Visual Experiences

Junior School

Kindergarten students worked with soft pastels and learned how to produce light and shadow effects in their Lunch! pieces. Students learned how to paint with watercolours, and they created special effects with oil pastels and salt in their Snowperson Paintings. Throughout the year, we practised observational skills in guided drawing lessons. Students learned about colour theory, and produced animal drawings using contrasting warm and cool colours. Recently, students looked at exemplars of traditional Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings, and they are currently creating their own mixed-media interpretations of this art form.

Grade 1 students learned about the “ant’s eye view” perspective, and they used watercolour painting to create special effects with oil pastel-resist and salt in their Snowperson Paintings. Throughout the year, we practised observational skills in guided drawing lessons. Students learned about colour theory, and produced animal drawings using contrasting warm and cool colours. Currently, students are studying how to draw the features of the human face and are working on their Picasso-Inspired Self Portraits.

Grade 2 students learned about colour theory. They used contrasting warm and cool colours as well as the elements of line, scale and space to produce their Hallowe’en Monsters oil pastel paintings. Throughout the year, we practised observational skills in guided drawing lessons. Currently, students are working on mixed-media Still Life Flower Paintings, using watercolour paint, black ink, coloured pencils, and printmaking. For this project, students are experimenting with pattern, texture, contrasting colours, and harmony in composition to create their beautiful pieces.

Grade 3 students learned about colour theory. They used contrasting warm and cool colours as well as the elements of negative and positive space, line, and pattern to produce their Day of the Dead Sugar Skull oil pastel paintings. Throughout the year, we practised observational skills in guided drawing lessons. Recently, students looked at exemplars of traditional Australian Aboriginal Dot Paintings, and they are currently creating their own mixed-media interpretations of this art form.

Grade 4 students worked with a combination of dry and wet media to create expressive Night Scenes, using vine charcoal, soft pastels, Conté and India Ink. Students also learned about colour theory, and they used contrasting warm and cool colours, as well as the elements of line and pattern to produce animal drawings. Currently, students are working with watercolour and ink to create Architectural Landscapes.

Grade 5 students expressed abstract ideas through visual symbolism in their Self Portrait Face Card pieces, and they drew from their knowledge of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, such as texture, space, value and colour to compose their work. Students were asked to question, analyze, reflect, refine, and share personal responses about their art making. Students also learned about colour theory, such as how to use contrasting cool and warm colours.

Middle School
 
Grade 6 students experimented with dry media to create colourful drawings for their name cards. Students worked with composition, design, shape, and colour to lay out their text and images. We studied the work of Surrealist painter Joan Miró and created unique pastel paintings inspired by his style. Students learned how to draw ellipses and used shading techniques to create light and shadows to produce Still Life studies of 3-dimensional vessels. Students learned how to describe their pieces using language related to technique, media, process, and the Elements and Principles of Art and Design.

Grade 7 students experimented with techniques in technical pen and watercolour to produce a variety of effects and create mood in their artwork. Students expressed abstract ideas through visual symbolism in their Self Portrait Face Card pieces, and they drew from their knowledge of the Elements of Art and Principles of Design, such as texture, space, value and colour to compose their work. Students were asked to question, analyze, reflect, refine and share personal responses about their art making. In Students also studied Colour Theory and learned how to create effects in their drawing and painting using tonal values, gradation, highlighting and shading. Students blended acrylic paints to produce tints and shades and used the Principles of Design and Elements of Art to create Deep Forest studies using overlapping images and atmospheric perspective to create space. Finally, students worked with a combination of dry and wet media to create expressive Night Scenes, using charcoal, soft pastels, Conté and India Ink.

Grade 8 students designed and printed a repeated pattern inspired by their cultural heritage. Next, they experimented with the monotype printmaking process to develop a realistic self-portrait. These impactful pieces are currently on display in the McGarry Guild Gallery.
Senior School

Grade 9 students researched a female artist of their choice and were challenged to design and create a necklace inspired by her life and work. They were asked to imagine that they were commissioned by their artist to design a necklace for her to wear to the MET Gala. Students were required to create at least half of their piece in the ceramic medium, with the option of incorporating other media and found objects. It has been exciting watching their designs come to life.

Grade 10 students planned, designed and created a commemorative ceramic plate inspired by a meaningful person, place or thing. They recorded their creative process starting with initial designs, then building the plates, and finally glazing their pieces. This project has been intensive, but it has been rewarding to watch the pieces emerge from the kiln. Currently, we are working on our Artist’s Unbirthday group research projects. Students will share their findings through the presentation of meaningful gifts and the creation of original patterned wrapping paper inspired by their chosen artist’s life and work. These will be on display in John Schaffter Hall shortly.

Grade 10 Digital Pictures Students were challenged to create an Album cover for a fictitious band. Students put their photo taking and photo manipulation skills to the test in order to develop a front and back cover composite that would incorporate a number of layers of imagery and text.

Grade 11/12 students were inspired by our visit to the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s ‘The 80s Image’ exhibit to create Pop Art mixed-media self-portraits. They had to work with layering a variety of media to create a balanced and unified composition. Students were challenged to include elements of their own pop culture (including an image of themselves) as well as reference the Pop Art movement of the 1950s.

Ms. Christy Donald and Ms. Lida Zurawsky, Visual Arts Teachers
Back
St. John’s-Ravenscourt School was founded in 1820 principally to serve the children of the Selkirk settlers. By 1834 there were forty students, evenly split between boys and girls. SJR has inevitably grown and changed over the years since, though its success throughout has been unimpeachable. We have graduated 18 Rhodes scholars, for example, and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II granted patronage and established a scholarship in her name in 1981. Today the programs are as strong as our reputation. A strong academic program is paired with an equally strong attention to the values of stewardship, ethical leadership, and excellence in all areas of academic, social and athletic life.