The Visual Arts department offers the following year-long courses. The offering of some courses may depend on the level of student interest in a given year. Click on any course subject, for a description of our offerings.
Select a course below for a detailed description...
Advanced Placement Art
Drawing Portfolio / 2-D Design
The two studio art portfolio courses are designed for students who are seriously interested in the practical experience of art. Unlike other Advanced Placement courses, A.P. art students do not take a written examination; instead, they submit portfolios for evaluation at the end of the year. The two portfolios share a basic, three-section structure-concentration, breadth, and quality – which enables the student to show a fundamental competence and range of understanding in visual concerns and methods. Students in these courses are expected to work outside the classroom, as well as in it, and beyond scheduled periods. Maintaining a sketchbook -journal is essential. Each course is offered every other year on a rotating basis.
In this course, the student develops his sense of design in three dimensions. He begins by drawing and learning about the buildings on campus and then moves on to designing and building his own project. He sketches his ideas and does the plans and the models for each. Projects center on developing basic drafting skills and architectural drawing including: site plans, free-hand sketching, floor plans, elevations, and massing model. Completion of Geometry is required before taking this course.
Students in this course learn the fascination of manipulating clay through hand-building, modeling, and wheel throwing. Students extrude clay to make coiled bottles, burnish hand-made pinch pots, design mugs, drape plates, sgraffito bowls, carve figures, and build teapots. Imagination and technique are stressed and developed through utilitarian forms and sculptural images. Students keep a journal, write reports, and visit a studio potter.
Students in this course begin by studying the fundamental principles of design. Assignments encourage experimentation and invention. Students begin the year with a Josef Albers style cut-paper square assignment, progress to a Louise Nevelson “assemblage” and an Andy Warhol silk-screen, and complete the year with an eye-catching Claus Oldenburg “think big” project. All assignments begin with preliminary thumbnail sketches and end with a class critique.
Students in Printmaking will explore various techniques and approaches to printmaking such as stenciling, drypoint, monotype, linoleum-block printing, and silk-screening. A great amount of emphasis will be placed on design and drawing as related to the expression of printmaking. Students will design and print posters and t-shirts as part of the curriculum.
Drawing I and II
Drawing offers a wide variety of drawing experiences with emphasis placed on art structure and observation. Assignments divided between the two semesters will include the following: contour, gesture, negative space, value, enlargement, perspective, figure. Materials introduced include pencil, charcoal, oil pastel, ink wash, conte crayon. Students will develop their observational and accuracy skills as they progress through the semester with a variety of assignments including still life, fantasy, self-portrait and landscape. Drawing 2 includes more complex applications of the above, including a non-traditional “sculptural” drawing at the end of the semester.
Photography I and II
Photography explores technical and artistic elements of film photography. Students learn black and white photographic film processes through the manual capture, manipulation, and creation of images. Students experiment with photograms, pinhole cameras, Holgas, and SLR cameras. They learn traditional dark room techniques in film and print processing before moving on to collage, multiple exposure and other more advanced processes in Photography II. In Photography I and II students engage in an ongoing discussion of the history of photography and its role in society from inception through the modern day, knowledge of which allows them to effectively explore their own creative interests.
The focus of this beginning woodworking course is the study of design and making of fine furniture. To become an accomplished woodworker, it is important to start with a strong basic foundation of knowledge about wood, tools, and techniques. Through a series of woodworking projects that increase in difficulty, students learn about the properties of wood and the proper use of hand tools and power equipment. Essential to the successful completion of any project is an understanding of the design process and an ability to communicate ideas graphically. Students study the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to presentation. They improve their ability to communicate graphically by studying drafting (both manual and computer aided), building scale models, and building mockups.
In this advanced woodworking class, students work more independently, further developing their design and woodworking skills by creating a piece of furniture of their own design. Students study in greater depth the various steps involved in the development of a design from conceptualization to completion. They expand their ability to communicate graphically by improving their manual and computer-aided drafting skills. Students also have the opportunity to explore wood turning, parquetry, marquetry, and solid and veneer construction techniques.
Students in this course will explore paper and the book as a source of creative expression and sculptural possibilities. They will carefully cut, paste and fold pages to alter old books. Several book styles will be introduced, including pop-up and star folds. Students will also illustrate and bind a book using their own text or that of a fellow student through an interdisciplinary project.
Relief Sculpture and Plaster Cast
Students will be introduced to bas relief sculpture making low relief tiles and gargoyle-like wall hangings. Using oil-based clay, students will sculpt their ideas and then make a synthetic mold of the relief to create several final plaster sculptures. Students will learn the sculpting and design skills necessary for low-relief as well as address painting and surface decoration to the final pieces.
In this course students will be introduced to painting through color theory, various application techniques, figure/ground relationship and other compositional structures. Students will primarily use watercolor and acrylic, and paint from both observation as well as imagination.