Our studio art program offers courses in drawing, painting, and multimedia to students at all levels of expertise. Students who complete introductory coursework in drawing and painting may choose to further their study of that discipline by “majoring” in studio art in the senior year. Majors take a full-credit Advanced Study course during the senior year that requires extensive, independent work and artistic production outside the classroom, with a goal of building an individual portfolio of ambitious original work.
In each fine arts discipline we teach, students are introduced to the core elements of the given language, and guided through a series of exercises that ensure them a basic fluency. We believe that any student can achieve this modest goal, regardless of prior experience or natural facility. Once our students have developed a familiarity with the building blocks of a visual art form, they are encouraged to embrace the process of gaining technical mastery, and to risk experimentation that might take them outside of their comfort zones. Each course is designed to offer progressively more challenging projects, with room for individual interpretation, so that both the beginning and experienced artist will find a tempo that both suits and challenges them.
Art history is also a key component to our studio arts curriculum. We ask arts students to constantly engage with images and art from different cultures and understand the historical context from which a particular art form or style emerged.
The O'Brien Arts Center is home to the Warner Gallery, which holds student exhibitions three times a year, and visiting artist exhibitions four times per year. These visiting artist exhibitions give students a chance to interact with professional artists and to witness the ways in which the artistic disciplines we teach in our classrooms can be pursued in the wider world. When combined with close contact with established St. Andrew's faculty artists who are continually pursuing their own artistic practices, our intensive visual arts training allows the student grow in her artistic understanding, creative capabilities, and tendency toward free expression. Our master-apprentice teaching model for the visual arts allows our students to gain a strong sense of the arts as a means for investigating and celebrating the world in which they live.
- Art History
- Drawing 1
- Drawing 2
- Painting 1
- Painting 2
- Advanced Study in Drawing & Painting
Open to IV, V, VI Form students
Semester-long half-credit elective
Does art matter? Why do we study art, and its history? In what ways does art communicate, and to whom? How does a history of art objects help us understand different cultures and moments in time? How can we understand an object in a global context? How can art create community, capture memory, and support or resist power? How can we engage productively with the structures of the art world?
This introductory course is a thematic examination of selected moments in the history of art and cultural production across time and space. Case studies may cover any of the following geographic areas: Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, and the Pacific. Using an overall chronological framework that spans a significant period of history, the class will employ comparative and transnational approaches to examine art objects within (and across) their historical, socio-political, cultural, and religious contexts. Themes may include: the effects of globalization and trade; collecting, ownership, and markets; the interplay of religious and political values; visual constructions of power and identity; frameworks for landscape and space; the formation (and interrogation) of a canon; style and the role of the artist in society. Students will develop visual, verbal, analytic, and written skills through class discussion, student projects, visual, digital and written assessments.
open to ALL students
semester-Long Half-credit elective
Students in this course work with a variety of media to create a visual language for describing natural form. Using charcoal, conte, and pastel, students render still-lifes, landscapes, and portraits with the goal of creating strong representational images.
open to IV, V, VI Form students
semester-long half-credit elective
Prerequisite: Drawing 1 or instructor permission
Students work with a variety of media that will build upon skills that were previously acquired in Drawing 1. The language of value and form will continue to be explored with tools such as colored pastels, India ink, and charcoal. Students will then begin to pursue assignments of their own choosing, looking to construct their own visual ideas as they assemble a portfolio of images.
open to IV, V, VI Form students
semester-long half-credit elective
Prerequisite: Painting 1 or instructor permission
Students will work through a series of assignments that explore composition, color, brushwork, and value range. The ultimate goal of Painting 2 is for students to develop and pursue their own independent ideas in a portfolio of original images. Gouache, watercolor, and oil paint will all be options for medium as students develop their own artistic voice.
open to ALL students
SEMESTER-LONG HALF-CREDIT Elective
The medium of printmaking provides an arena of creativity where photography, drawing, design, collage, and painting collide. While the term printmaking refers to a myriad of techniques, this course will focus on screenprinting. The art of screenprinting, or silkscreening, is a fun way to create posters, cards, t-shirts, or even fine art prints. Foundational concepts of art and elements of design will be taught in this class, and students will have a chance to put their skills to work as they design and produce posters for school events around campus.
Artist we will look at include: Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Shepard Fairey, Blexbolex, and Jay Ryan.
open to VI Form students
Prerequisite: Drawing 1 or Painting 1, or instructor permission
This yearlong course is an intensive studio class designed for VI Form students interested in investigating advanced methods and concepts central to the visual arts. Students concentrate on hands-on studio work with individual faculty in one of the visual arts disciplines (painting, ceramics, photography, or film), and come together for lectures and discussions of contemporary issues in art, practical demonstrations, such as portfolio development, and critiques. Coordinated, thematic assignments stimulate comparative discussions among visual art disciplines as in an advanced fine arts seminar.
During the spring of my junior year, I watched the TV show “Pose”, which provides a lens into the Drag Ball culture of the LGBTQ+ community in the 1980s. The colors, makeup, and liveliness of the performers were so striking to me, and I wanted to challenge myself to capture that expression in my art. While I searched for images to inspire my portraits, I was totally in awe of the hard work and attention to detail that goes into every outfit, pose, and expression: these balls are a manifestation of life and identity in its most vibrant, bold, and raw state. It strikes me that this unapologetic form of beauty and the right to take up space is still restricted today because of the discrimination that LGBTQ+ members of society continue to face.
Throughout this project, I was worried that my own identifiers would prevent me from fully capturing the essence and beauty of this culture that was, at first, unfamiliar to me. But as I was struggling with this thought, my younger sibling told me that “just because it’s not your culture doesn’t mean you shouldn’t educate yourself about it and appreciate the time and beauty put into it”—which is exactly what I hope I have achieved through these images.
Throughout this year, I worked hard to create pieces of art that were out of my comfort zone. In ceramics, it’s easy to make the same piece over and over again; however, I really wanted to push my limits and create pieces that were difficult to construct without much technical guidance. This lamp represents the bliss and happiness I found in the challenges and complexities of ceramics. Additionally, since I did not have the chance to finish it, I feel that this lamp also represents my senior year. Despite the fact that I did not get to complete my senior year at SAS nor my lamp, ultimately I have a positive outlook. I have learned so much from each piece I have designed and am proud of myself for creating pieces that I did not know were within my reach. Although my lamp is incomplete, it brings me so much joy, similar to my time at SAS.
My independent project series is a five-piece project that depicts a girl interacting with five different wild cats. The cats are a tiger, a leopard, a lion, a mountain lion, and a bobcat. Each cat represents different things in different cultures, shown background colors and how each cat is interacting with the girl. For example, green is often the color of new things—such as the leaves of a flower or a tree in the spring. Since the lion can be a representation of wisdom, I used a green background to represent learning new things. I chose this theme because I have always been interested in wildcats, especially the bigger species, and I have always wanted to pet or be close to one without it attacking me. I thought it would be interesting to see if I could show each creature interacting with a girl as a representation of different emotions.
Throughout my entire arts career at St. Andrew’s, the majority of artwork I have made is oil paint on large canvases. I’ve always felt more comfortable with large work spaces; however, since Spring Break began, I’ve embarked on a new challenge involving tiny canvases and acrylic paint. My series for this Arts Weekend is entirely painted on footwear. This series has allowed me to focus on smaller details and intricacy in a way like never before. I have learned to appreciate each brush stroke because on such a small canvas, every drop of paint has a purpose. Furthermore, the amount of patience I have gained from this project is immense. Moving forward from this series, I hope to keep that same intensity and intricacy even when working on larger pieces.
The quiet and intimate Middletown I once knew is no longer. When I was younger, sitting in the combine with my grandfather and watching the rows of corn fall into the header and fill up the grain tank felt like a luxury I would be able to experience forever. My mind couldn’t even conceive the possibility of the comforting and familiar farmland turning into a small-town commercial hub. Middletown is where I grew up and the memories I have here are static images of the past in a growing town that looks towards the future. In my project, I wanted to show how the town’s image of a future has changed the real Middletown that many people loved.
Towards the end of last year I really enjoyed making slab-rolled pieces but never got the chance to fully flesh out my ideas. This year I concentrated on that form of ceramics exclusively. The collection of slab pieces have echoes of the source of my inspiration—nature—while also adding some geometric elements to it. I sadly didn’t get to create every piece I wanted to due to a number of circumstances, but I hope you all enjoy!
For this series I wanted to explore emotion in visual art aligned with color and composition. All of these pieces are done with oil paint on canvas. For the first two in the series I focused on love and anger, whereas the third was a more personal reflection on the meaning of bittersweet. This was not my original plan, but quarantine pushed me to explore my feelings on leaving St. Andrew’s. Although the third painting doesn’t quite fit "nicely" next to the other two, I am very happy with all the experiences I had while painting them.
Throughout this year I have made art that is related to my personal experience. My images are memories that bring me joy. Each piece shows a certain part of my identity. One is an image that reminds me of family, the Degas dancers because I have always found them elegant and calming, and finally the dragons because of my love of the mythical and mysterious. These are just some of the things that I find beautiful and that I have enjoyed creating in my own personal way.
In my independent project, I wanted to explore the feelings that are associated with places and the notion of home. These three houses are places that I’ve spent many holidays and places where I have made important memories through my life. In these works I wanted them to evoke the feelings I feel when I think of these places, rather than a carbon copy of the image of that place. The experience of working on these pieces overall was very exciting and fulfilling, and it was nice to explore the notion of home as I move on to college.
PS: A huge thank you to Mr. Westman for taking photos of my pieces that were stuck at school!!
For this series, I wanted to create pieces that were a connection and representation of my entire life. I have lived in a couple of very different places and I wanted to showcase that through my homes. These include houses from Delaware all the way to the camper van I lived in when I was in New Zealand. I used oil paint and a lot of texture to give as much life as I could to these paintings.
Going into the second semester, I knew that I wanted to get back into portrait art. Last year, I had initially thought the process with my charcoal drawing was going to be difficult and disappointing. However, the end result and the many weeks I spent on it caused me to truly appreciate the process and gave me more confidence in my abilities to pull off something that I thought was too hard for me. This year in particular, I also grew to have an appreciation for bright colors. While oil paint was not my favorite choice of medium since it did not give me the opportunity for small details like charcoal could give me, the way in which it presents itself on the canvas is unlike any other. Thus, I decided to take a slightly different route and use chalk pastel and watercolor as the mediums for my portraits. This allowed me to focus on the small yet important detailing while still bringing color to the page.
My goal for this project is to show the beautiful rawness of human connection with yourself, the people you love, and nature through art. Human relationships and nature are some of the most important things to me in the world. These are the things that help us come alive. Like a flower, or a tree, life has growing stages, and they are not always pretty. My goal with this project is to express the raw beauty of the human soul through art. Art makes me feel the way I feel when I am in nature being present and lost in what I am looking at at the same time. They are both beautiful creations, like the human body.
My grandmother’s green car was passed down to me when I was 16 and she had become too weak to drive it. I was beyond excited to have a car, regardless of its unique color. I totaled the car the summer before my junior year, which was a particularly difficult moment as it took place only a few years after her passing. I hadn’t realized how special she was to me until she was gone, and, once the car was gone too, it felt like I had lost a large part of my connection to her as well. Less than a year before she passed I lost my uncle, making the year particularly hard for my mom's side of the family. The car, my uncle, and my grandmother mean the world to me and to my family, which is why I have chosen to explore these events in my life through art. Although these moments have been sad and painful, the joy and hope we have found since has taught me a lot and exploring them artistically has helped me better understand my feelings and channel them in a positive way.
This collection of pieces is really special to me, not because they are the prettiest or most technically correct. I would say they are very far from it. However, they are special to me because they were the first pieces that I created without the guidance of my mentor, teacher, and friend Mrs. Elizabeth McGiff. I dedicate this collection to her because they represent a culmination of everything that Mrs. McGiff strove to teach me. In making this collection I took risks with shape and color, I challenged myself, I faced difficulties with the ceramic process (kilns are so hard to use), I fell out of love with ceramics, I went back to the basics, I asked for critical advice, I failed, succeeded, and failed again. It is common for people to look at a piece of ceramic art and deem it to be simple and, therefore, somehow less impressive; however, this process proves that it is anything but simple. Despite this artistic process has been grueling, frustrating, and upsetting, it was also fun, enlightening, and gratifying. Looking back, I would not have wanted to change a single step of it.
For my past drawings, I always focused on a snapshot or a specific, static moment of a story. So for this independent project, I wanted to try something different by telling a continuous story, and I chose to tell my own story. During the first eighteen years of my life, my family moved a lot, and I changed many schools. Every place I’ve been to is special to me, so I chose the places that are the most significant to me to put them on canvas. The first place is the park right across from my home when I was in elementary school. I went there with my parents and friends almost every day. The second place is my middle school; I was there for only two years, but I made some of my best friends till today. I tried to use different colors for the trees to represent the timeline. The yellow in the first painting represents my time in elementary school when I was childish and carefree. The second painting has orange and red trees because the colors show my excitement and growth. It was my first time trying oil painting; it was challenging, yet it was interesting to work with the combination of oil painting and pencil drawing. I was going to continue with this combination for the next places. Although I couldn’t finish this series the way I wanted to, I’m still continuing to draw the next places with watercolor.
Over this past year, I was very much drawn to the past and the difference in time periods. For my first project this year, which was shown at Parents Weekend, my collection gave off the vibe that it was taken on an older film camera and was a collection of photos of places that I have grown up with. My second major project was for the Winter Gallery Opening and I was inspired by the ’50s and ’60s. That probably had to be the biggest and most challenging project because it was shot in a studio with many models for the project. In the end, I loved how the photos turned out.
For this final project, I was inspired by the Lumineers "III" album and the way that it focused on people,
buildings, and stories from forgotten and abandoned towns. This wasn’t my original idea for my final
photo project and to be honest, I wasn’t sure how these photos were going to turn out, but in the end, I’m
glad that my idea changed. I have always loved history and learning about history so when my dad said
that he was going to take me on a “tour” of hidden places in the county that we live in, I was all for it. It
all started as a way to get me out of the house before the “stay at home” order was put in place. This
collection of photos is a collection of old, abandoned, and forgotten houses, barns, and other places that
are tucked away from the rest of the public or are not as obvious to the eye. What I like about these photos
and how they turned out is that when you look at the photos, you are immediately taken to the past and
can create a story right then and there.
I hope that you can create your own story from this collection of photos and jump back into the past!