Middle and Upper School Art

Middle and Upper School Art

Students completed highly original kites based on the very entertaining Surrealist drawing game, “Exquisite Corpse.” To begin the kite design process, classes played several rounds of Exquisite Corpse, collaborating with classmates to create a fantastical figure drawing in three parts. The resulting surreal figure sketches served as the catalyst for kite designs, as each student transcribed his/her favorite Exquisite Corpse drawing onto a large Delta-style kite. Students ambitiously hand painted their large kites with tails using 3-5 layers of brushed, stenciled, and stamped acrylic to create a colorful patterned surface texture.
Students also studied one-point perspective drawing this year, completing a stunning optical illusion self-portrait by collaging a picture of into a space that appears to get smaller and smaller, finally converging toward a single vanishing point on the horizon line. Students completed awesome costume armor papier maché Medieval helmets. Planning drawings were faithfully based on actual Medieval armor design elements, and students enthusiastically took creative liberties in the making of helmets; they are decidedly more Broadway than feudal England. When spring finally arrived this year, all students took part in two time-honored RCDS drawing traditions: drawing the Magnolia tree in full bloom and using our homemade walnut ink to sketch our beautiful campus. Students used the young spring foliage to hand build impressed ceramic pocket vases.
Ceramics: In ceramics class, many students worked all year to complete quite a challenging mosaic project that was created to be gifted to a friend or loved one. Students chose quotes, song lyrics, and stanzas of poetry that conform to a unifying theme and best represent the eventual lucky recipient of the mosaic. Students then hand-sculpted many adorable small tile objects related to their chosen theme and carefully impressed the words onto clay slab tiles. The handmade tiles were glued onto a wooden substrate, adding other beautiful glass and mirror tiles accents to create a magnificent personalized mosaic wall hanging.


Middle School

Students also participated in the live mask-making workshops, both making and receiving a mask with their chosen student partner. Students learned to incorporate their plaster mask into a mixed media artwork to portray their “Internal Landscape,” which was sourced from guided visualizations and sketching sessions. The self-portrait sculptures are wonderfully expressive of unique individual creativity and artistry.


Upper School

This year students embarked on a new RCDS tradition in the making: “The Handmade Journal as Sculpture.” The treatment of this timeless art form features reclaimed wooden covers, rag paper pages, and Coptic stitch binding with waxed thread. The art studio successfully collaborated with the STEAM lab to laser print students’ individual line drawings onto their sanded wooden journal covers. Students learned how to condition, stain, and seal the wooden covers, create paper signatures to fill the journal, and finally use a Coptic stitching method to build the journal “sculpture.” Students were presented with numerous art journaling techniques as a catalyst for filling the pages of the journal: pure contour, negative space, and still life drawing, watercolor landscapes, paper marbling, blackout poetry, cellophane found-object painting, newspaper photograph paintings, bilateral (double handed) drawing, sensory fingertip drawing, etched plaster painting, and string printmaking. By design, many of these art prompts were meditations on enhancing creative problem-solving skills and self-expression; by starting with a “random” configuration of lines and spaces, students were asked to assign meaning to mayhem through personal reflection and inventiveness to complete a cohesive artwork.