Studio Art Students Take Risks With New Materials

Pumpkins, pastels and poses headline the new exhibit on display outside the Claudia Boettcher Theatre. The pieces are the culmination of recent work by upper school students taking Studio Art, a major course designed for those who want to continue their study of art at a more advanced level.

“These students are producing some very sophisticated work, and it is only October,” said Cheryl Hajjar, chair of the Visual Arts Department and Studio Art Major teacher.

Hajjar begins the term with ice-breaking activities that “enable students to get to know and trust each other since they will be looking at and offering criticism to each other on their work.”

She also injects adventurous elements throughout the course. “Students explore materials and processes that they may not have used before,” she explained. Hajjar wants them to “have fun being allowed to make messes and take risks.”

Hajjar explained that “Drawing is the foundation of all visual art,” and she introduces students to a variety of approaches, from additive methods (making marks that represent dark outlines and shadows) to subtractive ones (drawing with an eraser to create light/highlights).

“We not only learned about structures and building them, but we also learned how to convey a message through our art, which I think is just as important as the technique,” Sophie Moussapour ’25 explained. “I like how we are not only learning foundational art skills but also how to express ourselves in as many ways as possible.”

In a unit on color, hue, value, saturation and temperature, students were sent on a scavenger hunt to find objects to better understand the various properties. The students then used what they learned in a painting lesson. This process helped Aron Tucker ’24 embrace a medium he wasn’t always fond of: “I started to enjoy painting and the different ways you could use color to shade a picture or object. I can see myself getting more interested in experimenting with paint.”

These revelations are what have impressed Hajjar most. “When students are self-conscious, they get stuck,” she explained. “When they just go, they end up surprising themselves.”

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