Art

Our aim is to provide an art education of the highest quality that promotes social engagement and a broad view of the world.

In each year of study, the canon will be unpicked in an attempt to provide a contextual study of artists of different genders, races, politics, and abilities. We will explore what it means to be a British, European, and/or global citizens, developing a sense of discovery through the making process.

Critical thinking, thoughtful making, and personal reflection form the central tenants around which pupils develop the skills required to produce meaningful, high-quality artworks.

STAFF

Head of Department

Miss K Devine

kdevine@morehouse.org.uk

 

Ms D Rigby

drigby@morehouse.org.uk

 

Ms H Yate 

hyate@morehouse.org.uk

Aims

Lessons in observational skills, eye-to-hand coordination, manipulating materials, and colour theory help the girls develop their own style in art and express themselves in two and three dimensions. They learn to critically respond to other artworks and deepen their understanding of technique, genre, and the purpose of artistic expression.

We devise absorbing lessons that allow each pupil’s creative processes to grow organically, supporting them as they flourish into accomplished artists. Furthermore, as a natural by-product of their lessons with us, the girls develop an understanding of the expectations set out by the exam board. This ensures they are well-equipped for GCSE and A-level work, where they are expected to develop their own ideas and visual solutions.

KS3 (years 7, 8, and 9)

Each of the junior year groups works towards completing half-termly tasks that develop one of the requirements of public examination assessment: idea development, experimentation, accuracy in observational study, and presentation of personal responses

The starting point for each year is an understanding of the formal elements and principles of art. This foundation ensures that by the time they reach KS4, pupils are confident in each of the aspects required for successful study at GCSE and beyond.

Practical work is related to contemporary as well as historical artists. As a result, pupils develop the ability to respond to the work of others in the context of the current art landscape. Girls are encouraged to express their own opinions and learn how to validate this with historic and visual evidence.

KS4 (years 10 and 11) – GCSE Syllabus (Pearson Education)

An initial introduction to skills and techniques gives the girls a solid foundation upon which to explore their own ideas and experimentation. This is followed by a short, visual analysis project before the girls begin their first sustained project based on either sculpture or textiles (dependent on whether they are in year 10 or 11). The culmination of this project is the end-of-year examination: 10 hours of work, spread over two days. Each project constitutes a journal and “final piece” that consolidated their ideas and demonstrates their technical and conceptual ability. The second project is concluded in year 11 and runs from September until January.

There is plenty of scope built into the projects to allow for independent investigations. The second project is devised by the girls in conjunction with their teacher, to give them the opportunity to learn how to devise their own structure and develop their own ideas.

For the final project, which is set by the exam board, the girls need to develop a personal response to a set theme. To ensure the girls are well-prepared to produce a unique response to the Externally Set Assignment (ESA), we organise group discussions on the set theme and also work with the girls on a one-to-one basis. We will encourage them to explore relevant artists, organise gallery visits, push their experimentation, and support them as they conceive and prepare their final pieces. This project pushes the girls’ independence, inspiring them to cultivate a personal involvement in their work by conducting their own research, paving the way for the independent work that is expected at AS level.

We believe that good drawing skills are the foundation of a strong art practice and each project begins with at least two weeks of formal and experimental drawing classes. This impresses upon the girls the importance of improving and refining their drawing skills. They are given small sketchbooks to carry with them at all times, encouraging them to draw whenever and wherever they can – at exhibitions, on the tube, in cafes, etc. We also offer sixth-form life drawing sessions in the autumn term.

GCSE art provides a space where pupils can develop personal ideas, build good working habits, and explore creative thinking. Girls often comment on the freedom and independence of thought afforded them in this subject.

KS5 (sixth form) – A-level syllabus (Pearson)

The girls follow the same structure set out in KS4 at KS5, in that they begin with a review of skills and techniques in the Autumn term of lower sixth. This work is made into large display sheets, which may form the start of a portfolio if the girls choose to apply to art college.

Following this, each project begins with an intense block of observational drawing during which the girls’ skills improve dramatically. They continue to explore creative solutions to their own ideas (with reference to historical and contemporary practitioners), experiment with a range of materials, and produce written work connected to their own chosen area of study.

Each girl produces a journal or a series of preparatory sheets exploring the development of their ideas. They follow a set scheme of work and we encourage them to explore their own areas of interest as early as possible. Their coursework includes the artworks they produce to illustrate their ideas and the experiments they have conducted to improve their expertise with appropriate materials. It is important that they also demonstrate an understanding of historic and contemporary art practice, including an awareness of the social and cultural significance of their work. In this respect, the girls are fortunate to receive a dedicated single lesson in art history from a specialist history of art teacher.

This method of teaching is extended in upper sixth when the girls take complete ownership of their work and write their own project. This is a culmination of their studies up to this point. By this stage, they are confident in devising their own projects – they instinctively begin by drawing from life and continue to include this as their project develops. They have a plethora of sources – a wide range of materials and artists – to draw inspiration from.

At this level, the girls produce a dissertation connected to their chosen area of study. We support them as they respond to the issues and themes explored by relevant artists and guide them to deepen their analysis of both their own work and the work of others. Their cultural awareness becomes evident through the strong connections they make to the work of others. As they find their own visual language and voice, they specialise in the most appropriate materials to communicate their ideas. As their methods of work become increasingly unique and fluent, the final outcomes of their projects progress into significant artworks.

Beyond the classroom, we arrange workshops in galleries and the girls are expected to organise their own visits in order to keep abreast of contemporary art practices. They are also required to maintain the use of their sketchbooks on location, to support their studies. We also organise weekly, after-school life drawing classes to help them understand the human form and its significance in art. For those wishing to continue their studies in art when they leave More House, we also run an after-school portfolio club. We have a 100% success rate with applications to prestigious foundation courses, including Kingston, Camberwell, City and Guilds, Falmouth, the Prince’s Drawing School, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Extracurricular Clubs and Activities

The department is run by three art teachers, from different backgrounds: we have a textiles specialist, a painter, and a mixed-media artist. Consequently, we teach the girls to use a limitless range of materials, ensuring they have no sense of restriction in terms of the creative solutions they seek.

Open Studio is available on at least one evening per week each term, along with Portfolio and Life Drawing clubs in the Autumn. Themed lunchtime clubs are offered in Spring and collaborative art clubs in the Summer.

We are superbly placed in central London and as such, we conduct several gallery visits for each year group, so that by the time they begin the GCSE studies they are confident responding to artworks and happy to conduct research and produce drawings on site. The girls are also encouraged to arrange their own independent visits.

We oversee the design and production of sets for the school drama productions. This gives the girls the opportunity to work to a vast scale and form working parties with girls in different year groups.

At the end of the school year, we stage an exhibition of work from all year groups. This is a fun event that brings the whole school together to celebrate the creativity of girls across all year groups. Prizes are awarded to recognise individuals whose work has been especially outstanding and who have continuously demonstrated perseverance and commitment in their studies.