St. Mary's Catholic School
218 W. Washington Street
Hagerstown, Maryland 21740-4765
301-733-1184 | email

Challenging the Mind - Living the Faith

Mrs. Renken's Art Class

Fall is here!! I love living in Maryland for many reasons.  One reason is because we normally experience every season.  I look forward to each season and as that season ends I anxiously await the next 🙂 Fall however, is probably my favorite. And I love art in the fall!! It is a great time to learn about color and texture and make all kinds of projects demonstrating both.  I have lots of great projects planned to decorate the halls to for this beautiful season.

Welcome to ART!!

Why is Art important?

Art stimulates our minds.  Art informs, educates, entertains and enlightens us.  Art allows us to express ourselves when we can’t otherwise.  Art allows us to explore life.  Art allows us to be creative.  Art gives everything around us meaning.  Studies actually show that art makes us smarter!  As one student said last year … “without art our lives would be colorless and boring” 🙂

This Month In ART

Welcome back!! I hope everyone is ready for another wonderful year in art.  I have been busy planning some new and exciting projects.  September will very be busy!! We will jump right in working on our yearly Square 1 art project/fundraiser as well as putting together art auction projects for each grade.  Add to the mix our first Artist of the Month, Wayne Thiebaud.  Students will learn about his life and works and begin a project demonstrating his style. Pre K and Kindergarten classes will follow a different schedule once we have completed our Square 1 and auction projects.  They will jump into leaning about color and color mixing.

Art Club

Information for those who have signed up for Art club is going out this week.  Attached to the information sheet are the dates for Art Club meetings from October through December.  Art Club has been split into 2 groups this year.  5th and 6th graders will typically meet on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of the month and 7th and 8th graders will typically meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays.  Because of the auction and all I have to do to get projects ready for it, each group will ONLY meet ONE Wednesday in the month of October. Meeting dates are as follows:

5th and 6th graders will meet Wednesday October 4th, Wednesday November 1st, Wednesday November 15th, and Wednesday December 6th.

7th and 8th graders will meet Wednesday October 25th, Wednesday November 8th, Wednesday November 29th, and Wednesday December 13th.

Also, keep an eye out for the Art Club Snack sign up genius!!

Elementary Art Classes

Elementary art classes will be focused around learning and understanding the Elements of Art.  Students will learn about and then demonstrate their understanding of each element though different art projects.  Our first element will be color.  Students seem to enjoy mixing their primary color paints to make secondary ones. This is always a hit with the younger students!!  In between element of art lessons, we will be working on projects for Square 1, the auction Christmas and Catholic Schools week.  In February each class will do an artist study.  While learning about the artist, they will produce 2 projects reflecting their artist’s style or work.  These projects will be used in the spring for our art show at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

Middle School Art Classes

Middle School art classes will focus on learning about the Principles of Art.  These principles will build on the elements that we learned about last year.  In some cases, art projects will combine a principle of art with an element to help students draw a connection.  Students will learn about balance, rhythm, emphasis, proportion, variety and pattern.  They will be able to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding through various projects.  In addition, students will complete projects for Square 1, the auction, Christmas, and Catholic Schools week.  In February, students will do an artist study.  They will complete 2 pieces of art based on that artist’s style or work.  These projects will be used in our art show at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in the early spring.

Artist of the Month

I have been looking all summer for some fun and interesting artists for our monthly artist studies.  We will start of in mid September learning about Wayne Thiebaud.  Wayne is an American painter who is well known for his very colorful works that depict everyday objects.  Most make me hungry looking at them 🙂 His work has a Pop art feel, although he would argue that he is not a Pop artist.  After our artist lesson, students will work on a special project to draw out their inner Theibaud.  I chose to study him first because his work is fun and colorful and I think the students will enjoy seeing all of his yummy paintings.

Classroom Needs

The art room is always in need of Clorox wipes!!  Your donations are ALWAYS greatly appreciated!! Thank you in advance 🙂



2015 SMCS Art Show at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Classroom Photos

Enjoy your summer!

Boy did this year seem to fly by!  I have enjoyed all the time I have spent with the students and I am looking forward to seeing them again in the fall. I don’t think my mind ever rests when it comes to new ideas and projects for art.  I hope everyone has a fun, relaxing and safe summer and that you all do some drawing!!  I am excited to see how many students take me up on my drawing challenge.  Stay... read more

Happy New Year!

Welcome back!  Whose ready for SNOW?! Just when I thought I had successfully made it through a busy fall/December in the art room and could breathe, I looked at my plans and winter and spring look just a crazy and packed!!  Oh well, it wouldn’t be fun of it was boring... read more

Busy, busy, busy!

We have had a few busy months in art class!  Students completed many projects including one for our school’s auction and one for our Square 1 fundraiser.  Thank you to all who purchased gifts through Square 1 and those who bid on art projects! The students did an awesome job!! We worked on several projects for fall and also made portfolios to bring our artwork home in January.  I think the Artist of the Month has been a success. Students seem interested in learning about new artists and their sketchbooks are getting filled with some amazing drawings! We also made 3 trips to the museum this fall. Students saw some wonderful exhibits and were able to spend a good bit of time doing some hands on activities. Museum trips for the spring are being planned as well as out art school’s art exhibit.  We will be switching gears and working on some great projects for winter, for Catholic schools week and for our museum exhibit... read more

Square 1 Art fundraiser

Every student in Kindergarten thru 8th grade has spent the last few weeks working on an art project for this fundraiser. I am happy to say everything is ready to ship out tomorrow! A flier came home last week letting parents know a little about the fundraiser.  In a few weeks, all students will receive a package with their art and an order form allowing families to purchase products with their students artwork on it. These make great gifts for the holidays.  This is also a great way to showcase your child’s art while helping to support the... read more

Off to a smooth start!

Well, we are in week 3 of art classes and we seem to be off to a smooth start!  Students in elementary school spent the last 2 weeks working on some wonderful self-portraits and middle school students worked on creating identity grids.  This week we will set up our sketch books with 3 sections and begin our “Artist of the Month” lessons.  I am very excited about this art history portion of the class.  We will also begin our monthly drawing lessons.  First up will be a still life including miniature pumpkins and the head of a sunflower … perfect for fall!  Keep and eye out for information about our Square 1 Art fundraiser.  Students will begin working on this project in the coming weeks.  Lastly, thank you for all of the art room supply donations!! They are immensely appreciated... read more

One week to go!

There is less than a week to go and the art room is finally coming together! I am excited to see everyone. I am also excited to see if anyone took my summer drawing challenge. read more

This is my 4th year teaching Art at St. Mary Catholic School.  I have been married for 19 years and have 2 children who attend St. Mary. My daughter will be in 5th grade this year and my son will start PreK. I have lived in Hagerstown and now Clear Spring for most of my life … although I was born in Kansas and lived for a year in Maine. I am an alumni of St. Mary and I attended from K-8th grade. I have a Bachlors Degree in Education from Shepherd University. I love animals, camping and the beach. I have always been a very artistic and creative person and I feel that teaching art is a perfect fit for me! I am extremely excited for another year teaching and learning from your wonderful and creative children!

Mrs. Renken

Art Teacher, St. Mary Catholic School

Famous Artist Quotes

“Every child is an artist.” Picasso