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Upper School

Select A Department

U.S. Visual Arts

The Creative Arts Department faculty is committed to promoting artistic excellence through self-discovery, creative expression, and collaboration. Through creative risk-taking and the application of technical skills, our program builds confidence and discipline in students. The Creative Arts program promotes empathy and an appreciation for the artistic contributions of others.
  • Visual Foundations

    Visual Foundations provides a guided investigation of fundamental concepts and techniques in two and three-dimensional visual art and design. Students will become familiar with approaches used to communicate ideas with visual aesthetics, utilizing the Elements of Art and Principles of Design. Hands-on classroom and homework assignments, in both traditional and digital media, explore the creation of the visual image and form, and also provide connections to both historical and contemporary concepts and themes in the arts and the world around us. This course not only provides a foundation for learning in the visual arts, but it will also help students to develop essential skills for becoming a more effective communicator in all areas of the Derryfield curriculum and beyond. This course is Pass/Fail.
    Required for 9th grade (Students new to the tenth grade may take any visual arts elective to meet this requirement.)
  • Introduction to Studio Art

    (F, W)
    This course provides an opportunity for students to sample four different courses in one! An introduction to studio art practices, this course will prepare students for further visual art experiences at Derryfield. Students will be introduced to introductory techniques in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture, creating artwork that is relevant and meaningful to their life and learning process. Student’s engagement and willingness to get involved in the creative process is a more important requirement than the student’s talent or previous experience.
  • Drawing

    Drawing is the foundation of all visual art. This class is designed to refine skills and discover how fun and easy it is to draw both accurately and expressively. In this concentrated study of drawing we will learn to use pencils, pen and ink, markers, graphite, charcoal, colored pencils and other media to define what we see. Drawing from life, the human figure, interior settings, and landscapes, this course will introduce the fundamental elements of a good drawing: accurate perspective, interesting composition, varied values, rich textures, and intriguing space. This class is recommended for all painters, designers, and interested art students.
  • Painting I

    This course is an introduction to color theory and practice. The elements of design and the unique characteristics of colors are explored using watercolor and acrylic paints on paper and canvas. Painting from life, students will solve the creative challenge of representing the world they see. The thrill of putting paint on a surface will be experienced daily.
    *There are no prerequisites for this class, but it is recommended that students take drawing first.
  • Painting II

    This course is designed for students who wish to pursue more advanced work in the painting medium. After refining their understanding of color theory and brush techniques in the introductory class, students in Painting II will approach more complex projects. The class will be introduced to concepts of deconstruction and reconstruction, hard-edge paintings, and will culminate in a large canvas composition that calls on students to present a higher level of creative exploration. This experience is designed to push the student's ability to take risks, to create original visual representations and, at the same time, raise their skill level to new heights.
    *Prerequisite: Painting I or permission of department chair
  • Ceramics

    This course will cover the expressive and creative aspects of clay. Students will learn the fundamentals of hand building— from coiled vessels to slab-built sculptures. Mold-making, stamping, glazing, and painting techniques will all be explored as students create decorative, sculptural, and functional objects. Students will develop proficiency in working with clay, developing at least five unique ceramic forms over the course of the term. Assignments will explore sculptural form, surface marking, and color aspects of ceramic art.
  • Digital Photography

    (F, S)
    This course provides students with a foundation in digital photography techniques and composition. Students will develop their technological understanding by primarily working in a manual setting with DSLR cameras, and continue to strengthen their application of the elements of art and principles of design. Their growth as artists will be supported through their exploration of composition as it relates to portraiture, photomontage, landscape, abstraction, and the narrative. Daily use of digital editing software like Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop will help students to refine their photographic images. Presentation of historical and contemporary photographers and techniques, weekly digital sketchbook assignment, as well as regular class and one-on-one critiques will further support student understanding and growth.
    *All students are expected to use their own digital camera. There are limited loaner cameras available.

  • Digital Art

    Digital art introduces students to the uses of contemporary media as an art-making tool. By combining traditional art concepts, like the elements of art and principles of design, with various digital technologies, students have the opportunity to develop a diverse digital art portfolio. Topics covered in this course may include image editing and manipulation, digital drawing and illustration, animation, and augmented/virtual reality. Students will use various contemporary media like Adobe CC Suite, digital drawing tablets, and their personal digital devices to develop creative artworks. Regular class critiques will enhance student understanding and support artistic growth.
    *There are no prerequisites for this class, but it is recommended that students take drawing first.
  • Printmaking

    This course introduces students to a wide array of printmaking processes and techniques that promote experimentation and compositional development. Students will build a diverse print portfolio using various printing techniques, not limited to, monotype, block printing, drypoint etching, and screen printing. Historical and compositional aspects of printmaking, as well as reference to foundations of art and design, will enrich the studio experience and inspire student creativity. Regular class critiques will enhance student understanding and support artistic growth. For students wishing to pursue more advanced studies in this medium are encouraged to enroll in an independent study in advanced printmaking.
  • Graphic Design

    Graphic design is the art of visual communication. By combining imagery and text, graphic designers communicate ideas through a variety of dynamic graphic media. Integrating art with technology, students in this course will utilize fundamental art principles with industry standard computer programs like Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator to effectively communicate a message. Students will develop original works that integrate typography and visual imagery through logo and brand design, promotional materials, and advertising. Regular class critiques will enhance student understanding and support artistic growth.
    *There are no prerequisites for this class, but it is recommended that students take drawing first.
  • 2D Mixed Media

    This course is an exploration into a range of flat media that can be manipulated individually and/or combined together to create a composition. Materials explored include but are not limited to Prismacolor pencil, Pigma Micron archival ink pen, and watercolor, graphite, water soluble materials, collage, printing, and much more. Exercises and studies with these materials are designed for students to both gain control and an understanding of the media, but also to encourage self expression, experimentation, and play. Lessons in observation, abstraction, and reflection will allow all students to create their own unique compositions. Light research and investigations on supporting artists will supplement student growth and understanding.
  • Sculpture and 3D Art: Exploring Forms in Art

    Students will learn to problem-solve creatively through traditional and contemporary ways of working in three-dimensions. Students will learn how to manipulate a variety of materials and use sculpting tools safely. They will analyze other works of sculpture through reading, discussion and critique and examine geometric, abstract and organic forms. Projects will include recycled and found-object, site-specific, and conceptual sculptures.
  • Advanced Studio Art with Embedded Honors Option

    An intensive studio art practice, advanced students develop focused projects determined by individually directed goals. This course offers students an opportunity to refine their studio practice, by creating multiple works related to a specific theme or a big idea, in a medium of their choice. Particular attention to the elements of art and principles of design, and how they apply to fundamental design techniques, will support student’s exploration and artistic approaches. Outside readings, sketchbook assignments, class critiques, and collaborative projects will further enhance student artistic appreciation and growth. Occasional out-of-studio efforts, beyond the scheduled class time, are required to meet the expectations of this class. Multiple opportunities to present both completed and ongoing work through pop-up galleries encourage students to share their art with the community. Final student projects culminate in an end of year student curated exhibition in The Derryfield School Lyceum Gallery. Working collaboratively with their peers, students develop and undertake the marketing and entrepreneurial practices that are required by working artists in order to promote their artwork. A weekend and/or day trip to regional museums and galleries will further enrich the studio experience. Students who wish to develop a portfolio for college applications will find this class especially useful, and are encouraged to enroll for the year. An embedded honors option is available for this course, details can be found below.
    *Prerequisite for ASA I + II: Visual Foundations and two additional visual arts electives (ex. VF, Drawing, and Printmaking), with permission of the department chair. Prerequisite for ASA III: At least one previous trimester of Adv. Studio Art (Fall or Winter). This course can be repeated for credit.

    Adv. Studio Art I: 2D Concentration (F)
    Adv. Studio Art II: 3D Concentration (W)
    Adv. Studio Art III: Refining and Presenting the Artist Portfolio (S) 

    Embedded Honors Option in Advanced Studio Art:
    Students wishing to earn an honors credit are required to enroll in this course for the year. Additional weekly sketchbook assignments and/or readings will further enrich artistic growth.


  • Photo of Rebecca Barsi
    Rebecca Barsi
    Creative Arts Department Co-Chair
  • Photo of Rebecca Karp
    Rebecca Karp
    Lyceum Gallery Curator
  • Photo of Martha Roberts
    Martha Roberts
  • Photo of Emily Sousa
    Emily Sousa

The Derryfield School

2108 River Road, Manchester, NH 03104     p: 603.669.4524     f: 603.625.9715