AP Art Students Put their Artistic Skills to the Test this Summer

Nikki A. ’21
The Spence VoiceIssue 36 Number I

Just as students might receive summer reading in English class, Mr. Dorman, an Upper School art teacher, challenged his six AP art students to practice multiple forms of visual art over the summer. These various forms of visual art include painting, drawing, printmaking, and photography. AP Art, which is a selective advanced art class, allows seniors to practice and master these art skills. They create portfolios for college, the College Board, and a final concentration portfolio that the students share with the Upper School. 

Zoe R. ’20 joined the Art Students League this summer and focused on improving her drawing and printmaking skills. One of Rennock’s biggest challenges is using different perspectives, mainly for drawing portraits or still life. “The Art Students League helped reinforce the basics of drawing and also helped build my portfolio,” said Zoe. She also traveled to Havana, Cuba and practiced her printmaking skills at an art center called Muraleando. 

Unlike Rennock, Catherine B. ’20 refined her painting skills. She took a three-day workshop in Nantucket, Massachusetts to focus on oil paintings of seascapes. “Though everyone in the class was at least 40 years older than me, I enjoyed seeing their incredible work and I learned a lot during the 21 hours I spent in the studio,” said Catherine. Sydney K. ’20 chose to concentrate on her painting and drawing skills. Instead of taking a formal class or doing an art program, she painted and drew her own independent pieces. 

Sydney is also an experienced photographer and created a photography website a year and a half ago. After showing her website to a professional photographer, he instructed her to organize her photos by “themes.” Her themes include portraits, street photography, and multiplicity. “Say I will take 500 photos in a month, I will only upload five photos to my website. Everything on my website is just my best or my favorite pieces,” said Sydney. One of Sydney’s favorite photography projects is titled “Beauty in Color.”

“For this project, I took simple, clean headshots of people of color,” said Sydney. “The main reason I take photos is because I want the people that I take photos of to see the beauty in themselves,” said Sydney. 

The first project of the year is to create a collage using negative and positive space. “It is essentially a black and white illusion piece,” said Zoe. Catherine is making a puzzle-like project with squares of black and white abstract shapes. “It’s fun but difficult!” said Catherine. 

“My goal for the year is for the students to improve skills in multiple mediums and to experiment with ideas, materials, and approaches to art that are outside of their comfort zone,” said Mr. Dorman