What are the visual arts about?

Visual culture includes all images and artefacts that shape our worlds and existence. The visual arts provide forms of communication that inform where we have come from and how this has shaped our current place in the world. Visual communication is one of the most essential ways of communicating and interpreting our identity as individuals, groups, or communities and how we interact with each other, the group, or the community and world we live in.

Students in the visual arts are explorers, critiquers, and inventors who give form to knowledge and experience. Through studying and making art works, students respond to and make sense of themselves and their community, their society, and the world in new and different ways.

Students become reflective thinkers within the creative process, able to formulate problems and apply inquiry to generate new knowledge and or understandings.

Visual arts connect mind, heart, body, and spirit as students learn to express their thoughts, feelings, ideas, and actions in the development and creation of visual art works.

Through applied research and practice within the visual arts, students investigate and challenge established ways of art making in New Zealand and/or internationally and generate new responses and processes. They gain confidence in their questioning and research skills and in their ability to synthesise complex and diverse information.

Learners in the visual arts become productive contributors to and informed commentators within local, national, and global communities particularly through exhibitions of their work, collaborations, and interactions with audiences.

All year 9 students at Queen’s have experience of some basic practical drawing and painting techniques which form the basis of their required skills to be creative and inventive in Year 10, 11 and in the fields of Painting and Photography at levels 2 ,3 and Scholarship.

We aim to support girls to reach well beyond what they ever thought they were capable of attaining.

Year 9: Visual Arts

Art in Year 9 covers the following topics:

  • Drawing: Realistic drawing using shading
  • Painting: Garden Plants and Creatures - painting using acrylic and colour mixing
  • Design: Skateboard/Cellphone design using multi-media, Coastline and Sea Life
  • Sculpture: Fantasy Faces, designing and decorating clay moulds of faces
  • Other Media: Scintillating Koru - creating original koru designs inspired by the sea

At the conclusion of the course, each student mounts her work on a A1 Board and photographs are taken of the whole body of work with each student. 

Additional opportunities which may arise are a Gallery visit and a Junior Art Exhibition.

Year 10: Visual Arts


  • Students explore a range of artistic ideas, art-making media and techniques over two terms. 
  • A foundation of drawing skills leads to a wide array of art projects ranging from two-dimensional paintings and prints to sculptures or installation art


  • Drawing using a range of media, painting, printmaking and design techniques, analysing artworks, using art-making conventions, researching artists, creative thinking, initiative and independence.

Art History standard 91018 offered at the end of the year as extension. 

Year 11: Visual Arts

Students build upon skills learned in junior courses.  Units cover:

  • Drawing using line and tone, etching, multimedia works.  The theme is Flora and Fauna. 
  • Development and extension of students work is closely aligned with selected artist models and explores a wide variety of Traditional and Contemporary practices.


  • Drawing using a wide range of wet and dry media, a wide variety of painting techniques, printmaking, developing colour palettes, compositional designs, creative thinking, time management and planning
Year 12: Painting


  • Students explore drawing using dry and multi-media techniques and processes in-depth to explore a self-selected theme, which is then established and extended using contemporary artist models to inform ideas and make up the body of work used for the Folio submission and Scholarship entry.


  • Drawing using a wide range of media, painting, compositional ideas, art theory, media experimentation, creative thinking and independent work habits, time management and planning.


Year 12: Photography


  • An introduction to the fundamental techniques that underlie the practice of photography. 
  • Students use full studio with equipment, projectors, cellphone cameras and digital manipulation in the development of ideas to express a self-selected theme, building a body of works for a submission Folio.


  • Researching artist models, using art making conventions to create images, studio lighting, image manipulation, layout and photo editing, time management and planning.
Year 13: Painting


  • This course examines the development of ideas through drawing and painting processes. 
  • Students generate ideas from a subject or theme chosen in consultation with their teacher and artist models will be used to learn techniques from. 
  • Appropriate painting, as well as mixed media techniques (incorporating digital print and photographic media) will be developed during this course which prepares students for entry into associated tertiary course.


  • Researching and analysing artist models, drawing as a central means of developing ideas, applying compositional and pictoral conventions using a range of painting media and techniques from water-colour to impasto acrylic and latex resist, sound time management and planning.
Year 13: Photography


  • Students develop their technical skills through a methodical, in-depth study of an individual theme. 
  • A variety of photographic model will assist them with their learning and the extension of their ideas. 
  • This course prepares students for associated tertiary courses with a sound knowledge of traditional photographic processes, creative problem solving skills and basic Photoshop techniques.


  • Research and planning drawings, sequencing and developing ideas, compositional conventions, analysing artist models, darkroom and digital processes, Photoshop image adjustments, creating file dumps, time management and planning.

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