Dear Parents,

High School Subject Focus – Art

If you are a regular reader of my newsletters, then you will note that the focus of this newsletter is somewhat different from my previous publications.

I wish to alternate my broad educational writing with newsletters to celebrate teaching in classrooms. This edition hones in on the High School, however, I will also include Montessori activities in future issues.

As noted from the title, this newsletter will applaud the High School Art students’ work under the guidance of Christian Graser, their talented Art teacher.

I will let the images and explanations speak for themselves:

The Grade 7 Art students started the year learning about perspective. They learned about Brunelleschi and discussed how the problems facing early Renaissance artists (how to create the illusion of depths on a 2-dimensional surface), are the same as those faced by the special effects wizards of modern cinema. They applied their understanding to a challenging cityscape of Venice (which defies simple perspective by having multiple vanishing points as the buildings turn along the canals), and completed their exploration of perspective by applying it to structures and interiors that they transformed with their imaginations.


Term 2 was all about trees and drawing outdoors – watercolour painting by the river, pen drawing down by the field, pencil studies of trees (learning about simplification, volume and marks to create the impression of boughs and leaves), and then about the work of artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser before creating their own Hundertwasser-Inspired Landscape.


The Grade 8 students spent the 1st Term learning to draw with a pen, developing a broader mark-making vocabulary to describe different surfaces, and then applying that skill to a surrealist artwork.

In Term 2, they started on a sculpture project inspired by Netsuke figurines. To prepare for the Netsuke sculpture, and to familiarize themselves with clay sculpting, they began with a ball of clay and the instructions to turn it into an ox. A few restrictions were placed on them to encourage them to engage more carefully and consciously with the medium – they were not allowed to add or subtract any clay from the ball, and they were not allowed to remove a piece of clay from one place and reattach it in another; everything had to be accomplished by pushing and pulling from the central mass.

The Grade 9 students explored the relationship between and translation from text to image. Each student was given a card with a different image on it. Without revealing the image to each other, they wrote a text describing the image as accurately and in as much detail as possible – subject matter, placement, disposition, colour, style, etc.


That description was given to one of the other students, who then attempted to recreate the image of the original card based only on the description. Thereafter, the image cards were revealed, and the students were given the chance to make a copy of the original, and that is what the final outcome showcases: the original image card, the textual description, the visual interpretation of the text, and the copy of the original.  


The senior Art students are busy with their amazing portfolio work, but space limitations in the newsletter curtail inclusion. Having studied their work, I am so proud of their work commitment and depth of talent.

Congratulations to all the Art students and their Art teacher, Christian, for superb work.

Kind regards

John Alexander