Painting Studies Course Descriptions

Core: Level One Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.

Drawing is an essential means of communicating, and central to every artist’s and designer’s practice. This class is a more rigorous and sustained introduction to the drawing medium. Drawing I students begin learning to define shapes and forms with line: investigating weight, direction and speed through gesture, contour and planar analysis. Then moving on to value, using both additive and reductive ways of working, they learn to utilize the power of light and dark to create a sense of texture, volume and space. Spatial systems, including perspective, are investigated as well as fundamentals of composition to construct dynamic imagery. Measuring and attention to negative space are essential skills used and reinforced throughout the learning process. Transcribing what is seen or imagined into visual form utilizing multiple approaches, from note taking to rendering to diagramming and sketching, is explored. The class is structured around demonstrations, guided exercises, and sustained drawing of varied subject matter including still-life, landscape, architecture and the human form.

Design is the discipline underlying all forms of visual expression, and an understanding of design principles is the basis for all art forms. This course introduces students to the formal elements of design: line, shape, pattern, value, texture, color and space. Working through a variety of challenging exercises, students use these elements to engage with problems of visual organization. Deliberate and considered placement of visual elements into an organized whole is the basis of composition, and skills acquired in this course have direct applications to anyone working in art and design, from painters and artists to art directors, illustrators, interior designers and interactive designers.

Color is one of the most powerful, and complex, tools at the artist’s disposal. Bridging the divide between color theory and color practice, this studio course distills the essentials of color mechanics into workable studies and projects. Students explore color through creative exercises using collage and paint to understand color and how to use it effectively. Explorations of the role of light, the psychological impact of color, and how such factors as hue, value and intensity affect design are integral to the learning. Slide-illustrated presentations address the historical background of the use of color. Through the process of experiencing the interface of color theory and color application, guidelines toward developing a personal palette are discussed. Mastery of color is essential in the work of artists, illustrators, craftspeople and designers, making this course an ideal starting point.

Explore the interdisciplinary relationship between imaging, coding, text, animation and video that come together as the designer’s toolkit. This fast-paced digital media course is ideal for the novice or even the intermediate user desiring a better understanding of computer-based workflow. A single unified Web design project, built over 12 sessions, is broken down into manageable lessons that include bitmap editing, vector graphics, page layout, image capture, preservation and manipulation. The terminology, protocols and connections between products are made clear as you become familiar with the techniques necessary for anyone who designs digitally.

It is essential for artists of all levels to have both knowledge of and familiarity with the materials and techniques specific to oil painting in order to fully perfect their craft. Through demonstrations, lectures and hands-on practice, topics covered include stretching canvas and preparing surfaces (cardboard, masonite, wood) for painting supports, paints and paint application, brushes, developing a color palette, and solvents and varnishes. Tonal techniques, direct painting, underpainting and glazing, and use of a palette knife are also explored. Emphasis is on skill building, rather than on specific image making, so the student is free to experiment. Please note that the course is appropriate for artists of all skill levels. Please note that in addition to the lab fee, you can expect to have to buy additional supplies for this course. We try to keep this cost under $100, but for specialized courses (jewelry, wood, metals) this may be higher.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.

Concentration: Level Two Courses

Refer to Certificate Program Guide for specific semesters offered.
Note: Successful completion of the Core curriculum (above) is crucial prior to starting the Concentration level.

Building on skills acquired in Drawing I, this next-step course is designed to further strengthen and refine drawing and compositional abilities. Students explore the descriptive and expressive manipulation of materials such as charcoal, graphite pencil, pen and ink, Conte crayon, and colored media, while learning to create more volumetric and spatial drawings through the use of value and composition. In the process, students work from still lifes, interiors and models as they consider gesture and contour, planar analysis, foreshortening, proportion, and volumetric rendering of forms. Ultimately, students develop confidence approaching a wide variety of subject matter as part of a well-composed drawing.

Unleashing the power of bitmap editing involves working with non-linear and non-destructive methods as much as possible. This course presents that workflow using Adobe Photoshop. Lesson topics include layer masks and effects, smart objects, adjustment layers, clipping masks and reverse editing methods to create the most subtle and professional edits to files – a necessity in the fields of photography, graphic design, illustration and Web design. Complete color modification, damage repair, digital make-up techniques, and complex graphic compositing are among the exercises that come together in a final project that demonstrates your competency with Adobe Photoshop.

A comprehensive introduction to the painting medium and development of effective painting strategies are the goals of this class. Building on skills and concepts of drawing, design, composition, applied color, and materials and techniques acquired in the core level, students apply knowledge, learn processes and gain skills as they learn to make vibrant paintings. Exercises and projects give students confidence with the process of paint handling and color mixing. Initially, painting is monochromatic (lights and darks of one color) to understand value and then students progress toward a limited palette to understand temperature and saturation of color, ultimately transitioning to a full, spectral palette. The essential elements of painting including composition and point of view, and scale and space are continually considered. Subject matter could include still-life, architecture, landscape and nature, as well as the figure. Throughout the course, references to the traditions of painting are highlighted.

Combining rendering skills, color and compositional elements to create unified paintings is the focus of this course. Consolidating skills acquired in Painting I: Elements + Processes, projects include making thumbnails and color studies to develop effective compositional structures. Students work from varied palettes to further their color knowledge and to understand its role in creating space. Context and composition are emphasized, as are cropping, editing, point of format, placement, edge and form in the construction of a painting. Using both direct and indirect methods of painting, students work from a variety of subject matter including still life, architecture and the figure as they examine context to suggest meaning. Students also begin to think about, develop and implement their personal visual direction. To support this process, students become immersed in the tactile aspect of paint, focusing on mark making, layering, scraping and glazing to create atmosphere and space.

In this advanced painting class, concepts of style, technique, content, abstraction and working in series are investigated, along with more sophisticated ways to express both formal and abstract issues. Utilizing the figure, landscape, still-life and architecture as themes in their work, students continue to paint from life and observation as they slowly explore many ways of interpreting subject matter. Students begin to work in series and learn how to develop their ideas sequentially, moving on to experiment with the format and size of work and choice of surface to paint on, with the goal of realizing their own personal language and direction. Most importantly, this course sets the groundwork for the Final Projects studio in the Painting Studies Certificate Program.

Working within the framework of a classroom context and under the guidance of an instructor, this unique final studio allows students to pursue and develop independent projects in painting. The course aims to develop and shape a self-sustaining critical discourse around each student’s emergent painting practice, as they gain the confidence to paint on their own, become self-directed and work independently as artists. A variety of critical frameworks are designed to introduce students to the social and historical precedents for their work, urging them to situate their practice in context. Students conduct research and design presentations on specific subjects pertaining to painting and its layered histories. The ultimate goal is to create and complete a body of work – working in a series or sequentially – that speaks to the objectives and content of the individual’s personal visual language and ideas. Choice of subject matter and medium are decided by the student. During the first meeting, students formulate the direction of their work. Regular group critiques take place every two weeks and serve to enhance the scope of dialogue forming around each student’s work. Certificate students: Your instructor will schedule a final portfolio review date, independent of the scheduled class dates.

Varies by semester. Electives may be taken at any point in the program, provided prerequisites have been met.