Art awakens us to the world as it truly is – complex and mysterious yet knowable, in shades, all at once. The best artists, if you think of them – artists like Rembrandt, Monet or Michelangelo – do just that: They rouse us to see and experience veiled truths and majestic beauty in a single, timeless painting.
And while good art is inspiring in that way, there is one thing that art is not: art is not easy.
Good art takes time. For that reason, Mrs. Stephens has our upper school students focused on the foundational elements of art, and anticipates that the focus will remain there throughout the academic year.
“Upper school students right now are learning these elements: line, shape, form, value, texture, color and space. They’re first learning how those function individually, on their own. Next, they’ll learn to piece those elements together, and in that way, create their own art.”
Mrs. Stephens is a lifelong artist who earned her B.A. in Art for Secondary Education at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona. Prior to joining the Academy, Mrs. Stephens taught art at the A.P. level for 16 years.
“Our upper school students, who haven’t taken art since elementary, in many ways are new to art. The goal is to build gradually each year. Next year, I hope to introduce the principles of design, which include emphasis, balance, contrast, repetition, proportion and movement. Once the students have mastered those principles – and have the elements of art mastered too – then they can move towards conceptual art. In other words, with the foundation set, they’ll then be able to think more independently. That’s when art truly becomes fun.”
Since good art takes time, it also takes patience. Those artists like Rembrandt, Monet and Michelangelo arrived at mastery only after years of diligent study and practice. A good artist, therefore, will be one who knows something of persistence.
“I’ve been encouraged by the students’ willingness to learn. They’re captivated by good art – pieces from The Luminists, for instance, which I’ve showed them – and they want to one day produce similar works, which is no easy task. With time, though, some of our students just may. I really believe that.”