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U.S. Visual Arts
THE PHILOSOPHY 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 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 will be taken as an Explorations class. *Required for 9th grade (Students new to the tenth grade may take any visual arts elective to meet this requirement.)
(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.
(S) 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.
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.
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
(W) 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.
(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.
(W) 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.
(S) 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.
(F) 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.
(W) A hybrid of art history and studio art, this course offers students the opportunity to observe carefully and learn to look, to make connections across the curriculum, and explore the power and purpose of art. Dive into the historical, social, and political context of art and artistic practice. Create your own studio work using the same techniques and materials as the artists studied. Connections between historical and contemporary artists will be explored both analytically and visually. Specific studio practice will include approaches in drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture. Opportunities for experiential learning at regional museums and galleries will enhance classroom practice.
(W) 2D Mixed Media will include color pencil, Prismacolor pencil, Pigma Micron archival ink pen, and acrylic paint, introduced individually and together. Studies in each are designed to gain control and understanding of the media. Still life, life drawing compositions, original projects, and series pieces will be explored. Students will research known artists who excel in these mediums and learn to develop their individual style.
(S) 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.
(F) This course is designed for students wishing to pursue advanced work in any two-dimensional media (drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, illustration, etc.). The curriculum of this course is based on individually directed goals and requires a high level of student investment. Particular attention to the elements of art and principles of design, and how they apply to fundamental 2D design techniques, will support student’s exploration and artistic approaches. Outside readings, sketchbook assignments, class critiques, and collaborative projects will further enhance and support student artistic appreciation and growth. In-studio efforts beyond the scheduled class time are required to meet the expectations of this class. A weekend 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. *Prerequisite: Visual Foundations and two additional visual arts electives (ex. VF, Drawing, and Printmaking), or with permission of the department chair.
This course is designed for students wishing to pursue advanced work in any three-dimensional media (ceramics, fashion design, 3D design, sculpture, etc.). The curriculum of this course is based on individually directed goals and requires a high level of student investment. Particular attention to the elements of art and principles of design, and how they apply to fundamental 3D design techniques, will support student’s exploration and artistic approaches. Outside readings, sketchbook assignments, class critiques, and collaborative projects will further enhance and support student artistic appreciation and growth. In-studio efforts beyond the scheduled class time are required to meet the expectations of this class. A weekend 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. *Prerequisite: Visual Foundations and two additional visual arts electives (ex. VF, Drawing, and Sculpture), or with permission of the department chair.
An intensive studio art practice, advanced students develop focused projects determined by individually directed goals. These projects culminate in an end of term student curated exhibition in The Derryfield School Lyceum Gallery. 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. 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. This will include developing an artist website and the promotional materials for the gallery reception. Outside readings, sketchbook assignments, and class critiques will enhance and support student artistic appreciation and growth. Further, students will examine and discuss contemporary artists relevant to their studio practice. In-studio efforts beyond the scheduled class time are essential to meet expectations of this class. To that end, students are encouraged to participate in the Open Studios in the Klee Art Studio. Juniors who wish to develop a portfolio for college applications will find this class especially useful. A weekend or day trip to regional museums and galleries will further enrich the studio experience. *Prerequisite: At least one previous trimester of Adv. Studio Art (Fall or Winter)
This course is available to motivated students who have taken all related classes offered and who wish to explore a specific interest in depth. Students are required to submit a written proposal of the project goals for pre-approval, and are expected to prepare a concluding written evaluation of their studies. Some successful independent studies projects include advanced architectural design, jewelry making, photojournalism, Chinese Art and Culture, and preparation for AP Art History.
*Prerequisite: One trimester of Adv. Studio Art and permission of department chair
(S) 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.
Becky Barsi is a multimedia artist and art educator who approaches creation with experimentation and play. She received her B.S. in Visual Arts Education from SUNY New Paltz and an M.F.A. at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. Prior to launching her career in the arts, Becky briefly explored a career in animal science, earning an A.A.S in Equine Studies. At Derryfield, Becky is the Chair of the Visual Arts Department and manages the Lyceum Art Gallery. When she is not teaching, Becky maintains her studio practice in Exeter, NH, gets dirt under her nails in her garden, goes on horseback riding adventures around the world, and loves to hike with her husband, Chris, and dog, Charlie.
Becca joined the Derryfield faculty and Creative Arts Department in 2015. She received her B.A. in History and American Studies from Brandeis University and her M.A. in Art History from UMass, Amherst. Her first career was as an art educator in art museums, including the Baltimore Museum of Art and The Hood Museum at Dartmouth College. Becca brings her love of the creative process, critical thinking, and relationship building to her work at DS. In addition to teaching a variety of art classes and processes to students, she is the Director of the Lyceum Gallery and coaches middle school weightlifting. She continues to pursue her interests in History and Art History as an adjunct instructor at Granite State College and Southern New Hampshire University. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, going to art museums, and her all-time favorite spot, the beach.
Located in Manchester, NH, The Derryfield School is a private day school for grades 6-12. Students benefit from a challenging academic program, fine and performing arts, competitive athletics, and a wide selection of extracurricular activities.