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Art 4: Personal Directions in Art Studio Honors/AP

River Hill High School Art Department

2008-2009 Course Syllabus (Retain this packet in your visual journal throughout the semester!)

Course Descriptions
Students in Art 4H/AP will continue to build on the body of work begun in Art 3. Art 4 students are
expected to create work that is more technically refined and more intellectually challenging than the
work they made in Art 3. To this end, students will frequently be required to make work of larger
of greater challenge, or of more considered personal or conceptual exploration. Art 4 students are
expected to work more independently and to develop a personal artistic direction or theme. Art 4
students who are registered for Advanced Placement credit are expected to take the A.P. exam in May.
Bear in mind that these students will be required to meet the National Advanced Placement Board
requirements, which may require additional work beyond the requirements of this course. Students and
parents are asked to carefully consider the level that best suits the student’s academic and artistic
goals. Students taking the AP Studio Exam will be required to make 2 sets of slide reproductions of
their art work, to write an additional artist statement, and will—at all times throughout the year—
demonstrate exceptional commitment to creating art for this course.

Independent Study
Seniors in Art 4 who wish to pursue an independent body of work will have the opportunity to do so at
the end of the first making period. You are eligible to apply for independent study, if you:
1. Have demonstrated that you have the self-motivation and self-discipline to work
2. Have a B-average or better in art.
3. Submit a written proposal. Your proposal must clearly state the theme and media you intend to
explore. This statement may be revised, as recommended by the instructor, before approval is
4. At the instructor’s discretion, you may be asked to arrange a conference with the instructor and
your parent(s). During this conference we will, as a group, review the goals and expectations
for your independent study.
If your application for independent study is approved, your independent study contract will bind you to
all of the following:
1. You will work an average of four hours per week outside of scheduled class time—at home, in the
art studio, or elsewhere as necessary. This work should include preparatory research, sketching, as well
as more refined, sustained works.
2. You will use scheduled class time to create work that is thematically related to your independent
study. You might create a separate body of class work that parallels issues you are working on at
home, or, you might bring your outside work to class for further development.
3. Finally, you will meet with me for an individual (or group) critique about once every three weeks.
For this critique you are required to bring all works-in-progress or newly completed— from both
inside and outside class. This is an excellent way to receive meaningful feedback that will help you
(and maybe, at times, inspire you!) as you progress in your study.
Your independent contract may be renewed for future marking periods. The renewal is dependent upon
your successful completion of one semester’s independent work. Phone or in-person conferences with
your parents may take place at intervals throughout the term. The instructor reserves the right to
terminate an independent study contract if, at the end of any marking period, you are not abiding by the
stipulations of the contract.
At the close of the semester, you will present your work and research to the rest of the Advanced Art
class. Ordinarily the presentation and/or your final artist statement will comprise your Final Exam

Course Objectives
In this course you will build a portfolio of work that can be used for college admission and for
advanced placement credit. If you are in Art 4, your portfolio will include a body of work from your
individual Thesis Project.

Art 4 Honors students will…

1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the purpose for monitoring the production of artwork
through in-progress assessments
2. Demonstrate an insightful understanding of ways to collaborate with peers and instructors in the
development of a written artists’ statement as justification of purpose.
3. Engage in a sophisticated dialogue with instructor and peers to develop an independent plan and
serve as a role model for first, second, and third year students.
4. Analyze and apply ways cultural exemplars, contemporary and master artists and other
curricular disciplines serve as catalyst for in-depth pursuit of a personal idea for an artwork or
thesis project.
5. Use comprehensive sketchbooks/journals to develop personal imagery and meaning using
written commentary as a catalyst for planning and executing a thesis project.
6. Manage the content and presentation of items in their portfolio by way of selecting, editing,
updating and documenting for an audience, application or professional purposes.
7. Maintain and refine digital portfolio of personal artworks for the purpose of participating in a
web-based community.

In addition to the above Art 4 AP students will also…

1. Establish criteria to be used in the development of personal artwork and defend artistic choices
using sophisticated vocabulary.
2. Articulate the content, technical skill development, and motivating factors of one’s body of
work to clarify personal intent.
3. Analyze, evaluate and prepare personal portfolios to meet specific criteria for further
educational and career goals (AP, college entrance, work resume).
4. Apply creative processes to seek divergent solutions to self-directed, conceptually focused
problems with specific intent.
5. Select and apply specific materials and techniques to communicate the artistic intent of a
focused body of work.
6. Maintain and refine digital portfolio of personal artworks for the purpose of participating in a
web-based community.

Requirements for the Portfolio

There are three essentials to every portfolio:
1. The portfolio work will be of the highest possible quality.
2. The portfolio work will document a range of technical, formal, and expressive experiences.
3. The portfolio work will begin to focus on a particular interest, theme or problem.
In the building of the best possible portfolio, this course will focus on interpreting your own
experiences, primarily through observation and experimentation. At the end of the term, the work in
your portfolio should demonstrate your ability to do the following:
—Think creatively.
—Think critically.
—Take risks.
—Interpret the world around you.
—Experiment with techniques and concepts in a visual journal.
—Create a composition.
—Work in diverse media.
—Depict light.
—Depict space.
—Handle color.
—Draw what you see.
—Respond to or reinterpret works of master artists and artists from other cultures.
—Develop a series of thematically related works.
**You will be required to maintain a Personal Portfolio Plan, which will be attached to the inside of
your portfolio folder. Your will be required, as well, to update the “table of contents” before
submitting your work for a grade at the end of a marking period.

As this is a Honors/Advanced Placement course, a minimum of three to four hours of outside work is
expected each week. Most often, for each marking period there will be three assignments, each taking
nine or more hours to complete. As the long-term homework assignment allows for the greatest
individual interpretation and creative problem solving, the expectation is substantial. Significantly,
these are also the works that colleges tend to be MOST interested in because the homework problems
have the greatest latitude for personal interpretation. Therefore these works are primarily responsible
for getting you into the college-level art program of your choice. The homework is given more weight
than individual classwork assignments. Therefore, any student not submitting homework—or
submitting hastily-prepared homework—will be unlikely to pass that marking period.

Assessment and Grading

Studio Guidelines:
All students are expected to observe and adhere to all policies defined in the Student Handbook
regarding lateness and conduct. Lateness will not be tolerated. As a studio class, attendance and
promptness are critical to the success of the student in Art IV. Students will abide by all darkroom and
safety procedures. Students are expected to maintain the studio and darkroom. Students are responsible
to be where they are assigned during the class period. Students are expected to participate in class
discussions and activities.

Portfolio, Assessment, and Grading:

Each student will compile a portfolio that consists of work done in class or at home, worksheets,
sketchbook/journal, and written assignments. Portfolio reviews will be scheduled between the
instructor and the student periodically throughout the semester.
We will assess each art problem while it is in progress and/or when it is complete. This may take the
form of written reflections, individual critiques, peer commentary, or (most often) group critiques.
Intelligent, thoughtful, and open-minded participation in the assessment process is mandatory, and will
affect your marking period grade. At the end of every marking period you will assess your own
progress, reflecting on your finished works, your processes, and your participation. After completing
the grade assessment, you will submit your entire portfolio, your visual journal, and your self-
assessment to me for a letter grade. Submitted work must be in pristine condition. Insure that your
work is not smeared, creased or torn; and is chronological order.
Final works of art will be evaluated based upon the following components:
1. Objectives - Meeting the criteria or objectives for the specific assignment. Ex. An assignment may include
specific preparation/brainstorming. Please note that photographs without negatives will not be accepted!
2. Studio Skills –Proper handling of equipment, responsible use of time, respect for others and their work,
clean-up, and class participation.
3. Craftsmanship / Presentation – Neatness and respect for your work should be evident in the appearance
of a completed assignment.
4. Design – Thoughtfulness to the composition and its relationship to personal ideas.
This system will allow the teacher and the student to evaluate specific strengths and identify areas that
need improvement. Grades will be based upon percentages:
A=90-100% B=80-90% C=70-80% D=60-70%

Out of class work will consist of 40% of the grade for the course. 60% will be in class work. This at
home time will be used for journal assignments, some preparation and brainstorming, reviewing
information, and for completing major assignments. Most assignments will require students to
complete out-of-class work. It is in the student’s best interest to use their regular class time wisely to
complete assignments. If in-class time is not used wisely, more out-of-class work may be the result. It
is the student’s responsibility to check the class blog regularly for assignments and record homework
assignments so that they meet all posted deadlines.

Deadlines and Missed Work:

Assignment deadlines are set at the discretion of the instructor when the assignment is given. It is the
student’s responsibility to make up any missed work due to excused absences, and to collect daily
objectives, handouts, notes, assignments, etc. Students are also responsible for scheduling
appointments with the teacher to discuss make-up work. If the student is absent on the day an
assignment is due, the assignment should be handed in on the following day. Late work will not
be given full credit.

Other important items that will affect your life:

Field Trips
You are expected to attend two field trips this year—one in the fall, the second in the spring. You will
be given 6-8 weeks advance notice to insure that you can arrange to miss your classes that day and/or
take the day off from your after-school job or after-school obligations. We usually return to school by
4:30 p.m. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of seeing art beyond River Hill High School. As
a member of the Art 3/Art 4 class, you are declaring your passion for art, and with that, you have a
responsibility to educate yourself about art in the world. Therefore, you should view these field trips as
not merely a diversion, but rather a profound educational experience.

National Art Honor Society

The National Art Honor Society encourages and supports outstanding artistic scholarship, service to
the school and community, artistic endeavors, and good citizenship. Student members of this
organization exemplify these standards, and work to promote an awareness of art and to support the
education process at River Hill High School and in the community. Membership is open to all students
who have completed Art 1 with a 3.0 average. Past NAHS activities have included: mural painting,
gallery and painting trips, public sculpture projects, elementary art days, coffeehouses, postcard
exchanges. NAHS members are eligible for scholarships at many art colleges and universities. The first
meeting open to members will be in mid-September; an announcement will be made in class.
Advanced Placement
Juniors and seniors who are interested in advanced placement credit will send a portfolio of their work
to the College Board early in May. Students may apply in three areas: 2-D Design, Drawing/Painting,
3-D Design. You are required to submit 24 digital images and five original pieces (no larger than 18 x
24-inches); you must submit a duplicate set of 24 digital images to the RHHS art department for our
permanent files. (3-D requirements vary slightly.) If you plan to attend college and to study art,
advanced placement credit enables you to place out of introductory courses, and to go directly into
upper level studio courses. Only students planning to submit their portfolio to the AP Board (the
“exam”) may register for AP credit for this class. While I recommend that everyone take the AP
exam, you must be aware that if you do not give 100% in this course for the entire year, you are
unlikely to earn a “4” on the exam—the minimum score necessary to place out of college-level studio
art courses. If you earn an A average for the Art 3 and Art 4 courses, statistics show that you will likely
earn a “4” or better on your AP.

Digital Images
Students applying to the College Board, to college art programs, and to organizations offering art
scholarships will need to present reproductions of their artwork—usually 20 works in digital form. The
instructors in the art department will be happy to set you up for shooting your work, but you will need
to provide digital storage or CDs. This year, you must make arrangements with me in advance to
photograph your work during class time. Only on rare occasions will you be able to photography work
after school. Therefore, plan ahead: Allow ample time for shooting, processing, labeling and mailing
your photo documentation. While I want everyone to succeed, I cannot be responsible for assisting
you with your photo documentation if you have waited until the “last minute.”

Letters of Recommendation
If you have an A-average in my classes, I am most happy to write letters of recommendation, provided
you have followed the protocol outlined by the guidance office. (If you have consistently turned in
work late, or of less than your best efforts, please do not ask me to write your letter if you do not want
me to mention all the facts.) Make sure you ask me for a recommendation well in advance of your
application dead-lines.

Scholarship Opportunities
Many opportunities for scholarships come up during the school year. Make it your habit to check the
“Art Announcements Board” by the entrance, where I will post these competitions. You are
encouraged to take advantage of any opportunity that is presented. I will make all of the pertinent
application information available to you, but it is up to you to take the initiative to follow up on it. Any
additional digital images, recommendations, or input you might need from me is, of course, available
upon request, in the timely manner mentioned above. I am always happy to help excellent students
pursue their goals!

All materials are highly recommended…
—A hardbound sketchbook is necessary to meet all course requirements. Having one on hand for
idea generation and preliminary brainstorming / sketching is a major component of building a strong
sollege level portfolio. Choose the size that feels right to you since there are a great deal of sizes and
shapes. It is highly recommended that you purchase a 5 x 7-inch or 9 x 12-inch hardbound
(preferred) or spiral bound sketchbook of good quality. Tablet bound sketchbooks (bound with tape
only), are discouraged, as they tend to fall apart quickly, which increases the probability of lost
Should you choose to NOT purchase a sketchbook, there will be opportunities at the beginning of
the school year to learn how to make one on your own. Again, whether you purchase a sketchbook,
adapt / find / appropriate a second-hand book, or make one yourself, it is a necessary component of
this art class and will serve as a way to complete assignments, brainstorm, and gather information
that pertains to your experiences in the class.
—During the first week you will be given and individual supply of pencils, eraser, charcoal, etc., that
you are required to keep safe in your possession for class-work and HW. Consider finding a container
to house all your materials (examples will be shown during class the first week as good examples for
long term use) Should you lose your supply of materials, you are responsible for the replenishing /
replacing it. Materials that are simply used up in the process of making art will, of course will be
replenished by our art department supply.
—You are required to make and maintain a sturdy portfolio—minimum size is 30 x 40-inches.
Your portfolio must have a handle and must be clearly labeled with your name. (You will have the
opportunity to obtain a cardboard portfolio during class the first week.) You will also be assigned a
personal portfolio slot. Storage of artwork should be kept in your personal slots so that you always
know exactly where your portfolio is stored! This is your prize possession! Guard it as such!
—Watercolors, pastels, Prismacolors or other materials that you will need in large quantities, must also
be supplied by you for HW and independent assignments. For instance, if your independent project
will be almost exclusively oil pastel, you should purchase your own set—which you will, no doubt,
need to replenish frequently.
—I provide paint for our first oil painting. If you think that you are going to continue painting for
more independent problems I would suggest purchasing a set of basic colors. Cadmium Yellow,
Cadmium Red, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, French Ultramarine, Viridian (Green), Yellow Ochre,
Titanium White (largest tube available). Art 4 students who decide to do their Independent Study in
painting are highly encouraged to use traditional oil paints.
—The art department will provide you with one new 1-inch long-handled brush for your personal use,
but you are welcome to purchase you own, higher quality brushes. (There is also a plentiful class
supply of used brushes of various sizes—and various states of decay. These must be returned to the
sink storage, whereas your new 1-inch brush is your personal brush, and must be stored with your
—You will need a coffee can or two or three (for storing brush cleaner for your paint brushes) with a
tightly sealed lid as well as old t-shirts to use as painting rags!
—The art department will provide paper, cardboard, and/or other painting supports. If you wish to
paint on more than one stretched canvas, see me! I’ll point you in the right direction for purchasing
supplies. On occasion you may be asked to collect found materials or to bring in objects. This should
not incur any additional funds. The art department will supply the rest of your materials for the year. It
may, however, be the case that you wish to purchase your own materials for use at home. If so, take
your student I.D. (for 10%-20% discounts) and check out any of the following retailers for art supplies:
Utrecht Baltimore (
Chase Street (near MICA)
Pla-za Baltimore
Cathedral Street (near MICA)
Baltimore, MD
Maryland Institute College of Art Store
1300 Mount Royal Avenue
Baltimore, MD