2013-14 Highlights: VISUAL ARTS


During the first semester in Survey of World Art, students discussed and evaluated the nature of art and what qualities are valued in art by our culture and other world cultures. They considered aesthetics and art criticism as they developed and refined their own definitions of art. Students also studied qualities in ancient art that were revived and advanced during the Renaissance. Aspects of Greek and Roman art were examined and compared to artwork of the Middle Ages. This provided a foundation for understanding the events and trends that led to the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Late Medieval and Early Renaissance artists who were the pioneers ushering in the Renaissance were studied in depth.


A field trip to the Fralin Museum at UVA provided the opportunity for students to study the photography of Ansel Adams and some modern photographers. This was followed up in class with a survey of the history of photography. On the same field trip, students visited the Kluge Aborginal Art Collection. Students viewed artwork from Australian artists, past and present. One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity to see the museum’s storage facility to view Aboriginal bark paintings not currently on display. Students viewed artwork from Australian artists, past and present. One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity to see the museum’s storage facility to view Aboriginal bark paintings not on display.


In the second semester, students focused a large part of their study second semester on the Renaissance.  They learned about the Northern Renaissance in comparison to the Renaissance in Italy, considering differences in both style and intent.  Major artists and their works were studied, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian.  In addition to Renaissance studies, students also learned about more modern topics, such as Neoclassical and Postmodern architecture, and works outside the western world, including sacred sites and structures.  Students created travel posters for some of these sites.  They also created designs and models for art museums reflecting Postmodern characteristics.  The students then developed an exhibition of artwork based on a theme and placed small images of the artwork on the walls of their models.



Self Portrait Katy MartinSTUDIO ART I

Studio Art I students created many projects in the first semester designed to strengthen their basic skills through drawing. Exercises were done to enhance their ability to accurately render forms from observation. These exercises were designed to have the students look closely at what they are trying to represent in order to recreate what they actually see rather than what they think they see or stereotypes. The focus was online work and creating variety and interest in a piece. Students also studied the effects of light on objects and how to represent this through shading. Students progressed from using only a few values to a full range of values. Different shading techniques were used in the projects. Students also created projects based on themes. In the second semester, students will continue their skill work in drawing with more shading techniques and incorporating color into their work. They will also learn a variety of surface preparations. The focus will switch as the semester progresses to manipulation of the elements and principles of design in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional media. Lessons in Studio courses focused on skill work for Studio I students.   Some lessons for students in both Studio courses included learning about correct figure proportions and facial structure.  Students also practiced techniques in foreshortening in which parts of the figure are turned to appear to come directly toward the viewer.  This presents more of a challenge than a strictly frontal or profile portrait.  Student created larger pieces based on sketches done while modeling for each other.  They also had to incorporate new surface treatment techniques learned in another lesson into their final project.  Studio I students followed this project with a self-portrait to demonstrate their shading skills, a focus for the year, and their ability to represent correct facial structure.


Beth Sweet in Ceramics Class STUDIO II

Studio Art II students have done a variety of projects focusing on elements and principles of design. These projects have minimal requirements leaving them open ended and requiring the students to be creative in solving the problem. An example of this is a project where the students had to use line to create movement in the piece. They had the choice of media and method as long as the artwork met this requirement. This encour­ages the students to experiment with new ideas and find their own voices as artists and eliminates the creation of class projects that all look similar in their final form. Students have also studied methods of abstraction and have completed pieces in which they had to develop an abstract land­scape. All of these projects are de­signed to align with the requirements for the AP Studio Art portfo­lio. These portfolio requirements also include the development of a concentration project. This is a series of pieces based on a self-selected theme or concept. The students work on these projects throughout the year developing a visually cohe­sive body of work. The first part of the first semester is spent refining the idea for this project through the creation of initial projects and individual and group cri­tiques. Having finalized their ideas, the seminar period has been devoted to the completion of several pieces for their concentration project. Lessons focused on design problems and portfolio development for Studio II. Studio II students completed their year-long concentration projects as part of their final portfolio.  All Advanced Placement students submitted their portfolios for evaluation by the College Board.

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