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Visual Arts Courses

My Visual Arts curriculum is designed to be sequential in nature.  Building upon the solid foundation of skills and processes learned in Art 1 and Art 2, students interested in further developing their drawing and paintings skills can do so in the Drawing and Painting Honors class. I also have the skills and knowledge to teach a full ceramics curriculum featuring hand-building and wheel throwing as well as operate a kiln, pug mill, and other ceramic studio equipment. Ultimately, all of these courses can lead a student to take the most advanced Visual Arts course we offer, the AP Studio course, where students attempt to develop a focused portfolio with the intent of passing the national board.  AP Students are also required to have a solo public exhibition presenting their body of work and explaining the focus and intent of their creative investigations.  

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Fabric Design by Neilagh

Art Foundations
(Learning to "See")

Demystifying the skills of realistic drawing and painting is the primary goal of these courses.  While students are taught the various formulas artists have historically developed to create the illusion of 3-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface (linear and atmospheric perspective), they also learn to recognize exactly what and how our globe-shaped eyes see. Students are also taught to recognize and understand the true nature of color.   In reality, our eyes are simply light or data collectors, and the subtle colors we can perceive, are due to the natural physics of light.  Through my lessons, students gain an understanding of how our brains also overly simplify and stereotype the visual information we take in, in order to quickly make sense of the world. This stereotyping often leads to drawing problems as we draw what we "know" about the object, rather than record exactly what the eye sees. Once they are informed of these formulas, and the physical and psychological challenges we face, and learn to take the time to really look closely and "see", they can better understand how to apply this information to their art. Life is too short to not know how to draw!

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Advanced Drawing and Painting builds upon the foundation of knowledge and skills gained in Art Foundations.  It also introduces students to other printmaking techniques such as woodcut and lithography.  As students progress through the curriculum, projects incrementally demand more creative and critical thinking skills, as well as requiring more risk-taking. This is specifically designed to allow students to ultimately begin to discover their own artistic vision.

Drawing and Painting Advanced

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Ceramics and Sculpture

I am experienced in teaching ceramics at all levels including hand-building and wheel throwing techniques.  While our school primarily utilizes traditional electric kilns for firing we also make use of a gas-fired raku kiln.  This Japanese-inspired way of firing ceramics is an exciting process that offers many unexpected and surprisingly beautiful results.  

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Photography and Digital Storytelling

Traditional digital and film photography, darkroom skills and chemistry, and camera operation are taught in Photography classes. Training in Adobe Photoshop, along with issues of composition and design are also a major focus.

Students put these skills to further use in Digital Storytelling. Students are taught how to operate and effectively utilize Adobe Premier for sequential art, animation and digital film creation.  

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AP Studio Art

Advanced Placement Studio Art is the highest level art course where students attempt to achieve college credits by submitting their portfolio to the College Board. Students become genuine creative artists as they critique, analyze and produce a well-crafted and thoughtfully investigated body of work. AP students are also required to hold a public critiques and exhibitions of their work. 

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The Art of the Critique
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One of the most essential, yet potentially intimidating processes of creation is the critique. AP Studio Art students are tasked with formally and publically critiquing their work and the work of their peers on a regular basis.

These students have been trained through their prerequisite classes in the basics of critique, but in AP Studio, the process is examined and emphasized to operate at the level of any University Arts program. Our critiques are always very public with other teachers, students, or members of the community invited to participate. In my opinion, it is the height of experience for my AP art students. 

The ability to critique honestly and openly, to hear and consider suggestions logically, is a skill that will serve them for the rest of their lives in a variety of contexts.  Below you will find a screenshot of my Canvas LMS page describing the "Art of the Critique".

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