AP Art students continue to refine their skills

Senior+Kathleen+Kerns+latest+piece+uses+her+Copic+markers.+The+artwork+has+been+added+to+her+portfolio.

Photo by Katie Kerns

Senior Kathleen Kerns’ latest piece uses her Copic markers. The artwork has been added to her portfolio.

Through February, AP art students have been working on building their portfolios and contest pieces in the art classrooms to improve their skills and create new pieces.

Double period AP art student and senior Kathleen Kerns has been diligently making progress in her portfolio. At the beginning of the year, students were researching and planning out their ideas for a sustained investigation, or an S.I.. A sustained investigation is a series of cohesive pieces that show the development and process of the artist’s work, all submitted and graded for the AP art exam.

I’ve been working on both assigned pieces and things that are just for fun. Right now, I’m working on a piece for Youth Art for Healing, an organization that commissions high school students to make artwork for children’s hospitals.”

— Kathleen Kerns

However, since Kerns already took the AP exam, she’s been spending her time in other areas of art. “I’ve been working on both assigned pieces and things that are just for fun. Right now, I’m working on a piece for Youth Art for Healing, an organization that commissions high school students to make artwork for children’s hospitals,” Kerns said.

To those outside of the art world it can be difficult to picture how it is graded, “There is an AP scoring rubric, which consists of four areas for evaluation. They are Idea and Theme, Media & Technique, Composition, and Refinement and Craftsmanship,” AP art teacher Quan Duong said. 

Though there are students working on sustained investigations, there are also students working on contest pieces. Senior Veronica Smorodinsev, who is taking Duong’s double period AP art class, is currently working on contest pieces since finishing her portfolio. She’s left with more free time to complete personal and contest pieces.

Being a student in an AP art class comes with certain expectations of your skill level, so the AP art exam had to create ways to measure that level of progress. And though they’re well thought out, these can be difficult concepts for students to maintain.Art comes in very different levels and styles, so we’re mostly graded on the effort put into the piece and how well our technical skill is,” Smorodinsev said. 

Along with those expectations come a struggle with time management for students handling such a self-directed class. “Honestly, I struggle with it sometimes. However, I think it’s important to remember that procrastination only hurts me and makes me stressed, so I avoid it,” Kerns said.

Students struggle to find ways to inspire their art, but there can be inspiration anywhere if you look hard enough. “Honestly? I’ve been finding inspiration in random bursts and TikTok art videos recently. As well as that, I get very vivid dreams about very bizarre scenarios. Sometimes if the dream seems to have enough lore for whatever reason I can build a full story from it,” Smorodinsev said. 

Kerns has had the same troubles with finding the right environment to push the creative process. “I take a lot of my inspiration from music. When I’m feeling extra uninspired, I think about whatever song is stuck in my head at the moment. Other times, my inspiration comes from how I feel or my inner dialogue and conflict,” Kerns said.