“At moments of great enthusiasm it seems to me that no one in the world has ever made something this beautiful and important.”
M C Escher
Our aim is for students to unlock individuality through creative processes, while learning the discipline of the formal elements of Fine Art. In addition, for students to explore concepts that can be displayed visually into personal and meaningful studies and outcomes.
We strive for all students, especially those in our GCSE and A Level classes, to use their prior learning to develop autonomy, imagination and purposeful statements through visual art.
We champion social politics and student individuality throughout the curriculum, especially in the Upper School, with strong, contemporary feminist views and equal opportunities for all. We are proud to enable all students to develop skills with a vast range of media and multidisciplinary skill sets.
Students explore shape, space, identity and investigate different ways of exploring the world, both physically and psychologically.
The formal elements of Fine Art: encompassing drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture and mixed media, alongside darkroom photography skills for GCSE and A level photographers. Independent thinking, autonomy and creativity is nurtured throughout the Art and Design curriculum.
We champion skills, techniques and processes surrounding realism, as well as abstraction, and encourage students to form sustained investigations of key themes and concepts in both written and visual forms.
Research, critical analysis and description of key artists and practitioners underpin students’ individual concepts and overarching themes.
What is taught?
Formal elements, still life and 3D shapes. Moving into a small creatures project with a key focus on bees and the importance of their impact on the ecosystem. Students also participate in a ceramics workshop in Term 3.
(pencils, charcoal, water colour, collage. Begin basic artist research)
Building on existing drawing skills of more complex shapes, into natural forms. Adding use of colour.
Moving onto living structures i.e., plants and animals
Applying notions of character, expression, and sentience from the animal project into portraiture.
We revisit pencil, charcoal, collage and introduce fine liner, pens, paint, oil pastel and colour theory. Artists who look at the use of colour are introduced (for example Henry Moore, David Hockney, Vincent Van Gogh and Faurism) and students practise critical appraisal of written content and link practitioners to their own work.
We introduce the foundation skills for GCSE Fine Art and work on interior space and perspective. We also conduct a mini GCSE-style project using the skills from the Lower School. Within this, we apply the GCSE AOs which is graded using the GCSE exam board specification.
We also use wet and dry media, introduce conceptual Fine Art elements as well as building on critical appraisal and self-analysis skills. We complete the year by linking practitioners to a student’s own work, which is an essential part of the project.
GCSE – Year 10
Experimental Organics and Mechanics project – building on existing formal elements and already used mediums but introducing acrylic paint, ink and bleach, print making workshops.
Portraits revisited building on already existing portrait tuition from Year 8 – introducing more gestural drawing styles and colour blending. History of Art portraiture lecture to delve further into concepts and historical influence, as well as social and political influences. GCSE style final outcomes created with links to artists (conceptually and visually).
GCSE -Year 11
Voice for change project embraces current affairs and social politics, as well as looking at the history of art and contemporary artists. Students will create work heavily based on concept, while having access to all materials, skills and processes practised in Year 10 from their Lower School base.
Exam project relies on skills, techniques and project processes build from the end of Year 9 and Year 10 to form an independent, externally assessed project and final piece. GCSE style final outcome created with links to artists (conceptually and visually).
A Level Fine Art takes an independent approach to harnessing all skills from GCSE and students learn to creatively implement independent projects. Students have much more autonomy over themes, compositions and concepts.
Academic Literacy in Fine Art
We champion research into contemporary Art as well as the history of Art and focus many lessons from Year 9 upwards on the conceptual nature of Fine Art and Photography, conducting in depth explorations into the key ideas and compositions of subject related pieces. Students are expected to conduct research and critically analyse sources, to inform their own practical work.
Students are encouraged to extend their interest in Fine Art by…
- Visiting galleries or local exhibitions in their hometown.
- Following contemporary artists on social media who develop visual responses to relevant social political issues.
- Coming to targeted support sessions at lunch and after school to develop skills and complete set tasks.
The department offers:
- Trips to galleries
- Christmas Art Clubs for the Lower School
- Life drawing classes
- Targeted Support sessions where 1:1 help is offered to students who wish to attend.
Careers Guidance and Support for Art: