Visual Arts


St. Gabriel’s Art program prepares artists to joyfully express themselves and make thoughtful and creative artworks using a variety of media that is connected to the art world and art history, along with building age-appropriate skills of art criticism and aesthetics.  

Through diverse projects with intentional scope and sequence PreK - 8th grade artists explore both 2-D and 3-D art.
  • Favorite media and projects include:
    drawing in oil pastel, pencil, ink, and more, as seen in oil pastel animal, hill country landscape and mandala projects
  • painting in watercolor, tempera and acrylic like self-portraiture
  • kiln-fired ceramics like shoe sole hearts, clay owls, African masks, and clay Pop art desserts
  • fiber arts like weaving, crochet, and wet felt
  • sculpture in wire and found object assemblage like wire shoes and constructed reed sculpture
  • printmaking like linoleum and foam prints, Japanese gyotaku, and kiln-fired silkscreen on glass tile
  • paper arts like origami,  flowers for our Day of the Dead altar, and Polish wycinanki
  • technology in art like Islamic tesselated tiles, paper circuit sculpture, and clay animation

Lower School General Art

PreK3- 4th grade artists build art appreciation, fine motor skills, attention to craft, resilience, and confidence to take risks. Creativity, imagination, and high level thinking skills are developed through our thoughtful, cross curricular approach built on SEL and cutting-edge art education best practices. Each artist has a personal art journal, engages in lively ‘gallery walks’ of each other’s works and master works to reinforce key concepts, and practices skills of proportion, line, and shape in our leveled drawing skillbuilders. All Lower School artists create a Christmas themed watercolor resist painting, a few of which are featured on our school Christmas card to families; the halls are decorated with these artworks, creating a warm, festive and colorful environment. All Lower School artists also collaborate on multi-grade level special projects for holidays like Veteran’s day (past work includes a large flag on canvas using plastic bottle caps, cards, and game pieces, or painted sticks assembled like a giant flag like artist Robert Rauschenberg) and Earth day (past work includes assemblages in boxes and pillars like artist Louise Nevelson or yarn wrapped chairs like artist Christo).  

Artists benefit from a dynamic and robust curriculum which embraces diverse media, children’s literature, and world cultures throughout their time in Lower School art.  In PreK3, artists create snowflake sun prints, ceramic shoe print hearts, yarn wrapped sticks like artist Christo, and beaded corn for Thanksgiving.  In PreK4, artists ‘action paint’ like artist Jackson Pollock with paint wands, build soft sculpture tacos like artist Claes Oldenburg, and make textured clay pinch pots. In Kindergarten, artists make a cave art mural using their own painted hands and sponge printmaking, create self-portraiture, make ceramic dinosaurs, and draw a giant oil pastel flower like artist Georgia O'Keeffe. In 1st grade, artists draw and paint to music, create a Hill Country pastel landscape like artist Paul Cezanne informed by hiking our school nature trail, weave on CDs, and make ceramic Egyptian cartouches. In 2nd grade, artists make Pop art paintings and clay desserts, enjoy continuous line drawing games using ozobots, and weave bookmarks along with making homemade FIMO beads. In 3rd grade, artists make oil pastel mandalas, weave with paper, and make ceramic owls. In 4th grade, artists create large, realistic animal pastel drawings using sources, ceramic Hamsa hands and digital Islamic tiles, wet felt using locally sourced llama and alpaca fur, make a city collage like artist Romare Bearden, and weave complex tapestries with letters and patterns.

Middle School 2-D Art: Foundations

5th and 6th grade artists create drawings, prints, watercolor and tempera paintings, and even photographs as they discover 2-D art. Students in this Foundations course develop their craft through practice, exercise their creativity through freedom and choice, and expand their knowledge of visual arts’ concepts, vocabulary, and cultural connections. Favorite projects include OP Art drawings, where students study OP Artist Bridget Riley, explore optical illusions, and then draw varying curved lines, shaded with a range of value from white to black, to create a stunning illusion of a 3D curved form. In this course, students love to explore new techniques in printmaking like relief carving. In one particularly exciting project, we read Faith Ringgold’s Tar Beach and explored her unique style of painting on fabric quilts. Students create their own quilt squares using a unique relief printing technique then combine their quilt squares into a class-wide collaborative quilt. Students also enjoy creating multimedia Self-Portraits where students practice the Grid-Drawing technique using a photograph. This project opens up class conversations about individuality, self-expression, personal style, and realism in art. This course provides a foundational space for students to explore and discover complicated themes and concepts in visual art while also enjoying the freedom of fun creative expression!

Middle School 2-D Art: Advanced

7th and 8th grade artists create drawings, prints, watercolor and acrylic paintings, and even photographs as they build on their previous knowledge of 2-D art. Students who choose to take this Advanced course develop and refine their craft through practice, develop their own maturing artistic voices through freedom and choice, and expand upon their foundational knowledge of visual art concepts, vocabulary, and cultural significance. Favorite projects include a detailed drawing study of photographer Edward Weston. In this project, students use graphite and charcoal pencils to create realistic drawings based on Edward Weston’s black and white photography using the Grid-Technique. Another favorite project is the themed multimedia collage. Students enjoy searching through printed sources to find images, designing an interesting composition, and choosing their own theme. In this course, we make important discoveries about culture in visual art that guide us in mature and relevant discussions. For instance, in this course we study African Masks from different regions, explore their visual significance, and create our own replications of a chosen mask using positive and negative space, and display it alongside a detailed description of the mask and it’s history. These high-school level projects develop student’s visual literacy skills and provide opportunities to creatively self express their voice as young artists.

Middle School 3-D Art

5th and 6th grade artists explore many different topics and materials using multimedia three dimensional materials which gives them the opportunity to build skills of craft and creativity. Favorite projects include wacky weavings, which are weavings made from a balloon with glue-soaked yarn; after the balloon is popped it is woven into with fabric strips, yarn, and more. Another favorite activity is making constructed reed sculptures, knotted rocks, and knitted hats made of sustainable yarn that is a springboard to discuss issues of poverty and the dignity of work through the Kid Knits curriculum. During the Fall semester artists make alebrijes, Mexican fantastical creatures using models with plaster cloth, paint, and clay, along with carved soap skulls for our Day of the Dead altar.  Fall artists also make Polish papercuts called wycinanki, of a traditionally decorated evergreen tree for Christmas. During the Spring semester artists create site-specific installation for Earth day, like our painted and cut water bottle chandelier like glass artist Dale Chihuly while learning about earth art masterworks. Artists learn, talk, and write about contemporary events and master works across time through our use of the Scholastic Art platform.

Middle School Ceramics

7th and 8th grade artists create a variety of imaginative hand-built thematic works of kiln-fired clay and glass using pinch, coil and slab methods. From pinched hearts, Pop art inspired food, coil vessels with lids, silkscreen on glass tiles and more, artists learn to plan then make multi-step projects involving experimental surface techniques, glazing, glossing, and more. Artists in the fall enjoy Day of the Dead themed ceramic tiles and holiday ornaments using a homemade clay stamp.  Artists in the spring especially love hiking on our nature trail to gather leaves to create leaf print plates. Artists learn, talk, and write about contemporary events and master works across time through our use of the Scholastic Art platform, along with learning first hand about the coding and chemistry of firing a kiln.

List of 2 members.

  • Photo of Jennifer Webel

    Jennifer Webel 

    Art Teacher
  • Photo of Katlyn Hellmer

    Katlyn Hellmer 

    • Student Artwork
    • Student Artwork
    • Student Ceramics
St. Gabriel's Catholic School is an Independent Catholic school in Austin TX, educating children in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school.