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Kindergarten through third grade art emphasizes the elements of art: line, shape, form, space, color, texture, and value.

Fourth through sixth grade projects focus on the principles of design: emphasis, contrast, pattern, balance, rhythm, movement, and unity.

At the lower school, we aim to do projects that complement lessons in the classroom. For example, in first grade, students may create portraits of the inventors studied in history; in second grade, they may create an Egyptian sarcophagus, and in fifth grade, they may make a medieval illuminated manuscript.



Kiera Bauer Davids Eye


Drawing is the fundamental skill needed as an artist. We focus on graphite so that the foundational principles are established and practiced without muddling the waters with different mediums and colors.

Particular emphasis is placed on establishing a well-proportioned drawing, line quality, study of light and shadow shapes, composition, and artistic selection (deciding on a focal point and using techniques to draw the viewer into the area you deem most important).

We work at easels and from live and photographed references, emphasizing portraiture in classical plaster and marble casts. A great benefit of drawing from a cast is that the cast has been designed by a master artist (such as Michelangelo). The master artist has made a few decisions for us and steers us to see what he wants us to see in the subject matter. We are, in a sense, learning from the masters when we use their subject matter as our subject for drawing. 

SL #6-1


After drawing, we move into painting, starting with the grisaille method of monochromatic paintings using black, white, and raw umber. Then, we study color theory where students learn the components of color theory (hue, value, and chroma) and how to mix colors to achieve realistic tones found in nature and portraiture. We work with a limited color palette to produce a palette of desired colors and do various exercises in color mixing, with a final unit culminating in a portrait painting.



Students at all levels are encouraged to apply the principles of Harkness discussion to critique one another’s work. Each student presents his work and shares what is the most effective part of the drawing and where he needs to improve the piece. The emphasis is on the productive use of language to improve our artwork. 

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