GEMS Art Update: Semester One Roundup

As parents’ we are quite often aware of what our own child is doing in a particular subject but not how this fits in with the bigger picture. In Visual Arts, every child is involved in exciting opportunities to develop their skills, extend their creativity, broaden their thinking and establish and build upon a passion for expressing themselves. A snapshot into this last semester in the Visual Arts classrooms enables you to see how these elements and concepts are brought together with different themes, different media and different connections to create different outcomes and instil a lifelong love of making of and appreciation of art.

This semester our Primary Years students have produced an array of wonderful artworks, showing their willingness to take creative risks and to work hard at developing technical skills. Art projects are connected to Units of Inquiry in a transdisciplinary approach to learning.

Grade 1 students demonstrated their understanding of radial and symmetrical design, and their ability to work cooperatively when painting and piecing together mural components for their ‘Sharing the Planet’ Unit of Inquiry. They also created a mixed media artwork incorporating images inspired by their interpretation of the meaning of ‘home’ for the Unit of Inquiry ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’.

Grade 2 students planned, drew and coloured a maze incorporating images and symbols that represent children’s rights for the Unit of Inquiry ‘Who We Are’. For ‘Where We Are In Place And Time’, students extended their understanding of the history and culture of Singapore through their exploration of this country’s diverse architecture. They designed a printing block using features of Singapore’s historical buildings as a source of inspiration and printed this image onto a 3-Dimensional form.

Grade 3’s demonstrated their ability to solve problems creatively when using inkblots as a starting point for an imaginative drawing of a bird. For the Unit of Inquiry ‘How We Organise Ourselves’, students reflected on the pervasive nature of digital communication. They created a class mural made of multiple, overlapping relief prints of continuous line self-portraits, complete with headsets and headphones.





The Grade 4 students created a collaborative artwork in connection with our new playground. The students inquired into different painting techniques, with figures in action, to produce their own artwork. The students then supported the nutcracker musical and drew outstanding mini nutcrackers. The students are now focusing on understanding the elements of art, line, shape and colour to create a ‘composition’ of elements with the Music department. By drawing multiple variations of lines and shapes and artistically interpreting the elements of art, the students can thoughtfully construct a visual composition. Influenced by the wonderful artist Wassily Kandinsky’s musical compositions.

Grade 5 students completed an observational drawing of a leaf using pen and ink and applied their understanding of the elements and principles of art to an analysis of a number of artworks. For their ‘How We Express Ourselves’ Unit of Inquiry, students promoted awareness of the dire conditions of the world’s oceans when they constructed a 3-Dimensional waveform partly made of recycled plastic bags, using the technique of papier-mâché.

Moving in the middle years the diversity and creativity continues with Grade 6, students have been researching into Cultural masks from different countries. What materials they are made out of, and what purposes, festivals or events were they used for. They identified strong visual elements in the features they selected to recreate into their own mask.

The students drew a design of their masks based on the researched masks thinking about the complexities that occur from 2D drawings to 3D construction. The students constructed their masks with plaster of paris. They thought about form, size and shape during the construction. When completed the students creatively explained the purpose of their mask, what it was used for and who by. They then completed the creative details of the mask with the colour and texture to produce their artwork.

The Grade 7 students have been inquiring into the connection between art and science and the anatomy of art. Many artists have used anatomy as their subject and many scientists have used artists to record their scientific discoveries. The students discovered how Leonardo Da Vinci first drew for scientific and artistic knowledge of muscle structures for an understanding of how to create a visual representation of the human form. Through the exploration of drawing techniques, hatching and cross-hatching. Focusing on the anatomy of the hand, muscles, tendons, bones, ligaments, angiography, veins the students then formed an artistic intention to explore through a range of mixed media in order to create their individual artistic interpretation and artwork of how artists respond to anatomy.

Grade 8 have been exploring how variations in perception lead to more authentic self-expression in their ‘Matter of Value’ unit. In this, they developed their understanding of artistic value, as well as other elements of art and principles of design and refined their ability to use pastels effectively when recreating enlarged images of our school greenery. For our second unit ‘Picking up the pieces’ students identified a Global Goal they connected with and inquired into art with a message whilst experimenting with the technique of collage. Their finally creative outcomes communicating their chosen message or meaning will be completed in the new year.


Grade 9 have enjoyed exploring a multitude of concepts and media this semester, starting with the painting unit ‘Moving with the times’. Students had to inquire into the life and work of an artist of their choice and communicate the information they discovered in a creative and highly visual way. This was then complemented with the printmaking unit ‘Can you repeat that?’ exploring how and why change occurs artistically, technically and scientifically.

Students researched into the significance of Gutenberg’s movable type printing press, developed an understanding and appreciation of reviewing, reflecting and refining in order to make positive changes and gained a working understanding of collagraph, etching and block printing.

Our Grade 10 students have been focusing on a thematic unit to develop their skills and extend their creative thinking. They chose from Forces, Rainforest or Juxtaposition as their starting point, with each student then exploring their chosen theme both independently and with guidance. They made connections with well-known artists, experimented with media, composition and techniques and documented their preparatory work in a variety of ways. They are now in the process of completing their final artworks for this.

Grade 11 and 12 have refined their understanding of the elements of art and principles of design, explored cultural and historical diversities represented in various art forms and reviewed and responded to the works of others.

They have developed a greater understanding of critical analysis of artwork in response to their personalised Comparative Studies. As well as continuing to explore their own investigations into art forms and practices by creating independent artworks for their Exhibition. This has been complemented and supported by documenting their skills and techniques, providing evidence of developing, reviewing and refining their ideas and artistic abilities in their Process Portfolios.





On behalf of, Karen Paris, Beth Roberts and Claire Rimmer


Claire Rimmer
Head of Department, Visual Arts & Design

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