Beyond the Brush: A Journey of Artistic Exploration for Years 11 & 12 Visual Art and Design Students

In a recent two-day excursion called Beyond the Brush, Years 11 and 12 Visual Art and Design students were treated to an extraordinary experience filled with creativity, interactive activities, and captivating exhibitions. This excursion was carefully curated with the intention of providing students with profound encounters in the realm of creative arts.

The driving force behind organising the Beyond the Brush excursion for our students was Lesley Nation, Head of Visual Arts. Below, Lesley discusses the reasons for the excursion and the learning outcomes for the girls.

It stems from our belief that art is best appreciated in person rather than solely through digital mediums. While digital platforms grant access to artworks, they often fail to capture the true essence and impact of witnessing art in its physical form. This excursion aimed to bridge that gap by offering students the opportunity to engage with art firsthand and to immerse themselves in the emotional and sensory responses that artworks can evoke.

By immersing our students in a physical art environment, this excursion significantly enhanced their understanding and appreciation of the creative arts. The direct engagement with artworks allowed them to observe intricate details, explore craftsmanship, and gain a deeper understanding of the artists’ intentions. Witnessing the scale, perspective, and presence of artworks, which are often lost in digital reproductions, provided our students with a more nuanced understanding of art and design. Moreover, it fostered a heightened appreciation for the mastery and skill required in the creative process.

Participating in this excursion enabled students to develop their visual analysis skills through firsthand observation of artworks. Guided tours and workshops allowed them to gain a deeper understanding of artistic techniques and concepts. The exploration of diverse artistic expressions also contributed to their cultural awareness and understanding. Engaging in life drawing practices boosted their confidence, fostered new technical skills, and enhanced critical thinking and observation skills.

The inclusion of exhibitions like Pulse Perspectives and Hatched in the excursion was a deliberate effort to enrich and expand our students’ classroom learning. These exhibitions, held at AGWA and PICA, provided curated experiences that directly aligned with the students’ coursework and allowed them to explore a diverse range of artistic styles, themes, and mediums. By showcasing works from secondary and tertiary students who are exploring contemporary practices at a high level, these exhibitions offered valuable insights and inspiration, encouraging students to push their own artistic boundaries and broaden their horizons.

The impact of this two-day excursion on our students’ overall artistic development and future creative pursuits cannot be overstated. By experiencing a wide range of artistic expressions, students discovered new interests, artistic techniques, and potential career paths. The excursion served as a wellspring of inspiration, helping our students refine their own artistic style and develop their unique voice.

Here is what some of our students had to say about their experience:

Olivia Miller, Year 11
“My favourite part of Beyond the Brush was exploring the Pulse exhibition. It was fascinating to witness the variety of artworks created by students, utilising different forms like sound and lighting. The live drawing workshop with Camilla was the most beneficial for me. Trying something completely new gave me valuable insights into different ways to draw the human form and connect it with my own pieces.”

Madison McCubbin, Year 11
“The thing I enjoyed most about this excursion was the opportunity to explore galleries and gather inspiration from artworks. Working with a life model during the workshop and learning gesture drawings was an incredible experience. This excursion will greatly benefit my studies as I discover new techniques and methods of art that I can incorporate into my future artworks.”

Maeve Lehane, Year 12
“My favourite parts were the life drawing sessions and the chance to experiment with various techniques and mediums. It allowed me to explore different styles and infuse movement into my artwork. This excursion has broadened my artistic preferences, enabling me to work more dynamically and embrace simplicity in my creative process.”

Sophie Shepard, Year 12
I found the life drawing workshop to be the most inspiring part of the excursion. Witnessing the ATAR artworks broadened my perspective on what I could submit. It challenged me to think deeply about the meaning behind my piece and how I can effectively convey it. Moreover, the life drawing session helped me focus on the human figure and improve my drawing skills.

The Beyond the Brush excursion was a transformative experience for our Years 11 and 12 Visual Art and Design students. It allowed them to connect with art in a profound way, expanding their artistic horizons and nurturing their creative growth. The memories, inspiration, and knowledge gained from this excursion will undoubtedly shape their artistic journeys for years to come.

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