Art & Design
“To become interested in Art is to embark on a voyage of discovery that leads to countless thrilling places and leads to all kinds of unexpected encounters.”
Andrew Graham-Dixon (Author, Editor of Art: The Definitive Visual Guide)
Aims and Philosophy
In Art and Design we offer a broad range of experiences with traditional and new media, developing confidence, practical skills, imagination and creativity. The skills include a range of drawing, painting and mixed media, textiles, print making and ceramics as well as digital media with still and moving imagery. We explore visual, tactile and other sensory experiences to communicate ideas and meanings and provide focused support with flexibility for tailored teaching and learning, opening doors to higher achievement. We aim to foster emotional and spiritual growth through art, and to question our position, understanding and relationship in the environment as well as the social and working world. We reflect critically on our own art and other people’s work to broaden our understanding of images and artefacts across different times and cultures as well as the creative context in which they were made. This offers insight into how societies, including today’s multicultural international community, deal with change and differences in moral, social, religious and technological issues.
Key Stage 3
In Key Stage 3, each Form completes between three and four projects a year. Topics covered include portraiture, landscapes, sculpture, ceramics, illustration, architecture, garment making and felt-making. With each project the girls acquire new artistic skills and art history knowledge, and they improve their understanding of the formal elements and aesthetics. They also develop emotional, spiritual and interpersonal skills and awareness.
The girls learn how to find appropriate research to inform and personalise their projects and encourage independent thinking. They draw from first hand observation and evaluate their progress. The structure of the projects prepares students for GCSE Art which is a natural progression of the methods we use in Key Stage 3.
The students are encouraged to adapt what they learn in the classroom to their own personal interests and we encourage everyone to enter the yearly Art competition.
We currently work with Edexcel Art and Design GCSE. The coursework is divided into termly projects. The principle theme is ‘Identity’. The first two terms are very structured where the students will acquire new skills and consolidate existing ones. The skills relate to drawing, painting, textiles, dry point printing and ceramics. The students will learn how to improve their observation skills, gather resources with more independence, use chalk, batik, embroidery, applique, mould making for clay casts, colour theory, acrylic and oil paint. They will also learn how to use trips to galleries effectively in their projects. These usually include a Form IV trip to one of the museums on Exhibition Road, London (Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the V & A Museum) and a Form V trip to the Tate Britain.
It would be an advantage if students were to buy a small camera, although not essential. The department can loan out a small digital camera.
A Level Art and Design
The A-Level Art and Design course offers students a foundation programme of core skills such as drawing and painting, colour theory, visual analysis, print making, ceramics, pattern cutting, experimental textiles and illustration. Endorsements offered are as follows: Art and Design, Fine Art, Fashion and Textiles, and Graphic Communication. A-Level students have the opportunity to attend life drawing classes, trips, workshops and other extra-curricular activities so that they can build and develop a rounded portfolio of work that is individual and mature.
Outside the Classroom
Art competitions, the annual fashion show, life drawing classes, day trips and occasional residential trips, exhibitions of girls’ work in London galleries, speakers from well-known artistic establishments and after-school support and art clubs all offer opportunities to personalise the curriculum, and to engage and inspire learners.
In addition, the subject is enriched for students by trips outside of school, for example the Lower Sixth take an afternoon trip to the Tate Modern and the Upper Sixth go to other London galleries. There are residential trips in the Sixth Form that take place in the UK or abroad, the most recent being to Paris and Venice.