Course Outline

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Pd. B    AP Art and Design                                          Rm 516                                           Mrs. Dion

Overview: This full-year (1 credit) course is for Juniors and Seniors who wish to earn college credit while in high school.  The emphasis of this course is to produce a portfolio for submission to a jury on AP College Board for possible college credit.  Through studio practice, application of design concepts, and informed decision making, students will assemble a body of artwork that demonstrates a high level of quality and growth over time.  

1.     Students will develop mastery in concept, composition, and execution.  

2.     Students will submit a drawing portfolio to the College Board with work that focuses on the use of mark-making, line, surface, space, light &

     shade, and composition.

3.     Students submit a portfolio in May to include 5 selected works (demonstrating drawing skills and synthesis of materials, processes, and           ideas) and 15 sustained investigation images (demonstrating drawing skills, practice, experimentation, and revision, as well as synthesis of             materials, processes, and ideas) based on an investigation of the student's choosing.

4.     Students should consider marks that can be used to make drawings, the arrangement of marks, the materials and processes used to make           marks and relationships of marks and ideas.

5.     Students can work with any materials, processes, and ideas.

6.     Drawing (analog and digital), painting, printmaking, and mixed media work are among the possibilities for submissions.

7.     Still images from videos or film are accepted.

8.     Composite images may be submitted.

9.     Students are encouraged to develop a strong personal artistic voice.

10.     The year will culminate with a gallery show (in-person and/or virtual).

11.     Throughout the year, students will document/photograph and write about their processes and finished work.  

Mrs. Dion utilizes the Google Classroom, Instagram and her teacher website,, to instruct students.

Materials needed:

1.     Bag of supplies you receive at the beginning of the semester.  This is to be with you at all times, whether in the classroom or working           remotely.  

2.     Sketchbook

3.     Remote Only students will receive information on how to pick-up their supplies.

4.     Additional supplies are available based upon student choice.

Classroom expectations:

1.     Students are REQUIRED to submit the online student attendance form within the FIRST 10 MINUTES of class, NO EXCEPTIONS. If you do           not follow this protocol you are marked absent.

2.     Students will be ready to work.

3.     Students will work independently

4.     Students need to be respectful of other people in the room & their workspace.

5.     Students will bring their current project and materials to class every scheduled class day

6.     Students will utilize safety/health procedures as outlined by Administration.

7.     Students will wipe down their work area with the provided wipes 5 minutes before the end of class.

Remote learning expectations:

1.     Students are REQUIRED to submit the online student attendance form within the FIRST 10 MINUTES of class, NO EXCEPTIONS. If you do           not follow this protocol you are marked absent.

2.     Students are expected to work during the assigned classroom time.

3.     Students will show evidence of the work they did during remote class time per the direction of Mrs. Dion, most likely through the upload of a           photo of the work in Google Classroom.

4.     Students are responsible for checking on the Google Classroom and for directions and assignments.

Extra help days:

1.     Mrs. Dion is available T/Th 6:45AM - 7:15AM for extra help.

2.     As a part-time teacher, Mrs. Dion is on campus from 6:45AM until 10:20AM.  If you are working remotely and need help during these hours,  

     please send an email.  Emails/contact outside of class hours will be returned when Mrs. Dion is available.

How competencies work in the visual art classes:

These are the FOUR competencies AP Studio students need to show competence in along with a sampling of questions for each one:

1.     Connect Competency: Students will understand that through artmaking, people make meaning by investigating and developing awareness of                perceptions, knowledge and personal experiences.

a.     Did you demonstrate a process of developing ideas from early stages to fully elaborated ideas in your art?

b.     Did you incorporate your own personal experiences along with outside influences to develop your art?

2.     Create Competency: Students will understand that artists and designers develop excellence through practice and constructive critique, reflecting on, revising, and refining work over time.  Artists and designers experiment with forms, structures, material concepts & media.

a.     Did you engage in making art with/without preconceived ideas?

b.     Did you engage in making art through multiple approaches?

3.     Present Competency: Students will understand that artists, curators, and others consider a variety of factors and methods including evolving technologies when preparing and refining artwork for display and/or when deciding if and how to preserve and protect it.

a.     Did you develop and refine your artistic techniques for strong craftsmanship resulting in artwork that is suitable for presentation?

b.     Did you demonstrate the ability to communicate a clear message through your art?

4.     Respond Competency: Students will understand that individual aesthetic and empathetic awareness developed through engagement with art can lead to an understanding of and appreciation of self, others, the natural world, and constructed environments.

a.     Were you able to apply relevant criteria to evaluate works of art?

b.     Were you able to analyze how one's understanding of the world is affected by visual art?

Assignments in the visual art classes will indicate what competency is being evaluated.  In Aspen, the competencies are listed on the right side of the student view for the course within the assignment tab.  (We will discuss this in class and you will be walked through how to view it on Aspen.)  Assignments may have more than one competency and that will be reflected in Aspen.

In order to earn credit for the course, a student must numerically pass the course with a 65% or higher and numerically pass each competency with a 65% or higher.

Redoing work to possibly earn a better grade:

At the discretion of Mrs. Dion, assignments may be redone to earn higher credit.

Late Summative Procedure:

For each day that a completed summative assignment is submitted past its due date, a 7% deduction per day will be applied.  If the assignment is 5 or more days late, a total of 35% will be deducted.

Academic Honesty and Integrity:

In its attempt to promote student excellence, Pinkerton Academy expects students to conduct themselves with honesty and integrity. It is critical that students are aware of Pinkerton Academy's expectations with respect to academic honesty and integrity.

Examples of dishonesty in the visual arts includes but are not limited to: copying another student's work and turning it in as your own; using an assignment from another course and resubmitting it without permission from the instructor; copying art work from the Internet and turning it in as your own without crediting the original artist.

Please see the Student Planner for the rest of the policy, including first and second infractions along with a model list of what is/is not acceptable.

AP Portfolio Requirements:

The Drawing portfolio consists of the following two sections:



15 DIGITAL images of works of art and process documentation that demonstrate sustained investigation of an idea through practice, experimentation, and revision.  This section will be uploaded to the College Board website (detailed instructions will be explained later in the school year).


1.     Identify the questions that guided your sustained investigation.

2.     Describe how your sustained investigation shows evidence of practice, experimentation, and revision guided by your questions (1,200 characters maximum, including spaces, for response to both prompts.

For each image:

1.     Materials (100 characters maximum, including spaces)

2.     Processes (100 characters maximum, including spaces)

3.     Size (height x width x depth, in inches, or “NA” for size if documenting process/detail)



1.     FIVE physical works or high-quality printed reproductions of physical works that each demonstrate synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas using drawing skills.  Works will be shipped to the College Board and will be returned in June.  If we are in a remote learning situation, this will be updated per the guidelines provided by AP College Board.

2.     Writing:  For each image:

a.     Idea(s) visually evident (100 characters maximum, including spaces)

b.     Materials used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)

c.     Processes used (100 characters maximum, including spaces)

April 23, 2021:  ALL your work is due for our class.  NO EXCEPTIONS.

May 5, 2021: Mrs. Dion's deadline to submit all AP portfolios.  Digital submission uploaded to College Board and five selected works boxed and shipped.

Year Schedule

Introduction to the AP Portfolio (Week 1)

1.     Explanation of each section of the AP portfolio: Sustained Investigation and Selected Works.

2.     Registration on AP website.

3.     View sample AP Drawing portfolios at AP Central:

Evaluation of Past Work (Week 1)

1.     Bring in all summer work AND upload images of each to the Google Classroom (for the summer work you do NOT have to also upload to Aspen...ONLY Google Classroom because there are multiple images.)

2.     Evaluate summer work in terms of drawing skill, materials, processes, and ideas.

3.     What are your strengths? How could you grow as an artist? What materials, processes, and/or ideas are you interested in? What past work could lead to a sustained investigation?

4.     Begin “Skill Builder/Mini Investigation Projects”

1. Skill Builder/Mini Investigation Projects (Sept. – Oct.)

You are being given the choice to choose from the 10 short projects listed below or the 8 projects outlined from  You are required to complete a minimum of 2 of the projects.  These are short projects that will include multiple works or iterations investigating a single idea to build drawing skill and model the process of investigation in preparation for your chosen sustained investigation. Each investigation will include all steps on the investigation process handout and will be graded using the “Sustained Investigation Process Rubric” for finished works.

1.     Color: How can 90 colors be created from seven colors through primary, secondary, and complement mixes/tints/shades? How do color choices affect the mood or perception of a drawn subject? How does colored light affect perception? How does light affect local color?

2.     Experimental Line/Mark-Making: How can line be created in three-dimensional space? How can marks be created with unconventional materials beyond store- bought art supplies? Can mark-making alone be subject matter? How can emotion be communicated through the quality of marks?

3.     Composition: How do layers of space, placement on the page, or eye levels affect perception of a subject? What happens to form when part of a subject is cropped out of an image? How can composition communicate ideas?

4.     Altered Images: How can altering images change the story or affect perception of subject matter? What are ways images can be altered digitally, in physical space, and or both?

5.     Image Experimentation: How can images collected from magazines or other analogue sources be recombined into a new unified image? What images emerge when open to discovery and working without a plan? How can drawing be created from or on the newly created work? How do hand-drawn marks interact with collaged imagery? How can one combine imagined and observational drawing?

6.     Installation: How can drawing interact with three-dimensional space? How can drawing impact the viewer within that space? How can drawing be used in three- dimensional space to tell a story or deliver a message?

7.     Identity: How can materials choice, composition, eye level, mark-making, pose, and/or symbolic objects illustrate personal history, identity, and aspects of the self?

8.     Process Painting: What emerges when there is no plan but only pure experimentation with paint? Does the image remain pure in form? Do recognizable images emerge? How can paint be marked, etched, layered, applied beyond a traditional paint brush? How are decisions made when relying purely on intuition?

9.     Materials as Meaning: How can materials act as symbols? What is the effect of using multiples of a chosen object? How can meaning be embedded in the materials?

10.     Microcosm/Macrocosm: How can parts and the whole be explored through close- up and overall drawings of visually intriguing or personally relevant objects? How can ordinary objects become abstractions of form through dynamic compositions? How can lighting change perception of objects and affect the mood of a still-life drawing?

From  These are the projects that have traditionally been available in the AP Studio Art class at our school.  You have the opportunity to choose from above and/or these 8 assignments.  

1.     Hairscape

2.     Expressive Self-Portrait

3.     Extreme Foreshortening

4.     Abstract Explosions of Color

5.     Romantic Destruction

6.     Trompe L'Oeil

7.     Surreal

8.     Thiebaud - Repetition!

2. Artist Research Project (Sept. - Oct.)

1.     Research an artist related to the investigation you are starting in class. Search for an artist working with similar materials, processes, and/or ideas. Try searching key words, the materials you'll be using, your idea, etc. You may research an artist in a gallery or museum in person. You may use magazines from the library including Art News, Art in America, and Juxtapoz. Go beyond Instagram to find in-depth information, here are a few online resources to get you started:

2.     Record all research in your sketchbook. Use the questions below to guide your research of an artist or artist collective. Document research in your sketchbook to include the following:


     Printed and/or sketched images of the artist(s)' work


     Written answers to all questions listed below

     Sources: website address, name and author of book or magazine article


3.     Post research to your artist Instagram and tag me (@mrs_dion_)


     Photograph your artist research pages in your sketchbook


     Brief description of the artist and what you researched; any insights you want to share with the viewer


      Hashtag and/or tag the artist


     Tag and hashtag to link to classwork

     Research Questions

     1. Who:

     2. When:

     3. Where is the artist from?

     4. List aspects of the artist(s)' identity (race, gender, culture, other?).

     5. What ideas does the artist investigate in their work?

     6. What materials did the artist use?

     7. What was the artist's process when creating the work? How did they make their work?

     8. What drawing skills (mark-making, line, surface, space, light and shade, and composition) did the artist use?

     9. How did the artist use those drawing skills?

     10. What imagery did the artist use?

     11. What did the artist use as sources for images?

     12. How difficult do you think it was to create their work?

     13. Do you think the artist worked with a plan, no plan as in open to the process, or both?

     14. Did the artist work from imagination, observation, or both?

     15. How does the artist(s)' personal experience, culture, or history inform or influence their work?

     16. What is your opinion of the artist(s)' work and why?

     17. What else do you think is important to note about this artist(s)' work?

     18. What questions would you ask the artist(s) if you could talk to them in person?

     19. How does this artist(s)' work relate to the project or investigation you are working on in class?

Sustained Investigation (November–April)

This section of the AP Drawing portfolio offers students the opportunity to make and present works of art based on an in-depth investigation of materials, processes, and ideas of their choosing done over time.

Sustained investigation is guided by QUESTIONS. It involves practice, experimentation, and revision using materials, processes, and ideas. This section is expected to demonstrate skillful synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas. Visual and written evidence of inquiry are required.

Visual Documentation of Skill Building

Quality documentation of finished work and the process of art making will support the final portfolios. Students will learn and demonstrate the ability to do each of the following before moving on to art making in class:

1.     Taking quality photos of finished work, works in progress, sketchbook pages, and the art-making process using cell phone cameras and smartphone digital editing software.

2.     Editing images for clarity and accuracy on cell phones.

3.     Selecting the highest quality images and deleting those that aren't needed.

4.     Creating a Google Drive folder for this class.

5.     Sharing folder with instructor.

6.     Uploading images to Google folder.

7.     Renaming images

8.     Sorting images into folders online.

9.     Creating an artist Instagram.

10.     Posting to and hashtagging/tagging within a post on Instagram.


Once students have completed the skill-building mini investigation projects, they are ready to investigate an idea of their choosing. Students will be guided through a brainstorm process to generate questions/ideas for an investigation that is compelling to the student. Brainstorm will include reviewing past work, reflecting on personal history, and considering materials, process, and ideas that are of interest.

Independent Work Time

Once an investigation is chosen, students will work independently, with the understanding that the investigation can shift and change as part of the process. Progress will be checked weekly and process and finished works will be graded according to the competencies based on the investigation process.

Final Portfolio (Last two weeks in April–early May)

Selected Works Section of Portfolio

Selection of works:

1.     Select the five works that best demonstrate advanced drawing skill and skillful synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas. The five pieces chosen can come from the sustained investigation, but they don't have to.

2.     Writing: ideas, materials, processes for each piece.

3.      Mounting/matting of each piece

4.      Meet for final assembly of portfolio where we label and pack your five selected works for shipping.

Digital Submission of Sustained Investigation:

1.     Selection of photos of process and finished work that best show the investigation process.

2.     Final writing to include investigation question, practice, experimentation, revision, materials, process, and ideas

3.     Dimensions of work


Evaluation of final portfolio based on our school scoring guide.

Investigation Process

This cycle serves as a guide for sustained investigation. You may expand beyond this guide, but it offers a way of thinking about investigation. Because every artist investigates in their own way and at their own pace, an investigation may start and move in different stages and directions in the cycle. All stages present opportunities for practice, experimentation, and revision (making changes). For an in-depth investigation, explore each stage of the cycle as is appropriate for your investigation while practicing, experimenting, and revising. All stages are considered part of your PROCESS of investigation, so document each stage with photos and writing for possible inclusion in

Sustained Investigation Guidelines

Work through the investigation process as is appropriate for your idea(s). Every artist works in their own way and at their own pace. With that in mind, you do not need to explore every stage every week, but you do need to have explored every stage by the end of your investigation. You will score yourself for both process and finished works during the semester. You will need a high-quality mixed-media sketchbook to document process, including but not limited to artist/art history research, materials/ drawing skill practice/experimentation, experimentation with composition, designing of projects, thumbnail sketches, visual references, inspiration, and drawing practice/experimentation. This sketchbook is a dynamic tool. Images from your sketchbook that document process, practice, experimentation, and revision can be used in your final portfolio.

Process: Instagram Posts Due Every Friday:

By the last day of every week, post your investigation process to Instagram. You can set up a separate IG account from your regular one for this purpose. All stages are considered part of your process of investigation, so documenting each stage in your sketchbook and with photos and writing will help you compile your final portfolio in May. Include photos, writing, hashtags, and tags as outlined below:

IG Photos/Video:

1.     Photos documenting each stage of your investigation process. Try to avoid cast shadows or unclear photos. Try a variety of types of photos. Look at your entire feed as a gallery wall to curate.

2.     Take at least one photo every class period to document your progress/process.

3.     Record time-lapse and regular video if you feel this would document your process

well. Video can be posted to your stories or as a regular post.

4.     Weekly posts can include a stack of multiple photos. Please make sure the top photo is the most engaging.

5.     If posting to your story, tag me and save the story to your highlights or it will disappear in 24 hours and you will not get credit. (@mrs_dion_).  

IG Written Reflection:

Answer each question below in each weekly Instagram post.

1.     What questions are guiding your sustained investigation? What, if any, new questions have emerged?

2.     List materials and drawing skills (mark-making, line, surface, space, light and shade, and/or composition) you are exploring.

3.     Describe what you did this week during your investigation process (research, materials/drawing practice, design process, making, and/or curating/display).

4.     How have you practiced and/or experimented this week?

5.     What have you revised or changed as you have been working?

6.     What is working well so far?

7.     What could you improve?

8.     What insights, discoveries, or inspiration have you gained?

9.     What will you do next to further your investigation?



Hashtags And Tags:

1.      Use this hashtag to link to classwork: #apstudiopa and this tag for the teacher: @mrs_dion_

2.     Tag photo and stories to link to classwork.

3.     Search the class hashtag and comment on each other's work.

4.     Add hashtags to build your audience. Consider using medium, concept, WIP (work in progress), etc. Suggestions: #drawing #art #painting #mixedmedia #portraits #animalart #natureart #installation #color #recycledart #conceptualart #performanceart #fashion #markmaking

Critique of Finished Works And/Or Works In Progress

Small-group critiques

1.     You are required to comment on each class member's Instagram posts

2.     When uploading finished works:

a.     Share your investigation question.

b.     Share your materials, process, and ideas.

c.     Share your practice, experimentation, and revision.

d.     Respond to fellow artists' work.

e.     Participate actively and respectfully.

f.     Give constructive criticism and positive feedback.

g.     Use art vocabulary.

h.     Ask questions.

i.     Write critique feedback of your art in your sketchbook.

Finished Works Guidelines

You must have 15 finished pieces of work by the end of your sustained investigation. Each piece must demonstrate synthesis of materials, processes, and ideas and drawing skill. You will be required to turn in work at dates that will be given to you within the school calendar.

Written Commentary

This commentary will serve to document your investigation in writing and will serve as an artist statement for the public as it will accompany your display of work outside the classroom.

Typed 12pt Times New Roman,

Create a heading: row 1—centered first and last name; row 2: centered title of your series in italics Skip a line

Answer the following thoughtfully and accurately, using complete sentences in left- justified paragraphs:

1.     WHAT questions are guiding your sustained investigation?

2.     WHY are you interested in investigating this idea?

3.     WHAT materials, processes, and ideas have you explored in EACH piece? HOW is each piece different from the next?

4.     WHAT drawing skills are you exploring (e.g., mark-making, line, surface, space, light and shade, and/or composition)?

5.     HOW have you experimented with materials, processes, or ideas?

6.     HOW have you practiced with materials, processes, or ideas?

7.     WHAT revisions or changes have you made as you have been working?

8.     WHAT visual sources have you used in your work? If you've used the work of others, list their information here and describe how you have changed the image to show your individual vision.

9.     WHAT insights, discoveries, or inspiration have you gained as you have been working?

10.     WHAT materials, processes, or ideas will you explore next to further your sustained investigation?

11.     WHAT do you hope the viewer will come away with after viewing this work?

Gallery Exhibit (May–June)

After portfolios are submitted, you will be working on a group gallery exhibit of your work and the work of your fellow AP Art and Design classmates. This will give you an authentic professional artist experience. The following will be included: (this may be changed due to remote learning)

1.     Typed artist labels and artist statement

2.     Professional mounting or preparation of work for display as is appropriate for your work

3.     Attend artist reception (typically held in May)

4.     Written reflection/Instagram post

Display/Curate Finished Works: (adjustments may be made due to remote learning)

Mount or prepare work for display as is appropriate for your work. Attach an artist label to each work:

CURATE and arrange a display of your works including your typed commentary. Consider relationships of all works to each other, impact of arrangement on perception of your ideas, and relationship to the other artists' work in the hall.

Instagram Post Of Finished Works

Photograph each finished work using a smartphone. Use an even light source (outside in shade or inside with angled lights and no cast shadows). Align edges with the frame when taking your pictures. Crop out the background. Familiarize yourself with the phone's editing features and adjust the image until color and light look accurate

Include a photo of the curated display if more than one is complete.

Copy and paste written commentary you used in the display into the post. Tag and hashtag to link it to your classwork and build your audience.

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