High School Art

Instructor: Laurie Reitinger

Course Title: Artistic Pursuits for High School: The Elements of Art and Composition

Course Length: Two Semester class.

Type of Class: Group class through HEART Academy

Grade Level: High School.

When: Fridays, 12:25-1:40, Period 3

Cost: $75 per month for 3 or more students, $85 per month for 2 students, $125 per month for 1 student

Credit Classification: Visual Arts – Studio Art

Materials: see below Minimum & Maximum

Class Size: 1 and 8

Questions: Email L.Reitinger@yahoo.com

Note: Artistic Pursuits: Color and Composition using Book 2 is planned to be offered the following year.

Curriculum: Artistic Pursuits: The Elements of Art and Composition – Senior High Book 1 (2013) by Brenda Ellis – $47.95 from publisher Website of the publisher: https://artisticpursuits.com/ If you ‘d like to use an earlier version – please check with instructor first. and The Art Spirit by Robert Henri – used copy on EBay or ThriftBooks.com for under $5.


  1. Art Materials: Already collected and packaged for you from the publisher – $85 OR purchased separately
    • list of items needed: (I found items below on Dick Blick Art Supplies website https://www.dickblick.com which totaled just over $52.)
      • drawing pencils – at least one of 2H, HB, 4B – but may want to purchase set of 12 drawing pencils which contain one each of 6B, 5B, 4B, 3B, 2B, B, HB, F, H, 2H, 4H, and 6H (Derwent, Blick, Faber Castell, for example)
      • vinyl eraser • metal hand held sharpener
      • Canson Universal Sketch pad 9″x 12″ 100 sheets (or something similar)
      • Strathmore 300 Series Charcoal pad 9″x 12″ 32 sheets (or something similar)
      • assorted size pack of vine charcoal (something like Coates Premium Artist’s Willow Charcoal – assorted)
      • jumbo (tree) stick vine charcoal (like Coate’s or like General’s that comes with 2 jumbo sticks and the kneaded eraser mentioned below)
      • package of compressed charcoal (like General’s – set of 4
      • paper blending stump (assorted sizes)
      • kneaded eraser
      • chamois 5×5 or other soft cloth
      • tote bag for supplies
  2.  Drawing Board: like Blick Sketch Pad Board (about $8). A drawing board can be purchased at art supply stores, or can be cut from a small piece of 1/8” to 3/8” thick hardboard (Masonite), found in lumber yards. Cut it to 15” x 16” for a small board, or 18” x 18” for a large board. Attach 2 large binder clips to it to hold paper. Find very large rubber band to go around board and hold paper at other end.
  3. Portfolio: A portfolio is a place to store finished work. You can make a simple portfolio by folding a piece of poster board in half, which will give you a portfolio of about 14×22” or 18×24”. 14×22” should be large enough to hold the finished work we will be doing. You can get poster board at the dollar store. For student’s wishing to create a portfolio for college entrance, you may want to purchase something more professional like Cachet Studio Portfolios (about $15-$30 at Dick Blick Art Supply) – see publisher’s note below.*
  4. Small bound sketchbook journal: at least 100 pages, about 5-1/2” x 8-1/2” can be a little smaller or larger, acid free drawing paper. 2 examples:
    • Blick Hardbound Sketchbook – 8-1/2” x 5-1/2” (around $7)
    • Global Art Hand Book Artists Journals – come 3-1/2”x5-1/2” up to 5-1/2”x 8-1/4”, and even 5-1/2” square (around $10-15)

Additional supplies that may be needed for artwork at home, I will always have some to use in class:

    • Hairspray (for use as a fixative) – or artist’s fixative
    • Ruler • x-acto knife or cutting tool
    • 12” x 12” cardboard box
    • masking tape or blue tape

Course Description: (quotations are from the author/publisher’s website – Brenda Ellis, Artistic Pursuits, Inc.) This course “provides high school students with an in-depth look at the elements of art and composition through a comprehensive text designed to engage them in the creative process as they produce original drawings using graded pencils and charcoal.” No prior knowledge of art is required.

“Students learn how to see the world like an artist as they are introduced to topics such as space, line, texture, and value. Each unit is crafted for focus on one art element while exploring the topic in four unique ways.” We will also read inspiration from an American artist – Robert Henri – from the book The Art Spirit where he sketches his opinions of how to see art and see the world thought the artist’s eyes.

The student will complete 16-17 lessons. In each lesson, “students explore their world in engaging studies designed to strengthen observation skills as they learn about the creative process. The student gains insight about artists and movements in Western art. Art appreciation lessons show how each element is used through the study of art from European masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Durer, Raphael, Tintoretto, and more. Technique and application pages allow skills to develop naturally, as the student works independently.” The student will culminate each lesson using what he/she has learned and then “choose a subject to draw from their own environment, and then easily apply the new information to their own art.” The student will complete a portfolio of 64 to 68 finished drawings “in pencil and charcoal media that are both original and entirely the student’s own. Upon completing the course, students will be prepared for a college art-related course with a thorough knowledge of the foundational principles of art.”

In summary – Course Description (from the author/publisher’s website): “The fundamentals of art (line, value, shape, texture, space, and form) are emphasized through examples and projects focused on drawing. Critical analysis of artwork is stressed in the application of the elements of art and the principles of design. Art appreciation and art history is included as students evaluate the works of European masters and learn to apply specific techniques to create original works of art.”

*NOTE (from the author/publisher’s website): “Information on Building a Portfolio (a group of art works to show to a college for entrance into their program, also the name for the folder you will put the works in). Please note that each college will have its own set of requirements and you should look into those before sending your portfolio to them. These guidelines will be valuable if you keep them in mind as you go through our courses.

  1. Include a total of twelve to fifteen pieces completed and matted.
  2. 3 pieces should demonstrate drawing skills, shading, value, or line work.
  3. Include two or more pieces from each course taken. (This includes other courses you have taken (if any) including photography, pottery, oil painting, etc.
  4. Show a variety of media, technique, size and subject matter. Fifteen works of seascapes all done in acrylic will not make a good portfolio.
  5. Present the portfolio in a professional manner: neat, organized. Any type of folder will work, but it should look neat if handmade. I suggest something like the Cachet Studio Portfolio at the Dick Blick Art Supply website.”

Course Requirements/Expectations: Work Load:

  • Expect a minimum of 2.5-4 hours a week (most of it at one or two longer time sessions for creation of original art), plus our 75-minute long class at HEART on Fridays for 32 weeks of the year. Total 120-168 hours for the year. We will also attempt to go on 2-3 art field trips if we can arrange them
  • Daily (or at least 4 days a week), the student is asked to read from The Art Spirit and journal reflections about art and doodle and free sketch. • Two days a week, an hour or more should be set aside to do the creative observation exercises and unit final projects.
  • There are 16 -17 units – each taking about 2 weeks to cover.

Attitude/Attendance/Behavior (all part of participation grade):

  • Have a willing heart and mind to participate and learn art.
  • Attendance and punctuality are very important. Please be in class on time, ready to start, and prepared for the day’s material.
  • Come prepared – Label your books and materials, bringing them with you to class and your completed on-time assignments.
  • Listen to instructions given in class and follow directions.
  • Be encouraging to your peer artists.

Weekly Class Time:

  • At the beginning of class students will record his/her attendance on the attendance sheet.
  • Class will start with a review of art vocabulary, artworks, and artists.
  • Instruction will be given on how to do different techniques.
  • Much of class will be spent working on technique exercises or unit projects.
  • During class while students are working on technique exercises or beginning final unit projects, student assignments (listed below) will be checked by the instructor.

Weekly Assignments:

  • Recap of the class and next week’s assignment will be sent out each week by email.
  • Students must complete assigned homework (on time!) Please stay caught up!
  • Students will do most of the visual arts vocabulary, observation of art and art history at home.
  • Class time will be used to review this material and learn and work on technique. •
  • Students will then do most of their final projects for each unit at home.
  • Students are also asked to read daily (2-4 pages at least 4 days a week) from the book The Art Spirit and record their reflections in a sketchbook journal.
  • Students are also asked to use their sketchbook journal to doodle and free sketch and practice techniques. These journals should be brought to every class.

Pulse Nights: Students will have an opportunity to display their work at Pulse Night in the Fall and in the Spring.

Evaluation: A teacher-created evaluation will be provided for every student at the end of the semester. A suggested grade will be given on the rubric sheet with recorded grades from the semester for work completed. Art is subjective and so therefore grades will be given for completion and incorporating key objectives, tools, and techniques into artwork.

Grades will include:

  • Class participation and attendance, including discussion of material in Artistic Pursuits and The Art Spirit, and including any field trips – 5%
  • Challenge your Vision (observation exercises) assignments – completed and obtaining all objectives for the lesson in the red box (in text) – 20%
  • To Do assignments (learning and practicing technique – showing a good understanding and use of materials and techniques) – 25%
  • Unit Projects – completed projects showing a good understanding of the lesson and use of those items asked for in the blue box (in text) – 45%
  • Journal – evidence that The Art Spirit is being read and journal is being used as often as has been requested – 5%

Excused Absences/Waived Assignments/Late Assignments:

  •  Parents, please notify the instructor of excused absences or waived assignments due to family schedules.
  • Late assignments by one week will only receive 80% of the credit they would have received.
  • Late assignments beyond that up to a month late will only receive 50% of the credit they would have received.
  • After that no credit will be given.
  • Throughout the year only three assignments may be waived altogether by the parent.

Bring to class every Friday:

  1. Artistic Pursuits: The Elements of Art and Composition – Senior High Book 1
  2. The Art Spirit
  3. Sketchbook Journal
  4. Tote with all art supplies
  5. Drawing Board
  6. Portfolio

Artistic Pursuits Assignments for the first week (to be completed prior to Back to School Night and the first class in September):

Parents & Students: Before Back to School Night:

  • Read this course description.
  • Read Artistic Pursuits, p. 2 – Getting Started – Contents and Art Supplies p. 91 – Evaluation Sheet

Students: Before the first class in September:

  • Make sure you have purchased all materials
  • Organize your Art Supplies Tote
  • Read Artistic Pursuits, p. 4 – Getting Started – What Students Want to Know p. 5 – Getting Started – The Elements of Art
  • Read The Art Spirit, Introduction by Forbes Watson p. 5-10 Forward by the author p.11
  • Journal your first reflections about what you think art is.

Contacting the Teacher: Please contact Mrs. Laurie Reitinger with any questions. I check my email daily and that is the best way to contact me is L.Reitinger@yahoo.com.