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Visual Arts

Visual arts encompass anatomy and figure drawing, clay and sculpture, fashion design, film and videography, oil painting, photography and printmaking.



The extensive curricular visual art offerings described below are supplemented with evening figure drawing courses, the Art Club, the Photo Club, and the Intaglio (printmaking) Society. All visual art courses will require the purchase of a small amount of materials. Those that require more extensive purchases – which can be in excess of $100 – are indicated in the descriptions below. The Academy has limited financial aid available for these supplies purchases.

Drawing and Painting (Standard)
1 Credit (8851)
Prerequisite: None

This first art course at the high school level introduces students to various media and techniques, with a focus on drawing and an introduction to water-based painting. In addition, students will learn basic features of art history. Students with prior formal drawing and painting experience may find this course valuable, but are encouraged to sign up for upper-level art courses with instructor permission.

Anatomy and Figure Drawing (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8854)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission

This course builds on the student’s knowledge of basic drawing and is a natural follow-up to Drawing and Painting. An emphasis is placed on a detailed examination of anatomy and the figure. Students who are serious about developing their drawing skills should consider taking this course.

Water-based Painting I (Standard)
1 Credit (8852)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission


Water-based Painting II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8853)
Prerequisite: Water-based Painting I and permission

Students will learn the various techniques and effects used in water-color, gouache, and acrylic painting. The course will cover design, composition, value and color in landscape, still life, and portrait painting.

Printmaking I (Standard)
1 Credit (8856)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission


Printmaking II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8857)
Prerequisite: Printmaking I and permission

Printmaking provides experiences appropriate for novice level to advanced level students. Compositions derived from journal studies will be the basis of prints. Students will work in traditional techniques to more technical non-toxic techniques. All of the major forms of printmaking will be encountered from intaglio to relief printing.

Introduction to Clay (Standard)
1 Credit (8867)
Prerequisite: None

Clay, dug from the earth, has been a primary medium for the building of vessels and other objects since the beginning of human existence. In this course students will explore various hand building ceramics techniques such as slab, coil and pinch pots, and experiment with low-temperature glazing and firing methods including raku, pit firing, and sawdust firing.

Sculpture I (Standard)
1 Credit (8861)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission


Sculpture II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8862)
Prerequisite: Sculpture I and permission

Students will explore the creation of three-dimensional images. The course is drawing-based, with most sculpture work derived from journal studies. The course begins with simple bas-relief sculpture and proceeds to more advanced sculptural forms. Students will also explore the casting process by developing reproductions of original pieces.

Fashion Design I
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission
1 Credit (8863)

Students will learn the basics of design and color, in addition to  keeping abreast of trends in the fashion industry, and develop their figure drawing skills while creating illustrations.  Through draping techniques, students will learn how to create a pattern.  They will learn the basics of sewing and jewelry design, beading, and textile print making.

Fashion Design II
Prerequisite: Fashion Design I and permission
1 Credit (8864)

As a continuation of Fashion Design I, students will create a garment from design concept to completion and learn to fit a mannequin/model with the highlight of a fashion show.

Oil Painting I (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8865)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting and permission


Oil Painting II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8866)
Prerequisite: Oil Painting I and permission

Advanced art students who wish to explore oil painting should take this challenging class. Students will work on the craft of the process outside in the landscape and in the studio. Students will learn how to hand grind paint, prepare panels and canvas, and develop the facility to create a palette capable of working from any genre. Because of the expense of oil painting techniques, students will be responsible for purchasing much of their own materials.

Senior Portfolio (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8900)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting or permission

Each student will be expected to do outside reading, homework, and independent studio work as they work toward the production of a portfolio to use for acceptance to art schools or art programs in traditional liberal arts colleges. It is recommended that this portfolio course be taken only after a student has taken at least one art course that focuses on a particular medium.

AP Studio Art: Drawing
1 Credit (8899)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, and permission

Students will be involved in a concentrated studio of drawing, two dimensional art and/or three dimensional art. Emphasis in each area begins with fundamental techniques and include design principles, the creative process, historical perspective, and contemporary trends. All students will be expected to do substantial outside-of-class work as they complete a portfolio in one or more of these areas for submission to the Advanced Placement program. It is recommended that this portfolio course be taken only after a student has taken at least one art course that focuses on a particular medium.

Digital Graphics and Design (Standard)
1 Credit (8874)
Prerequisite: Drawing and Painting, or by permission

This course will expose students to the process of graphic design using computer technology as a tool. Techniques of digital enhancement of photographs and scanned images, and the creation of digital images will be used to explore the principles of graphic design. Learning the use of Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop will be major components of this course.

Videography I (Standard)
1 Credit (8871)
Prerequisite: Upperclassmen, by permission


Videography II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8873)
Prerequisite: Videography I and permission

Students will explore the design and creation of video productions. The basic processes of film production will be followed, with video recorders used as the primary tools. Students will discuss and decide on a clear purpose for their projects, identify appropriate audiences, sketch story boards, prepare scripts, and learn the techniques of effective camera use as they prepare to actually shoot and edit their projects. Techniques of digital manipulation and mixing will be used to create final products.

Photography I (Standard)
1 Credit (8841)
Prerequisite: Upperclassmen, by permission

Students will learn the foundation principles of photography and the skills and techniques of traditional film processing and printmaking.  Composition, aesthetics, visual communication, and literacy will be emphasized.  Students will need a 35mm camera with manual exposure and focus controls and will be expected to pay a supplies fee to cover a portion of their materials.

Photography II (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8842)
Prerequisite: Photography I and permission

Students will engage in a guided discovery of their visual voice while learning advanced principles of photography.  Topics will include the zone system, filters, and toning.

Advanced Art (Accelerated)
1 Credit (8897)
Prerequisite: Upperclassmen, by departmental invitation

Students who wish to pursue intensive study in a particular medium, within the visual arts, beyond that offered in our regular offerings may take Advanced Art in a medium one time. In consultation with the instructor, the student in this course will develop a demanding course of study and artistic production. The student will be scheduled into a regular class section of a course in the particular medium of interest. Admission into this course will be reserved for those students who have demonstrated a sincere, significant interest in pursuing artistic excellence, and will be by departmental invitation only.

© 2007 St. Johnsbury Academy | 1000 Main Street | St. Johnsbury, VT 05819-0906 | phone: 802.748.8171 | hilltoppers@stjacademy.org
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