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Departments » Fine and Performing Arts

Introduction to Art (Period 1)

Location: Room: 110
  • 2014-2015 School Year

  • Ms. Christina Canciello

Intro to Art Semester Course Syllabus & Assignments 

St. Joseph High School

Fine Arts Curriculum

Introduction to Art: Course Syllabus

Instructor: Ms. Canciello

From the earliest times artistic expression has been common to all cultures as human beings make

statements through a variety of non-verbal forms. The art program in place at St. Joseph High School

contributes to the students and the school curriculum by offering a distinct way of learning, seeing,

feeling, hearing, thinking and creating that when combined allows a student to communicate on a visual,

aural and tactile level. Students are encouraged to identify particular creative abilities and to master art

techniques as a form of expression. The art program will establish links between subjects, cultures, and

different areas of experience. Intro to Art allows students to develop the ability to express themselves and

their ideas about the world they live in, working both independently and as a group.

The program will provides a response to painting, drawing, and 3 dimensional works as students

explore new mediums, techniques, styles, medium, drawing implements, and subject matter. This will be

accomplished with a focus on use of the Art Elements and Principles of Design. The art course organizes

learning around the design cycle, a dynamic, ongoing process of thinking, planning, creating and

evaluating art. This cycle involves creative energy, communication, interaction and reflection. The

program emphasizes the concepts and skills development with the New Jersey State Standards for art in

context, art as inquiry, and with creating art.


Intro to Art is a course designed to introduce students to looking at, critiquing and producing

drawings of a variety of styles, subject matter and media. This one semester course will be geared toward

use of the elements and principles of design as a means of communication and organization. Students will

develop basic drawing skills, while examining the works of master artists and their theories of art.

1. Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes.

2: Using knowledge of structures and functions.

3: Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas.

4: Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures.

5: Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others.

6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines Learn about the historical

development of drawing. We will also learn about the many art related careers in our society.

7: Learn how the elements of art and principles of design relate to art and drawing.

8: Learn how to talk about drawings and how artists evaluate artwork.

Sketch book Requirements:

A sketch book will become a journal of creativity to be used continuously to record the student’s ideas,

experiments and adventures with drawing and writing.

1. Keep a visual verbal journal. This will be your weekly homework assignment. This will also

contain notes taken on reading assignments, lectures, films and demonstrations.

2. A sketch book will become a journal of creativity to be used continuously to record the

student’s ideas, experiments and adventures with drawing and writing.

4. Talent is not required to succeed in art. Best effort, originality, application of knowledge and

progressive improvement contribute to the overall grade.

5. Be present and on time for class, participate in discussions and critiques, make efficient use of

class time.

6. Complete all sketches, worksheets, homework, and assignments in a timely manner.

7. Be responsible for tools, supplies, and studio work area.

Grading Criteria:

Each assignment will have specific objectives and criteria. Students are expected to complete each

assignment to the best of their ability. The total semester grade will be an average of the following parts:

• 60% Class and Home Assignments

• 20% Visual Sketch Book, Tests (Projects), and Quizzes (In class assignments)

• 20% Classroom participation and clean-up

Due Dates: Students will be given adequate time to complete each assignment. Assignments not turned

in on time will receive a 10 point deduction in grade each day it is late. Unfinished work will receive

only partial credit.

Make-Up Work: Upon returning to school following an absence, it is the student’s responsibility to

Make up work and will be done outside of class time either in the mornings, after school or at home.

Open Studio /Help Sessions:

I will be available for extra help Monday and Wednesday after school from

2:10 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Other times may be arranged in advance.

Conference Info:

I am available to meet with students or parents by appointment.

Parent Connect:

Parents are able to check online student progress, assignment deadlines and attendance in

power school and all other St. Joe's classes. Progress reports are posted every six to seven weeks.

Writing for Excellence:

The main objective of writing in all content areas are to help the student formalize ideas and learn to

explain what they see visually through the semester. Clear written communication is necessary for

academic and professional success; therefore, our ultimate goal is to promote writing excellence.

The following are basic writing standards: complete sentences, appropriate punctuation, capitalization,

formal spelling and legibility.

Honor Code:

Plagiarism on any form at any level, is not acceptable Copyright laws must be honored and obeyed.

Where research is required to complete an assignment, students must reference all sources used. As

explained in the student handbook, cheating is not tolerated in any matter. Violations of the honor code

will result in a zero for the assignment, plus an honor code violation form placed in the student’s

disciplinary file. Read the handbook carefully to fully understand what constitutes a violation. Upon

teacher request, students may be required to research artists and work, or other written work to help

formulate ideas.

 Our Project Lessons:

Color Theory: Painting, Blending, & Shading

Weeks 1-4:


- Colour Pyschology - The effect of colour on the human brain - lecture - group discussion

- Colour Choice - Appropriate colour choices for Theme development - group discussion

- Colour Chemistry - The Colour Wheel and Value Bars - demonstration

- Painting Styles - Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase - video - ongoing demonstrations

- Discovering your own style - there are no absolutes


Assignment - Internet search of Modern Artists - use Google to examine the works of 40 modern painters.  Choose one to emulate in a painting.



Project - Acrylic Painting - "In the Style of..."


Develop an idea for a painting - to be done in the style of a "known" modern painter.

Students will develop an idea for an acrylic painting to be done in the style of a known modern painter. Your painting ideas should be ORIGINAL.  In some cases beginning students can do a copy of a painting.  Advanced students are encouraged to pull ideas from a number of sources (ie: books, internet, etc.).


Printmaking Lesson: 

Week 5-8:


Printmaking Methods


- Relief (linocut, woodcut, styrofoam) video - (The Art of Linocut - Sybil Andrews) - demonstration

- lithography - printmaking as a "commercial" art form

- intaglio (drypoint on plexiglass, copper, zinc) - demonstration - incising and printing

- etching (chemical rather than mechanical means)

- silkscreen printing (direct emulsion, photosensitive films, paper cuts, torn paper, resists)

  video - (Speedball Presents - Silkscreen Printing Methods) - demonstration


Check out this site for general information on printmaking techniques:

Relief printmaking - Linocut


Each student will be responsible for producing a limited edition of 5 or more prints using the "linocut" relief print making method.  All prints must be Titled, Numbered, and Signed by the artist.  Students will be required to hand in their printing block along with their finished prints.


It is strongly advised that students spend some time examining either wood cut or lino cut prints on the internet.  Lino cut prints are strongly characterized by TEXTURE.  It is important that student block prints exhibit similar characteristics.   For this project, students may use a variety of sources - including: photographs, digital imagery, or drawings and prints.  It is important for students to note that all projects be preceded by a series of sketches which render the image to 2 distinct values (black and white) The internet will be an excellent resource for students looking for inspiration.


Check out this site for some inspiration:

Course Work Outline:

WEEK 1-2   

Composition: Structure of all elements 

Introduction to course and materials   

Composing objects, balance 

Thumbnails; viewfinder 

Working from observation, introduction to value 

Homework assignment: 

Using three or more objects, make thumbnail sketches of different compositions on half of a sheet of paper. Create depth; don’t put objects in a line. Make a drawing on the other half of the same piece of paper in pencil (HB - 6B) from the strongest thumbnail composition. Know why you made your compositional choice! Define the composition by making a border. (If you use an entire sheet of paper bring thumbnails to class on a separate sheet.) Utilize the relative value of the objects in the drawing. Avoid outlining. Consider shadows and negative space to be an equally important part of the composition. Don’t let objects float in space. Control value by linear shading, not by smearing. 


WEEK 3-5      

Value: The relative degree of light and dark 

1/2-hour critique of composition homework 

Talk and demonstration 

Observational drawing 

Homework assignment: 

Continue in the same manner as the previous week by planning your drawing before you start: make thumbnail sketches of at least three objects to create a composition for a larger drawing which will use an entire sheet of paper. (Do not include the thumbnails on the final drawing.) Plan the composition and the relative value of the objects. Use pencil (HB - 6B) and a single strong light source. Observe light and shadow carefully to give objects mass and weight. Avoid smearing and outlining! Use a complete range of values, from black to the white of the paper. 


WEEK 6-7  

Texture: Surface quality    

1/2-hour critique of value homework 

 Lecture on texture 

 Animal drawing  

Homework assignment: 

Draw two or more objects with very different textures. Use charcoal. Be sure to vary the weight of the lines to indicate light and texture. As always, take time to plan your drawing first, including composition and value. Let the viewer know what the objects feel like.    


WEEK 8-9  

Chiaroscuro: Dramatic light and dark    

1/2-hour critique of texture homework 

Lecture on chiaroscuro with handout 

Begin extended (two-week-long) drawing  

Canson paper will be supplied 

Homework assignment: 

Plan on spending two whole weeks on this assignment. You cannot finish in one week. Make sure you have a solid composition and idea before you start. Drawing will be on toned Canson paper to create a dramatic sense of light and dark. Work with a strong, single light source. Use charcoal and Conté crayons. Combine texture, value and composition.    

NOTE: Bring the drawing in next week for critique even though it won't be finished. 


WEEK 10-11     

Chiaroscuro: Painting

Discussion of unfinished chiaroscuro homework 

Complete extended drawing  

Homework assignment: 

Finish the chiaroscuro assignment. Give it all you've got!  

WEEK 12-14   

Line: Point, Line, Plane 

1/2-hour critique of chiaroscuro homework 

Talk and handout on line 

Gesture and contour drawing from life model 

Extended drawing from life model 

Line in different weights and media 

Homework assignment: 

Draw a friend or family member in an interior space. Include elements of the room in the drawing. Always plan your drawing first. This time you will be drawing with line only. No shading. Draw from life. Do not use photos. Be sure to vary the weight of the line and work in fluid lines. Don’t sketch. Choose a model who will hold still! 


WEEK 15-16   March 19th 

Perspective: Creating the illusion of 3 dimensions 

Critique of line homework 

Lecture on perspective with handout 

Warm up with simple perspective exercises 

Extended perspective drawing outdoors, weather permitting. Dress accordingly. 

Homework assignment: 

Make a two-point perspective drawing of the exterior of a building. Chart it out lightly with a hard pencil (HB or 2H). Work horizontally so the vanishing points will be far apart. 

Remember: Perspective is only a tool to create an illusion of space.  


WEEK 17-18  

Interior Perspective with circles and ellipses  

1/2-hour critique of perspective homework  

Lecture with handout 

Warm up drawing exercises 

Extended drawing of interior perspective including circles and ellipses  

Homework assignment: 

Make a drawing in one-point, two-point or observational perspective of an interior. Artist’s choice. Include a round or cylindrical object. This is a creative assignment, be inventive with your interior and have fun with it. You may work in any medium as long as it will fit in your portfolio.  


WEEK 19-20  


Critique of interior perspective assignment 

Lecture with handout on color and basic color theory 

Color exercises using colored pencils, extended drawing with color  

Homework assignment: 

Make a drawing using colored pencils. All colors must be mixed; no black or brown pencils can be used. Draw at least three objects with strong primary and secondary colors. One object must be transparent, such as glass. Utilize light and shadow with color. Work lightly so that you can layer. This is a very time-consuming assignment, be sure to plan your picture first.  


WEEK 21-22     

Drawing on site 

We will be exploring the Campus and create site specific drawings.  

Bring your sketch book, pencils and/or colored pencils. Travel light, no backpacks allowed. 

Homework assignment: Finish on going composition.


WEEK 23-24          

Figure Drawing 

Critique of color homework and museum discussion 

Lecture with handout on anatomy and proportion 

Warm up gesture drawings 

Homework assignment: Create a drawing consisting of facial features and the human form.

Final homework assignment: 

Create a self-portrait using any medium you choose. This is your last assignment. Make it memorable, you will have all of Christmas Break to complete it. No excuses! 

WEEK 25    

Critique of self-portrait homework 

Last class 

Homework assignment: 

All homework must be finished and returned for grading. We will also meet to have a One-on-one discussion of class work. Draw if you have completed all assignments for extra credit.

Student Academic Expectations:

1.) When the bell rings all students should be in their seats ready for instruction and art activity.

2.) Every class period be sure to have your journal/sketchbook, a pencil, and any specific materials or projects assigned for that day.

3.) Complete all projects as assigned within the given timeframe.

4.) Turn in with your complete artwork: the assigned rubric, all sketches, and any other preliminary work assigned. This is your responsibility.

5.) Take notes during all demonstrations, lectures, and art history presentations.

6.) Students will participate in critiques of completed artwork. Student comments are to be respectful and intelligent adding to the rigor of the learning process. You are graded on your participation.

7.) Expect to become interested and involved in the creative process.

Rubric Scoring Key:

4: Student mastery exceeds the defined learning goals.

3: Mastery of the learning goals are entirely demonstrated as assigned.

2: Goals are partially to mostly demonstrated but are not entirely and successfully met.

1: Learning goals are minimally demonstrated or can only be inferred.

0: There is no evidence of the learning goals being demonstrated.

4 = 100% 3.5 = 91% 3 = 86% 2.5 = 81% 2 = 76% 1.5 = 71% 1 = 66% 0 = 0

This syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the teacher to accommodate course, instructional, institutional, or student needs. It is the student’s responsibility to keep abreast of such changes. Any item not covered in this syllabus is subject to the procedures and guidelines of St. Joseph High School.


Critiques are the way in which contemporary artists and designers relate ideas about their work to others and in the 

process are able to more clearly analyze their own work. Critique is a group activity where artwork content, ideas, 

formal qualities and relationships to contemporary art practices are discussed. Feedback from critiques gives you 

valuable information that increases your learning potential and will improve your artwork. Use this information to 

your advantage, it's an important part of obtaining competency. Here are some basic rules: 1) Always be courteous 

and respectful of others in a critique. 2) Give honest, thoughtful and constructive feedback. 3) Speak to/about the 

work and not to/at the maker. 4) Try to differentiate between your taste and your critical evaluation of a work. 

Although the critique process can seem quite strange and uncomfortable at first, it gets easier the more one practices. 

Please note that grading for critique is tided to your projects, if you are late with turning a project in then your 

critique grade for that project is automatically forfeited.  


Homework & Sketchbook

Homework assignments are to be completed within the time allotted.  Every week we will critique the homework 

assignment. Please pin your artwork up first thing when you get to class. All homework assignments must have your 

name and date on them! You will have a sketchbook that should contain all the notes, ideas, sketches and clippings 

related to this course. We will work in your sketchbook every class meeting. Consider your sketchbook to be a 

record of your experience in this class; a diary of sorts that contains the information that you've learned as well as 

person thoughts and artistic expressions.  

Art Supplies 


Soft vine charcoal   

Folder to contain art work   







PENCIL  / 2B  

PENCIL  / 6B  





MAGIC RUB ERASER (rectangular)  






TRAY or Paper Plate for Painting and a Plastic cup to reuse   


DRWING PAD  18 X 24    

Available in your class as needed: Newsprint, additional sketch paper, Canson grey paper & additional art supplies, various art tools and any other specialty art products. 

Files for download: