Time!

Having been done with classes for a week now, I stopped in to water my plants and put some files away. The room is cleaner with everything pretty much put away, but very empty...empty and quiet without the children. I absolutely love working with children, seeing what they create, hearing what they have to say. It is good to have time to regroup, sort files, read, reflect, study and yes, relax, but it is also good to see a little face smile up at me in the grocery as several did tonight. I was glad to see each one, happy to be a part of their lives. Have a wonderful summer, kids! See you in the fall!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Mr. Grunwald and son Blair Grunwald at last year's Art Show. Bring your camera!

The invitations are going home with the students for the K-5 Art Show. I hope you got one! If not, here is what it says:

Please come! You are invited to the kindergarten through fifth grade Spring Art Show - Sat. April 30 -1:00 to 4:00 p.m. and Sun, May 1 - 1:00 to 4:00 at Pence Elementary, featuring the art work of all K-5 students in Fairfield Community Schools. For this event the halls and gym of Pence are transformed into a gallery of children's art work! Please come and enjoy seeing the creations of hundreds of children from our school district!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Mark Your Calendars! Art Show for K-5

The Art Show for Fairfield Community Schools for all students grades kindergarten through grade 5 will be on Sat., April 30 and Sun., May 1, 2011!

The art show will feature every student in every building, with displays throughout the downstairs of Pence Elementary. You may come for as long as you wish, and bring parents, grandparents, neighbors and/or friends. We hope you will plan now make that one of your priorities for the weekend. If you can stop in for a few minutes and see the work of your child or class, or if you have time to enjoy all of the many pieces of art work, you are most welcome!

The children have been working on a wide variety of 3D and 2D projects and have a lot of which to be proud.

Please jot this down on your calendar now and plan to attend. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Third graders are learning to weave!

To see the kind of weaving third graders are learning, see this example on youtube:

You have to see this!

Fairfield High School's art classes have a blog page where you can see some of the amazing work of our high school students and here about their work. 
Here is the address:

Sunday, February 20, 2011

3D projects nearing completion!

This is an exciting time of year as so many 3-D projects long in the planning and creative stages, are taking their final shape. For grades K, 1, 2, 3 and 5 this comes in the form of ceramic creations coming out of the kiln! For grade 4 students, this comes in the form of paper mache masks creations, now being painted and decorated. We have been working hard on many things each week and it is so exciting to see that you can envision something in your head, see it through with hard work, and your creative vision can become a reality. Learning this creative process is the building block for making and creating many things in life, a beginning step toward many creative careers.

Plan now to come April 30 and/or May 1 to the K-5 Art show held at Pence. We will be featuring work by every K-5 student in the entire school district!