16 October 2017

Visual Arts in Middle School

The Visual Arts has seen a positive start to the year, with Year 6, 7 and 8 boys all undertaking new programmes designed to develop their fundamental skills in three main studio areas: Drawing, Painting and Ceramics.

However, as well as this, we are conscious of the transferrable skills inherent in a good Visual Arts course that feed into other subject areas, and indeed beyond the boundaries of school altogether. Skills such as; problem solving, lateral thinking, non- verbal communication, personal expression, perseverance and resilience, sustained focus and application to a project, exploring multiple perspectives, exploring multiple alternatives, and so on. These are built into the International Baccalaureate programme as the Approaches to Learning, and are what we strongly believe constitute the deeper value of the Visual Arts to the boys.

The Year 6s have undertaken a ceramics project that has required them to be innovative and inventive in the manipulation of familiar forms, looking to combine the features of unrelated objects to express something new and original. The results have been impressive to date, with the boys embracing the challenge and working hard to execute their workmanship with skill and finesse.

The Year 7s are currently painting self-portraits with a symbolic and expressive use of colour, informed by the Post-Impressionist and Expressionist art movements. The boys explored drawing their own face accurately, looked at colour theory and undertook sessions on correct brush and painting techniques. They have chosen colour schemes that symbolically represent aspects of themselves.

The Year 8s are building ceramic hands, where the emphasis is on accuracy with proportion and detail with the individual components of a hand, along with the symbolic significance of certain hand gestures across different cultures and in different contexts.

Middle School Visual Arts Enrichment Programme

I am introducing a new Visual Arts Enrichment programme at the start of Autumn Term, and this programme is designed to develop the technical and conceptual skills in more talented and willing Visual Arts students, with a view to potentially entering their work in some of the state's premier Art Prize exhibitions (such as the Black Swan Portrait Prize), as well as the Scotch 'Inspirations' exhibition. It is designed to foster passion in the students, and move their innate gifts towards genuine talents.

This programme will enhance the visual arts toolkit for all participants. First and foremost, the boys will develop their technical visual art skills in a variety of mediums, which will facilitate their development through sustained application and guided practise, as well as the previously mentioned skills. Students interested and talented in Visual Art will be invited and encouraged to enrol in this programme. The programme will be running on a Thursday afternoon from 3.30pm - 5.30pm.

Mr Scott Bycroft
Middle School Art