the ruyton reporter
Welcome to the Visual Arts Studio
I would like to introduce myself and to encourage you to come downstairs and visit our bright and
active Art Studio. My name is Mrs Donna Davies and I am delighted to be able to bring my passion,
dedication and years of experience to my role as Visual Arts Educator for the Prep to Year 4 classes,
in the Junior School.
I have begun an art learning journey with the students, which allows them to inquire and explore art
elements and concepts. I have a strong belief that creativity grows from a sense of wonder. I employ
a variety of teaching strategies which encourage the students to be risk takers and to question,
experiment, and to immerse themselves in every facet of the art lesson. I seek to learn all that I can
about their art interests and abilities.
I have encouraged the students to eat, sleep and dream about Visual Arts. I have introduced the ‘Artist
of the Lesson’, who proudly wears a sparkling scarf and thereby becomes the art critic for the day. In our
world of imagination, this means that the girls learn to recognise and identify the art elements and to
make informed choices and comments on the work of others. In this way I am encouraging the students
to engage in peer and personal reflection in a non-judgemental manner. My aim is to build confidence
and skills in art, which will lead the students to produce a culture of innovation and creativity.
The art students have embarked upon an exploration into pattern, colour and symmetry across all classes.
Various skill-based and imaginative art exercises have led each class into producing individual pattern
pieces reflecting their own personalities and use of self-expression. The Prep and Year 1 students began by
creating decorative fish, Years 2 and 3 have engaged in colour blending with inks and pen, and Year 4 have
created unique teddy characters.
I welcome the opportunity for art education to be a shared process with parents, students and classroom
teachers and I feel privileged to teach in a Visual Arts Department that truly offers a breadth of
opportunity for this to be embraced.
Mrs Donna Davies,
Visual Arts teacher
Sophina Hemingway has enjoyed a long and rich
association with the School in her role as an
Art teacher since October 1997. Sophina has
taught in both the Senior and Junior Schools and
is a passionate practising artist. Sophina may
have retired, but her legacy lives on in the
hearts, minds… and the homes, of the many
hundreds of girls whom she taught. Ask any of
her students, and you will be told of bedroom
shelves with feathered-cone birds, colourful
bowls on kitchen dressers, masks and paintings
mounted on walls, and even perhaps a mythical
creature in pride of place in the hallway to greet
all visitors (despite its ‘wonky’ leg). Perhaps this
is best captured by the words of Mia Avram,
now in Year 5, who relished her time from Prep
in Mrs Hemingway’s classes.
‘Out of all the work you do at School, the art work
is the thing that you treasure the most because
you worked with your imagination and your
hands. The pieces bring back strong memories
of when you were younger.’
In fact, it was a regular occurrence that pieces
emanating from the various Prep to Year 4 Art
rooms over the years would surprise visitors
when looking at the various displays. (‘How old
did you say the artist was?’) In fact, even in
Prep classes, so careful was the design process,
the attention to detail and the quality of the
finish, that the artworks are still treasured by
students and their families today, often many
years later. Take a look at the front of the current
School diary and you will see some examples of
the reasons why.
‘Mrs Hemingway was very creative and
supportive. She would let children run along with
their own ideas, but make further suggestions
And so it is that Sophina’s inspiration lives on
and her work at Ruyton will be appreciated for
many years to come.
Year 5 and
Ms Helen Tait,
Year 5 teacher.