Visual Arts Course Descriptions

CORE

Foundations of Visual Art (1 credit) UC
This year-long course is designed to introduce students to beginning 2D and 3D art techniques and to build confidence in their abilities to express themselves visually. Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with the basic art elements, principles of design, and a variety of media and technical skills. Studio assignments are supplemented with readings, art history, and images of artwork by a variety of artists from many cultures.

ELECTIVES

Representational Drawing (0.5 credits) UC
This semester-long course is designed to impart the fundamental components of representational drawing, or drawing from life. Students explore line, value, and scale and apply these and other design principles to create compositions in a variety of media, including graphite, charcoal, pen and ink, and watercolor. Lessons are supplemented with works from historical and contemporary art. Aesthetics and criticism are stressed through regular class critiques of artworks.

Introduction to Painting (0.5 credits)
Focusing primarily on observation, this semester-long course introduces fundamental painting techniques and methods using watercolor, acrylics, and oils. Through technical projects, students learn to control paints and mediums, strengthen their ability to understand color and texture, and translate their perception of a subject into a compelling composition. Skills to be mastered include building frames, stretching canvas, preparing surfaces, and properly and safely managing the medium in a studio context. Student ideas develop not only through the projects assigned – but through the practice of consistently recording personal observations in a sketchbook.


Metals (0.5 or 1 credit) UC
Metals can be taken as a one-semester or a year-long course. Students may not, however, begin the course during the second semester. Students are introduced to the fabrication and casting of jewelry and sculpture and to the process of welding. Steel, silver, bronze, nickel, and copper are utilized. In addition to principles of 3D design such as form and volume, safety issues and technical expertise are stressed. Studio work is supplemented with images from other artists, the history of metal work, and visits to local galleries and museums.

Beginning Ceramics (0.5 or 1 credit) UC
Beginning Ceramics can be taken as a one-semester course or as a year-long course. Students may not, however, begin the course during the second semester. This course is an introduction to basic studio techniques and 3D design within the medium of ceramics. Upon completion of this course, students will be familiar with the methods and materials necessary for hand-building and use of the potter’s wheel. In addition to work in class, students are expected to complete assignments outside class. Studio work is supplemented with images of work from other ceramic artists, library research, and visiting artists.

Advanced Ceramics (1 credit)
This course offers an opportunity for the serious ceramic artist to build upon skills acquired in Beginning Ceramics. Students expand upon the 3D design principles of volume and form, and they incorporate more personal themes into their work. Studio work consists of both sculptural and wheel work, and each student has choices in regard to personal preference. More challenging projects are introduced and more emphasis placed on aesthetics. Studio work is supplemented with images, library research, and visits to local galleries and museums.

Honors Art (1 credit) UC
This year-long course is designed to provide the serious art student exposure to, and hands-on experience with, a variety of 2D and 3D techniques and media to further one’s personal artistic development. Students engage in exercises – such as perspective drawing – to strengthen general art skills. Basic design principles are reviewed and utilized to solve compositional problems. Studio work is supplemented with readings, images, and visits to local galleries and museums. Contemporary, historical, and philosophical issues within the art world are explored in depth. Attention is also given to developing a vocabulary for understanding and critiquing artwork. Outside studio work, reading assignments, and a sketchbook or journal are required. Utilization of Midland’s natural resources is an integral component of this course.


Advanced students wishing to build a body of work and to present it in a portfolio for admission to art school will be supported in this process.

 
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