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Art Program: Concentration in Painting

Model posing for Painting class in Beardsley Hall painting studio.

A model posing for a painting class in the Beardsley Hall painting studio.

Explore the course offerings for Painting below:

ARTT 003A. Painting I: Drawing into Painting

This course provides an intensive exploration of the foundational elements of drawing and painting through the practice of direct observation. Subjects of study will include; still life, the figure, interiors, and the landscape. The development of perceptual skills and the capability to translate visual relationships onto a two dimensional surface is central to this course. No prior painting or drawing experience is necessary. Throughout the semester we will engage in frequent discussions addressing historical and contemporary painting problems. The purpose of these discussions is to provide art historical context and concrete examples of the painting issues we confront in class. In addition to learning about the formal principles of painting, the class will provide an overview of practical tool usage and techniques. An emphasis will be placed on good studio habits, making the environment safe, clean, and productive for everyone.

ARTT 003B. Painting I: FYS
ARTT 033A. Painting II: Color and Structure

For this course, students will choose a path of study in painting with a special focus on color. The initial challenge of the course will be to identify a visually rich subject of study that each student finds compelling. As the independent projects build through dialogue with peers and new iterations, different approaches to using and thinking about color will be introduced. Students will be asked to share studio research, collected in a sketchbook/journal. This collection will evolve in meaning and direction as the projects develop. We will explore ways color can be used to create light, space, structure as well as emotional and symbolic meaning in painting. Feedback will be given in the form of individual and group critiques to address the formal, technical and conceptual properties of color usage and other elements of the work.  

ARTT 033B. Painting II: Figure Composition

This advanced level course will focus on the human figure as a means of developing a pictorial composition.  This course will begin with a single figure in the form of a portrait or figurative study.  Gradually, we will combine multiple figures into larger, more complex designs.  The class will work from models on a regular basis.  The students will also develop the skill of developing figures and gestures using drawing as a means of *building* forms from their imaginations.  Outside assignments will contribute to a larger painting executed in the studio, each completed on a two week cycle.  The final will be the most ambitious work combining outside assignments, and in class work sessions, for the last four weeks of the semester (including the reading period).  Weekly critique sessions will focus on the practical challenges associated with figure painting, but the ultimate aim will be to assist each student in realizing a personal, stylistic direction and purpose in their work.  Examples of figurative art from world history and contemporary artists will be discussed.  Each student will be expected to make a verbal presentation of an artist’s work whom they admire.  Visits to the museums in Philadelphia, and visits by artists will be featured in the class.

ARTT 034A. Painting III: Critical Studies in Studio

This advanced level course introduces a wide range of influential historical and contemporary approaches to painting. Each student will create a body of independent work developed over the course of the semester. Weekly critiques will be the primary method of feedback. Readings, film/video, and exhibition recommendations will be given on an individual basis. Students will be expected to keep a research journal to track the development of their work and thoughts about painting in general.  The class will include visits to artist’s studios and various galleries.

ARTT 034B. Painting III: Studio Materials and Methods

This advanced level course is designed to give a broad, practical introduction to various painting media and tools while simultaneously addressing the individual technical needs of each student.  An abbreviated history of painting mediums, significant changes to the processes and practices, as well as specific tools and applicable techniques will be covered. The materials and methods introduced over the semester will be decided by the class but could include: fresco, egg tempera, oil, distemper, gouache, watercolor, and acrylic. The class will be structured around lab-like demonstrations, assigned readings, critiques and visits to artist’s studios and pigment/paint producers.  

ARTT 034C. Painting III: Fresco Painting

This course offers an introduction to the materials, methods, and chemistry of buon fresco: the ancient craft of wall-painting with earth and mineral pigments onto freshly applied lime plaster. Working from recipes and instructions gleaned from artists' accounts and painting manuals, students will gain hands-on experience with every step of the fresco-painting process: we will grind earth and mineral pigments, mix and apply lime plasters, and paint with pigment suspensions using bristle brushes. Students can expect to develop both troweling and painting skills, and to discover the nuances of color and texture that can only be achieved through various combinations of natural pigments and plaster. In addition to the work of plastering and painting, the course will also encourage descriptive and instructional writing, diagrammatic drawing, and photographic documentation as tools for craft stewardship and technical knowledge-sharing. Occasional lectures will provide an historic overview of fresco painting and its uses across cultures.

Senior Capstone

The Senior Capstone is the culminating credit of your concentration in the Art major. The permanent faculty share the responsibility of mentoring you for this credit and will divide up the majors equally among themselves. It is not necessary and may not be possible to work with a faculty member from your chosen concentration. The Senior Capstone is designed to strengthen critical, theoretical and practical skills related to your studio practice. The success of your experience in a large part will be due to how you handle the level of independence. You will be responsible for structuring your studio time, maintaining a supply budget and coordinating meetings with your faculty mentor. The faculty mentor will guide and assess the development of work. You may reach out to other faculty to seek feedback during their scheduled office hours but your primary mentor will be appointed from the faculty. The Senior Capstone culminates in a curated group exhibition in the List Gallery. As was the case in the fall semester, you will have your own studio space in Whittier Hall.