Visual Arts


The photography program at St. Paul's begins with the techniques of basic black and white photography. Working within a state of the art photography lab, students continually refine their skills while engaging in a variety of experimental techniques, focusing on creative expression. As the curriculum advances, students begin to integrate Art I principles into photography with the elements and principles of design, composition, subject matter, color, space and form. Student photographs are often exhibited throughout Mobile as well as the St. Paul's Gallery located in the fine arts complex next to the Moorer Theater.

Studio Art

Throughout the entire arts curriculum our students are taught by certified art specialists.  In the elementary years they study a variety of art concepts and work with many different media appropriate to their developmental levels.

Third grade students experiment with paint, colored pencils, markers, tissue paper, crayons, etc. as they learn elementary lessons on balance, tinting, shading, & composition.  Highlights include tissue paper action figures, watercolor animal paintings, monochromatic color prints, pointillism bugs, & tessellations! Once completed, student artwork will be on display during the end of the year art show before it is sent home.

Throughout the school year, 4th grade students become reacquainted with various mediums (tempera paint, colored pencils, crayons, construction paper, watercolor paint, etc.) and introduced to several new materials such as model magic (air-dry clay) and oil pastels. More in-depth lessons on color theory and composition are incorporated as they build upon basic art concepts such as contrasting colors and complimentary color schemes.  Specific projects include Alabama Gulf Coast Fish oil pastel drawings, pointillism jean murals, foam board prints, rainbow scratch art, narrative self-portrait collage, wax resist watercolor paintings, endangered species masks, etc.  All student artwork is sent home after being on display during the end of the year art exhibit in the Upper School Art Gallery.

In the Middle School our students have opportunities to take ceramics and 3D Design as well as traditional drawing, painting and mixed media options.

Once in High School our students may elect to take four levels of Art, culminating in Advanced Placement Studio Art, and/or three levels of Photography, with the option to take Advanced Placement Studio Art in Photography. For further information on the substance of the Visual Arts courses select the various categories below.

Many of our students have received major recognition in their fields.  Their work is entered and frequently places in various competitions at the local, state and national levels and has been accepted and honored at juried art and photography shows every year.

3D Design

3D design is explored by challenging students to think beyond the typical 2d by including the dimension of depth.  The students delve into the realm of form, working with many different mediums, consisting or wire, clay, copper tooling, beads, floral foam, modeling paste, paper mache and even paper.  Adding depth encourages students to use their creative abilities to think outside the box.  Many 3D projects involve painting; incorporating elements of line, shape, color, pattern and texture to complete the harmony and balance in their work.  


Students explore the use of white 25m clay daily during the course of a quarter using traditional hand building methods such as the pinch method, coil method, slab method, and drape mold method to produce pottery and sculpture.  Teacher demonstrations before each project provide guidelines and specific techniques necessary to produce both functional and decorative ceramic pieces. Students are challenged creatively as they are introduced to various glazing techniques and decorative applications including sgraffito, wax resist, crystal magic glazes and food safe glazes for functional pottery.

Digital Art

Graphic design is introduced through basic instructions on how to creatively manipulate images to create areas of interest.  Students are allowed to use a variety of software to accomplish fantastic computer generated works of art.  In studio classes, they are encouraged to use their own paintings as points of departure.   Basic animation is also addressed.


Basic drawing skills will be taught at various levels, re-enforced and expanded upon as the student advances through the curriculum. Blind and modified contour drawing from direct observation, sighting and visual perspective, value and shading, facial proportions and portrait study, landscape and still life, automatic drawing, investigation of expressive mark-making, and figure drawing from student models are some of the technical issues that will be explored. Graphite pencils, charcoal and Conté crayons, Prismacolors, chalk and oil pastels, pen and ink, and scratchboard are some of the materials that will be introduced.

Mix Media

After learning a variety of techniques in drawing,  painting, printmaking, collage, and photography our students are encouraged to use two or more of them in the same art work.  Some of the strongest and most compelling compositions result when a variety of media are combined in a creative way.


Students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of painting media throughout the curriculum.  Basic color mixing and hard edge painting with tempera, gouache, transparent watercolor and acrylics will be dealt with starting with simple design issues and culminating with the advanced works, showing a wide range of approaches, techniques, compositions and subject matter.


Many different printmaking techniques will be offered to our Art students.  Basic relief processes such as glue line, collagraph, and linoleum block printing will be explored as well as the stencil process when the students screen print their original tee shirt designs. Monoprinting and experimental  brayer printing are other options for our advanced students to investigate

Advanced Placement Studio Art

AP Studio Art is offered in Drawing, 2D Design and Photography at St. Pauls and is the culmination of the Visual Arts program.  It provides the serious Art student with the opportunity to create a portfolio of college-level work which will be submitted for evaluation at the end of the school year.  Qualifying work will earn college credit and/or advanced placement.  During the school year the student will be working on the very specific requirements as outlined by the College Board Advanced Placement Program.


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