Fine and Studio Art
Our Visual Arts curriculum caters to students of all abilities. Whether you're dabbling in painting for the first time or developing a robust sculpture portfolio for your art school application, you'll have the opportunity to hone your creative voice. Courses in drawing, painting, photography, and portfolio preparation are offered annually. Special topics in 2D and 3D design, including ceramics, fashion design and woodworking, as well as independent studies in more advanced topics cycle into the curriculum based on student need and teacher expertise.
Dublin's Portfolio program is for those students who wish to take their art studies even farther. Geared toward juniors and seniors, this advanced independent study curriculum satisfies our fall and winter sports requirement and allows committed art students to practice their chosen medium more in depth. A considerable amount of art history is also folded into the work. In recent years Dublin students have gone on to pursue their passions at schools such as the Rhode Island School of Design, Maryland Institute College of Art, New York University, Pratt Institute, Cornell University, and the Art Institute of Boston, among others.
One of the most exciting opportunities for our art students comes in January, when Portfolio students can enter their work at the annual Scholastic Art Awards at Pinkerton Academy in Derry, New Hampshire. It's a competitive event and Dublin has been represented well at this show.
The Horgan Art Studio in Gillespie Hall, which opened in 2012, includes a large central work space for drawing, painting and design classes, a ceramics and 3D design studio, digital photography lab, and private spaces for Portfolio students. It is a first-class facility, one that has bolstered our already strong arts program.
The Putnam Gallery, also located in Gillespie Hall, provides opportunities for our students and our local community to engage with living visual artists and their artwork. By presenting artists across a broad range of media, techniques, themes and styles, we strive to challenge viewers to think about their world from new viewpoints, to awaken curiosity, offer new directions for exploratory learning, and to benefit from the gifts that exposure to beauty can give us
The Dublin School requires our students to take a minimum of two year’s worth of classes in the arts. Students may stay within one discipline or explore all available disciplines. We serve students with little or no previous exposure to arts education as well as students with far greater exposure and training than the average. We have developed a course of study that allows us to serve both communities. We offer both entry level and advanced courses. Because of our small size and strong community support, we are able to nearly customize a student’s curriculum to their specific needs.
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Course of Study
Drawing I, II, III: The Art of Seeing
Learning to draw is essentially learning to see more clearly and learning how to interpret what is seen. This is an intensive studio course for the beginning art student. You will study elements and principles of art as well as proportion and basic perspective. One week of drawing exercises is followed by a week spent on a project you will devise yourself, applying lessons from the previous week. These projects develop composition skills and critical thinking; they also offer opportunities for self-expression. The use of some basic computer graphics programs is taught as well.
Painting I, II, III: Color Theory
By emulating masterworks, students are introduced to both direct and indirect painting techniques. Your first project is a faithful copy of an impressionist or post-impressionist work; the second, the creation of a new still-life in the Northern Renaissance medium of oil and tempera; and the third project combines both techniques to produce a painting in the manner of Rembrandt. Elements of art history will precede each unit. Completion of a course in Drawing is a prerequisite for enrollment.
Drawing teaches us first to see, then to reproduce and manipulate what we see. Design explores the systems relationships in visual art: the relationship between parts and the whole, between the work and the world, between form, material, and meaning. Design teaches how to “read” visual language and how to “write” our own more effectively. Design teaches us how images mean. This course is entirely project-based. Art history and masterworks will be explored, followed by a related project “problem” whose specific parameters you will address in the course of creating one or more “solutions.” Projects will include use of drawing, photography, and computer-based as well as traditional graphic-design techniques.
Digital Photography I, II, III
Photo I introduces you to the fundamentals of photography, including basic theory, connections between traditional and digital photography, camera controls, camera/Photoshop interface, “developing” and editing in Photoshop, and strategies for maximizing print quality with the Iris ink-jet printer. Parallel to this is a curriculum based on the elements and principles of design. You will be introduced to the group-critique process, which is used weekly. Students complete several photo projects.
Three-Dimensional Design: Ceramics
Welcome to the basic techniques necessary to explore, express, and create in clay. This project-based course emphasizes the development of individual artistic vision through sculptural concepts and process. Prepare to create both functional and non-functional three-dimensional objects, while we explore techniques such as hand-building, the potter’s wheel, and other sculptural approaches. Inspiration will be drawn from contemporary and historical clay artists, including Japanese tea ceremony vessels, Pueblo pottery, and the work of Todd Barricklow, Molly Hatch, Andy Goldsworthy, Kathy King, and David Davison, among others. We will also broaden the vocabulary with which we think and speak critically about art, and this, in turn, will allow you to refine and deepen your own artistic vision.
Woodworking I, II, III: Forest to Finish
Forest to Finish is your chance to create, from scratch, artistic and functional pieces from local resources. You will learn about different species of wood and their use in the making of furniture and sculpture. From the initial design to the use of hand and power tools that help you carry it out, you are the creator of your own work at every step of the process. Within a broad set of clear objectives, you have considerable autonomy in pursuing your own creative impulses. Throughout the year you will build on the foundations you have laid; new techniques and tools are introduced as your woodworking skills improve.
Junior/Senior Portfolio Seminar
This course is for juniors and seniors who have taken previous studio courses and have proven a degree of mastery in one of the visual-arts disciplines (drawing, painting, sculpture, photography, etc.). The goal of this course is to develop a portfolio for use in the college-entrance process. However, plans to attend an art school are not a prerequisite. Students meet during study block four to five times a week and learn elements of art history, art criticism, aesthetics, concept and design development, and the college admissions process. Students work individually to design their own customized course of study that will result in a body of work that reflects their interests and abilities. Those who may be considering art school should take this course in their junior and senior years, but seniors not previously enrolled in this course will also be considered. The seminar is both involved and demanding; it should be taken by individuals who are strongly motivated to develop their skills as artists. Acceptance into this course is by permission of the instructor only.
Past electives in visual arts include:
- Art History
- Fashion Design
- 3-D Design: Cardboard Sculpture
- 3-D Design: Metal and other Materials
Level One or Entry level Classes in the Visual Arts:
Drawing I, Painting, Sculpture, Ceramics, Digital Photo I, Printmaking, and Batik
- Students in these courses are taught the elements of art and many of the principles of design in each of these courses. They learn appropriate vocabulary/terms for these as well as vocabulary/terms specific to the medium.
- Students learn the skills required to create work in each medium, usually several techniques and with a variety of materials.
- Students create work in each of these classes that express an idea or emotion. Students create work that solves an assigned open-ended problem with specific parameters and within a specified time frame.
- Students are exposed to masterworks in many styles and from various cultures and times.
- Having been exposed to these masterworks, students examine the strategies the artists employed and re-employ them or a variation of them, to create original work.
- Students will engage in group, one-on-one discussions, and written analysis of masterworks and student work on an ongoing basis during the creative process. This will sometimes include at least one paper of a formal nature that includes research and independent visual analysis.
Level Two Visual Art Courses Include:
Drawing II, Photo II, Ceramics II, Sculpture II, Painting
The expectations for students in these classes will include those in level one with the addition of the following.
- Students will engage in regular, formal group critiques and will always write written evidence of their ability to analyze and criticize masterworks. The level of participation in these critiques will show appropriate vocabulary, terms, and academic demeanor.
- Students will create work of a more complex nature both technically and conceptually than in level one course.
- Students will be able to develop work that contains themes based on their own interests and self- generated artistic questions/concerns.
- Students should be able to articulate what strategies they employed in solving a problem and how they arrived at this strategy.
- Students should be able to express how this relates to strategies employed by others to solve similar problems.
- Students should be able to develop their own multi-step plans for solving a theme based problem and follow through with that plan so that the originally expressed goals are achieved. (That is, a phoenix sculpture evocative of a personal re-birth doesn’t end up as a comic chicken.)
- Students should be able to extend a theme across a body of work in some classes at this level.
Level Three Visual Art Courses Include:
Drawing III, Painting, Photo III
The expectations for students in these classes will include those in level one and two with the addition of the following.
- Students at this Level should be demonstrating improvisation and self-discovery with materials and techniques.
- Students should be able to work on an open ended, theme based project with multiple steps of their own design, independently and within a given time frame.
- Students will be fluid in analysis of their own work, peers and masterwork, and be able to apply what they learn in the future. (self-editing)
Level Four Course: Portfolio
Students in Portfolio will demonstrate facility meeting all previous expectation levels with the addition of:
- Students will be able to develop, in conjunction with the instructor, a full two-trimester independent curriculum that meets the expectations and guidelines laid out in the Portfolio Syllabus.
- Students will be able to do an independentvisual analysis of a given artwork and generate a reasonable argument describing the artist’s intentions and the Zeitgeist the work was created in.
- Students should have reasonable skills judging the quality of their own work in relation to peers and masterworks and have some understanding of how to improve or move their work forward.
- Students should have a basic understanding of where their work fits stylistically and in relation to their own Zeitgeist.
In simplest terms, my teaching practice has always been dominated by the simple idea that I would be the teacher I wish I had had. It is my sincerest wish to help each of my students discover their own voice, to assist them in gaining the tools and knowledge they need to utilize that voice, and to prepare them as best I can for whatever direction their journey takes them.
I am a high school art teacher, but that does not mean that I teach high school art. I taught at the college level for one year, and found little difference between teaching at that level, and what I had been, and still am, doing. For ten years I have worked diligently to create a strong program that would serve “art students” and their ”non-art student” peers. We have been very successful on both fronts. From a school of 140 students, we will send four to five students to art schools each year. For four out of the last five Scholastic Art Awards, a Dublin School Student has won a best of show award on the state level. We have won Silver and Gold medals at the National level in the last few years.
The study of art is the study of both technique and concept, the infusing of meaning with matter. Students must learn to control both.
I also believe it is imperative that I drive home the idea that an artist must have the strictest self-discipline. You cannot wait for inspiration or work when you feel like it. One must work, no matter what. I strive to model this behavior by sharing my own artistic practice with students.
Growing up in the hills of New Hampshire has inspired my love and understanding of the natural world. My art reflects this influence by using raw materials found in the nearby environment. Through a process of craftsmanship, time, and affection, I strive to turn something overlooked into an object of beauty and function. I think of my pieces as structural objects that can be both subtle, like the wooden bowl that holds fruit on the table, or an element of visual display.
Turning wood as well as clay, I am inspired by the connectedness to the material by using my hands and mind in symbiosis. The materials have remarkable integrity of form and surface. Choosing a material, understanding its physical properties and then designing and manipulating it into a form invokes a sensory experience. Students exposed to these challenges build sophisticated cognition as they problem-solve, work through and within a material, and give them an experience to discover new potential.
I love working with people, and teaching gives me great joy. Throughout my life, it has been my teachers who have challenged, inspired, and driven me to develop a passion for learning and a willingness to take on unanticipated possibilities. It is my hope that my teaching inspires the same positive influence on my students.