Original Works Time!

Gator artists began working this week on our annual art fundraiser projects!  We will be spending the next week or so finishing them up.  They will come home with your child in a few weeks.  You will have the chance to purchase all kinds of cools items with their precious artwork printed on it!  This project is a PTA fundraiser that benefits the many programs we offer at Greenwood!

They are still works in progress but here’s a sneak peek:


Kindergarten artists are making self-portraits using shapes!  We read a book about shapes by artist William Wegman and looked at the whimsical illustrations of artist Rob Dunlavey for inspiration.  How adorable are these kinder drawings?!


First Grade

First graders learned about painter Paul Klee and his colorful cat!  Together, we drew a cat shape using lines and shapes.  Artists were encouraged to add their own details.  Next week, we will paint them!


Second Grade

Second grade artists are making silly owls using shapes and patterns.  We looked at the work of artist Charley Harper (one of my FAVORITES!) and created these awesome birds!  Next week, we will finish coloring and add some paint details.


Third Grade

Third graders were inspired by my obsession with baking shows 🙂  We made unique and delicious cupcakes!  We looked at the work of painter Wayne Thiebaud for inspiration.  I just love the personality in these sweet treats!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade artists are making cozy cups of coffee, tea and cocoa!  We looked at the colorful work of folk painter Heather Galler for ideas.  I adore the variety in these pieces!


Fifth Grade

Oh, look at these guys!  Fifth grade artists are creating self-portraits inspired by everyone’s favorite building block – LEGO!  We drew the basic shapes together but added unique details to make them easy to identify.  They are looking amazing!

Looking for more LEGO art?  Check out Sean Kenney’s amazing LEGO sculptures!


If you or your child is interested in making a drawing of your own, I have posted my drawing videos to my classroom YouTube channel: TheArtsyArtRoom

One last thing….

Mystery Artist Awards!!

This year, students in grades 1-5 will have a chance to earn points for their house by making smart choices in the art room.  The “Mystery Artist” will be revealed at the end of the class and will earn a point for their house!  Be on the lookout for these amazing artists!



Welcome Back!

Welcome back, Gators!

I have had so much fun this week seeing so many familiar and NEW faces!

While traveling this summer I had the opportunity to visit the AMAZING Art Institute of Chicago and found…. MONA LISA! Well, sort of.  This one was painted by American artist Andy Warhol.  I was still super excited to see her!


Chicago was really, really fun.  Scary, but fun. 🙂


I also discovered a little more about one of my favorite artists, Keith Haring.  Did you know that he LOVED collaborating with kids?!  Back in the 1980’s he collaborated with about 500 (!!) high school students to create an incredible mural for Chicago.  The mural has been in storage for about 30 years until I SAW IT IN CHICAGO!

(Can you find me in the photo below..?!)


During our first week of art at Greenwood we have been *collaborating* on a project inspired by artist Keith Haring (he’s one of my faves!).

Each student, K-5, is designing a piece of a larger mural inspired by our new houses!


While we are creating these unique “mini-masterpieces” we’re also getting familiar with the routine and expectations of the art room.

I can’t wait to reveal our final product next week!

Have a fantastic 2018-2019, Gators!

Big Mouth Fish!

Kindergarten students had fun creating their own silly “Big Mouth Fish” this week!

We were inspired by Leo Lionni’s story of Swimmy, a small fish with a big idea!

We created our own fish by folding a piece of drawing paper and drawing a very simple, happy fish… but our fish has a BIG secret 🙂


Wait for it…











They have HUGE mouths!

Some of our fish are eating pizza, ice cream or even waffles!

Spring Wrap Up!

Here is a peak at some of the fun projects our Gators have been working on as our school year is winding down:


Kindergarten artists made adorable self-portraits!  We learned about artist Frida Kahlo and students were encouraged to include “clues” about themselves in their paintings!


First grade

First grade artists had a blast engineering their own “roller coasters”!  We used strips of paper in new and inventive ways to build twists, turns and loops!

Second grade

Second grade artists made AMAZING clay fish with reaalllly big mouths!  They turned out so cool!  We’ve also been weaving friendship bracelets like crazy.  More information about this project is at the end of this post!


Third grade

Third grade artists finished up these enormous and colorful flower still life paintings inspired by folk artist Heather Galler.  Aren’t they lovely?!


Fourth grade

Fourth grade artists built pinch pot clay owls.  They are all so unique!

Fifth grade

Fifth grade artists have been hard at work on their ocean-themed stop motion animation films!  We’ve finally began production and the movies are looking great so far!

We are working in teams to collaborate on our films:

Here’s a little look after our first day of animation:

There’s no question that the highlight of our spring lessons is always Kumihimo friendship bracelets!  I usually share this lesson with students in grades 2-5 but this year our 1st grade artists gave it a try… and LOVED it!  It is super fun and engaging!  Because the looms resemble jellyfish we watched the jellyfish cam while we were weaving.  It was so relaxing!


First grade artists “in the zone”!

A student hopped off the bus weaving!

I like to use small paper plates at looms for the project but any scrap cardboard will do (cereal boxes are great!).  Here’s a link to easy to follow directions if you’d like to try this at home:

Stop Motion Animation

Many of our Greenwood Gators have been participating in the Spring session of the After School Enrichment program!  I have been teaching a 6 week session on stop motion animation and have enjoyed integrating art and technology!

Stop motion animation requires a lot of time and patience.  Artists create their films using drawings, sculptures or found objects (like toys) to create action.  Each time the object moves, the film maker must make TINY changes and capture the change with a photo.  When many (MANY!) photos have been taken and the photos progress very quickly the action appears to happen seamlessly.


One of my very favorite stop motion animation films is “Fantastic Mr. Fox” directed by Wes Anderson.  Here’s a cool behind-the-scenes look at how much talent and effort goes into creating a full-length stop motion film!

We are using the library’s iPads and a free app called Stop Motion Studio to produce our own videos.  This app is very easy to use and super kid friendly.  Our animators range in age from 5-10 and have all made wonderfully creative films!

Each week our artists have about 30 minutes to experiment with a variety of stop motion techniques.  Here’s a small taste of what we’ve been working on…

Drawing on paper:

Dry erase markers and boards:


Modeling Clay:

I hope you have been inspired to try stop motion animation at home!  If you’d like to check out more of our movies you can visit The Artsy Art Room on YouTube.

Youth Art Month!

Youth Art Month is in full swing!

We have been working on our daily Creative Sprint challenges and enjoying art books shared by a verrrry cool Mystery Reader (me)!


Kindergarten artists are learning how to mix the primary colors to make NEW colors.  We love to mix colors!  Check out this inspiring video from OK GO!

We used the primary colors to make our spring chicks come to life!  They are so adorable!


First Grade

First grade artists are finishing their self-portrait collages inspired by Frida Kahlo.  I love to see so many interesting personalities 🙂


Second Grade

Second grade painters are still working on their Blue Dog paintings.  Students are working on mixing colors and adding unique details to their dog paintings.


Third Grade

Third grade artists made a variety of SHADES this week.  A shade is a color (hue) with black added to make it darker.  Next week, we will begin cutting this lovely painted paper to build our own amazing ice cream cones!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade artists are wrapping up their Women’s History Month portrait projects by mixing TINTS for the background.  A tint is a color (hue) with white added to make it lighter.  They are coming along so nicely!


Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists had a blast printing this week!  We created symbolic flower prints inspired by contemporary painter Kehinde Wiley.  We used foam plates and printing ink to create a series of prints.  Next week, we will use the same foam plates with additional details added to print AGAIN.  I am so excited to see how they turn out!


ARTS Festival!

I sure hope you all will have a chance to stop by the annual HCPS ARTS Festival featuring art from EVERY school in Henrico County!  It is a wonderful family event!


Plants, Animals and People Too!

I don’t know about you but I am SO excited that spring is on the way!  Our lessons this week are reflecting the sights and sounds of warmer weather…


Kindergarten artists are beginning a unit of color mixing.  To begin our lesson we watched a short video of “Peep in the Big Wide World” all about how to mix primary colors.  We used shapes to create six silly birds like Peep!  Next week we will use the 3 primary colors to make a rainbow family of silly birds.

Kindergarten Birdies

First Grade

First grade artists are creating self-portrait collages inspired by painter Frida Kahlo.  She loved making self-portraits! We read the lovely book “Viva Frida” and made observations about Frida’s paintings:

  1. She doesn’t always paint herself exactly the way she looks in real life.
  2. She likes to include clues about herself in her paintings.
  3. She loved animals and liked to include them in her self portraits.

Students are using paper and collage techniques to create self-portraits.  We will be adding “clues” to our self-portraits that help express special things about us.

First Grade Self-Portraits

Second Grade

Second grade artists are working on colorful paintings inspired by New Orleans painter George Rodrigue and his famous “Blue Dog”.  We looked at several paintings and compared their similarities and differences.  I shared the book “Why is Blue Dog Blue?” to explore some reasons Rodrigue selected the colors he used in his paintings.  We love this book!

Students drew Blue Dog and began painting her in a variety of colorful ways!  These are a work in progress 🙂


If you want to try drawing Blue Dog on your own check out my tutorial!

Third Grade

Third grade artists are learning how to create tints and shades.  A tint is a color + white, a shade is a color + black.  This week we worked on making delicious looking TINTS for the enormous ice cream cones we will begin building in a few weeks.  What flavors can you see in the colors below?  Don’t they look tasty??

Third Grade Tints

Fourth Grade

Fourth grade artists continue to work on their portraits inspired by Women’s History Month and artist Amy Sherald.  They are looking so fantastic!

I was so tickled when Amy Sherald commented my Instagram post!!!


Maya Angelou and Malala

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists are beginning a new printmaking unit inspired by artist Kehinde Wiley.  Wiley had an amazing exhibit at the VMFA several years ago and I was very inspired by his unique work!

Most recently, Wiley’s official portrait of former president Obama was unveiled.  We looked at the portrait and were able to see how the artist used symbolic flowers to communicate information about the president’s roots.

Students used flowers to express their own unique qualities.  We looked at birth month flowers, our state flower as well as the “language of flowers” from the Victorian era.

Fifth Grade Symbolic Flowers

Our next step will be to create prints from these flower plates.  Eventually, we will use technology to create self-portraits using our prints as the floral background!

School Board Art Show

I am so proud of Cali in Ms. Wilson’s class!  Her poppy field painting was selected by Henrico County School Superintendent Dr. Pat Kinlaw to represent all the elementary schools in Henrico at this year’s Virginia School Board Association art contest!  Way to go, Cali!


Happy Youth Art Month!

March is here which means it is officially Youth Art Month!  We will be celebrating in a few fun ways…

Creative Sprint


Students in grades 3-5 will have the opportunity to participate in daily drawing challenges.  These challenges are shared each morning on the announcements as well as on our school Instagram page.  You can follow along @TheArtsyArtRoom!  Students that complete a sketch each day through the end of March will win an art prize!

Mystery Reader

Students in pre-K-2nd grade will have a chance to enjoy an art book read by an artsy Mystery Reader (it’s me… shhh!).  I will be sharing one of my favorite silly art books The Day the Crayons Quit!

ARTs Festival

Henrico County’s division wide art festival will take place at Freeman High School on March 24th and 25th!  It will be a fantastic event!

Women’s History Month

March also marks Women’s History Month!  Fourth grade artists are recognizing the accomplishments of important women in history by conducting research and creating portraits inspired by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald.  Sherald is best known as the artist selected by former First Lady Michelle Obama to paint her official portrait to be displayed in the National Portrait Gallery.

To prepare students for their shaded portraits, they practiced by sketching pictures of their teachers (including me!).  They used ebony pencils to create a variety of shades from very dark to very light.  We used close observation to make realistic portraits.


Mrs. Barlett (oh hey, that’s me!)


Helen Keller and Rosa Parks


Jane Addams and Ruby Bridges

Career Dress Up Day

This week was Read Across America week.  We celebrated each day with a Dr. Seuss theme!  Thursday was “Oh The Places You’ll Go” day!  Students were encouraged to dress up as their future career.  I saw lots of little artists, including sweet Kensi!  Here she is showing off her awesome costume and the adorable pet portrait she finished in art!






We’ve been feeling a little crafty in the art room!  We are weaving, working with clay, quilting (with paper) and more!


Kindergarten artists are wrapping up their fun Richard Scarry-inspired lesson with Ms. Mull this week.  Students cut out their imaginative cars and glued them to a “road” on the lovely painted paper they made several weeks ago.  Before gluing the cars down, though, we made a short stop motion movie of their cars travelling through Romare Bearden’s “The Block”!  Check out our Instagram page @TheArtsyArtRoom for these adorable videos!



First Grade

First grade artists learned about painter Alma Thomas, an artist and art teacher from Washington DC.  She created abstract paintings inspired by nature.  Although her work is abstract and you can not quickly identify an object, she provides titles which reveal her inspiration.  Students had fun looking at her work and guessing the natural inspiration before learning the title of the painting.


Painter, Alma Thomas with “Spring Flowers in Washington DC”


“Irises and crocus'”


“Triceratops in the Sun”


“Rainbow Flowers”

Students used sponges to create abstract paintings inspired by nature as well.  We listened to nature sounds (thank you Amazon Prime Music!) like chirping birds and trickling water to inspire us.  Finally, we gave our paintings a title, to provide a clue about our abstract work.

Second Grade

Second grade artists finished their unit on printmaking with Ms. Mull with an introduction to Amish quilting traditions.  Students selected their favorite print to create a quilt block.  We used construction paper to cut geometric shapes to surround our prints.  When the class was finished we assembled the blocks into a classroom quilt.


“Mrs Wrighter’s Class Quilt”

Third Grade

Third graders are still in “weaving mode” … and they love it!  We will spend one more week weaving!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade students are starting a new unit inspired by American painter Amy Sherald.  She was selected by former First Lady Michelle Obama to create her official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery.  We will be making portraits of famous women in history in recognition of Women’s History Month in March.


Painter, Amy Sherald

To begin our unit, students practice making a variety of shades with an Ebony pencil.  We then worked on a sketch of our classroom teacher 🙂  Thank you for letting us draw you, lovely 4th grade teachers!


Students also finished up their blind contour portraits with zentangle doodles and wild, wonderful paint colors.  Check out the solution these friends had for their portraits.  So sweet!


Fifth Grade

Fifth grade students are working on finishing their face mugs!  We are painting them with glaze and they look awesome!  I can’t wait to see the final results following the glaze fire!  Please note, the weird smurf blue color is actually the final glaze coat that will be clear and shiny 🙂


On the move!

Our Gators have been working hard with Ms. Mull!  Check out some of the fun lessons she’s sharing with us:


Kindergarten artists learned about author and illustrator Richard Scarry!  We looked at illustrations from his silly book Cars and Trucks and Things That Go and had a chance to draw our own wonderful transportation creations.  They are all so unique and FUN!


Banana Car


Cupcake, Egg and Burger Car

First Grade



First grade artists have finished their Pokemon-inspired clay sculptures by glazing and creating Pokemon cards to describe their awesome creatures!  They had so much fun!



Second Grade

Second grade artists worked on another round of printmaking this week.  Students have been working on creating symbols that represent their own unique personalities.  They transferred these images to a foam printing plate and have worked on printing with these plates.  This week we used brayers and printing ink to make a series of prints using our printing plates.


Ms. Mull demonstrates our printmaking routine.


Symbolic prints

Third Grade

Third grade artists began weaving this week!  We love to weave!  Students used their symbolic color sketches to help them select which colors to use.  Next week, more weaving!


Fourth Grade

Fourth grade students had the chance to paint their blind contour drawings this week.  We used bright, unexpected colors to bring them to life.  They are stunning!

Fifth Grade

Fifth grade artists continued to work on their clay face mugs.  Last week we rolled slabs and built the cylinders of our mugs.  This week we added the facial expressions.  They look so cool… scary… silly… funny… crazy!

After School Enrichment

Our paper mache class is coming along great!  After two weeks of building our armatures we began working with the paper mache paste this week.  We measured the ingredients (1 cup flour/1 cup water), whisked out the lumps and dipped strips of news paper into the paste.  The strips are wrapped around the armatures to create a hardened outer shell.