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Degree Courses - Painting

FA220: Painting I
Painting I will introduce students to the materials, techniques and formal visual principles of oil painting. Students will work through a range of pictorial concepts and technical approaches while developing strong observational painting skills, a facility with the medium, and the ability to converse and think critically about it. Color, composition, and the translation through the painting process of three- dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface will be major areas of focus throughout the semester. Required readings, demonstrations, slide lectures, out of class work, and both group and individual critiques support studio assignments and instruction.

Paint is a medium rich in history that has gone through numerous incarnations. From the representational virtuosity of old master painters like Rembrandt, to the kinetic energy and tactile surface of abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock, paint has been explored aesthetically, conceptually and technically.

In many ways, paint can be best understood in a dualistic manner. It can at once be ugly and beautiful, airy and dense, simple and complex, image and material. For the artist, painting can seem in turns both easy and frustrating. Through its various identities, at its core, painting is an activity that requires building a physical surface of pigment and medium. No matter the style of painting: abstract, representational or anything in-between, it is essential to understand the fundamental aspects of how to construct a painting technically and visually. This requires understanding the materials used in painting, as well as formal concepts such as light, value, surface, composition and color. Success in painting is not simply duplicating what we see, but using what we see as a starting point for creating a picture that may transcend conventions, convey specific thoughts and emotions, or open up a dialogue. The best painters are able to immerse themselves in the process and obtain unexpected results through continued experimentation and everyday practice.

This class will require students to be engaged in the process of creation, construction and experimentation. You will only learn to paint and have the best chance for success if you come to class with an open mind, ready to work and willing to engage. We will begin the semester focusing on the basics of color mixing and palette maintenance and, while working directly from observation from the still life, landscape, and figure, gradually open up to a more individualized investigation of painting’s different characteristics and possibilities.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): F113/F115


FA221: Painting II
Painting II will build on the materials, techniques and formal visual principles of oil painting that were presented in Painting I. Students will work through a range of pictorial concepts and technical approaches while developing strong observational painting skills, a facility with the medium, and the ability to converse and think critically about it. Color, composition, and the translation through the painting process of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface will be major areas of focus throughout the semester. Required readings, demonstrations, slide lectures by both the instructor and each of the students, out of class work, and both group and individual critiques support studio assignments and instruction.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA281


FA224: Water Media I
Water Media I will provide an introduction to the materials, techniques and practice of transparent watercolor and acrylic painting. Working primarily from observation, students are introduced to formal visual principles emphasizing the language of color, composition and the articulation of space. Demonstrations, lectures and critiques will be supported by in-class painting, out-of-class assignments and a further investigation into historical and contemporary watercolor painting.

Watercolor is a fresh, lively, and luminescent medium; it is also challenging and unpredictable. Experimentation and spontaneity are crucial elements in practicing watercolor. Step out of your comfort zone and learn to embrace unexpected results. There is a very subtle balance of learning how to control the medium, yet at the same time allowing the process to take over. Lectures and demonstrations are designed to present important technical information along with an introduction into historical and contemporary examples of the use of watercolor. We will explore the versatility of watercolor in this course all the while focusing our attention towards the articulation of formal principles such as space, light, color, texture and composition through observational painting.

Watercolor has a rich history; a history which you will begin to engage with in this course through lectures, personal research in your sketchbook and assigned Watercolor Painting Studies/Analyses that you will complete over the semester. Although some may view these studies as tedious, I hope you will see these studies as an excellent opportunity for you to become familiar with the broad range of applications of watercolor throughout history and into contemporary painting. It is also a wonderful opportunity to get a better understanding of your own tastes/likes/dislikes in painting. This exercise and analysis of watercolor paintings will force you to slow down, look closely and observe thoughtfully. These exercises will help you decipher what elements come together to make a dynamic and successful painting. It is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to interpret a painting. Remember to enjoy the process of looking and along the way you will be reminded of how you personally see things and what is important to you. In addition to drawing the particular watercolor that you will be studying, you will also be duplicating (using watercolor) a specific part of the painting (whichever part you find most interesting). Maybe it is a particular color or wash or texture that you want to figure out how to replicate. Translate any of this information you learn from these studies into your own work. On completion of each study it is likely you will know that particular painting forever because (instead of just being told by someone else)- you actually took the time to figure out what the painting means to you. Own this information and bring it into your own work when you see fit.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): F113/F115


FA225: Water Media II
Water Media II will provide techniques and practice in gouache, watercolor, fluid acrylic painting, and mixed media. We will be exploring working from life in traditional and nontraditional ways through direct observation as well as developing a direct experiential practice that taps all the senses. We will be working with abstraction, expressive color/forms, painting into space, mixed media and experimenting with unique methods and materials. Students will reexamine and practice formal visual principles emphasizing the language of color, composition and the articulation of space. Demonstrations, lectures and critiques will be supported by in-class painting, out-of-class assignments and a further investigation into historical and contemporary works on paper.

In addition to in-class and out-of-class painting, students will be assigned artist presentations and personalized research throughout the semester. We will periodically discuss readings and research together as a class. Experimentation and spontaneity are crucial elements in practicing watercolor, fluid acrylics and gouache. Step out of your comfort zone and learn to embrace unexpected results. There is a very subtle balance of learning how to control the medium, yet at the same time allowing the process to take over. Lectures and demonstrations are designed to present important technical information along with an introduction into historical and contemporary examples of the use of watercolor, gouache, acrylic and mixed media. We will explore the versatility of water-based media in this course all the while focusing our attention towards the articulation of formal principles such as space, light, color, texture and composition through traditional and nontraditional painting.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA281


FA320: Painting III
Painting III continues the investigation of painting’s possibilities for expression and communication through a manifold examination of subject, technique and structure. Course assignments provide for individual interpretation and experimentation as students increase their intentionality and self- awareness as artists. Readings and written assignments further perceptual standards and modes of critical thinking. Students examine art-making philosophies through individual and group critiques, slide lectures, field trips and invited guests.

Using the formal skills learned in earlier painting classes as a starting point, this course will continue to focus on the unique processes and characteristics of the medium, while asking the student to look critically at both. The student’s individual practice, the development of a personal voice and emerging sensibility as an artist, are key concerns. The class will reference a broad discourse of both historical and contemporary painting, as we see and discuss how painters have perceived and approached their work in the past. We will also explore current trends in painting as we look to understand the concerns and critical issues of painters working today.

Becoming a better artist means finding better strategies to communicate with your audience. To that end, the relationship of process, technique, and subject to the work’s conceptual goals will be explored. We will examine ways of seeing and thinking about painting, not only inside the parameters of the work, but with an expanded focus that includes the context of the audience and the exhibition space. We will begin to look at painting’s relationship to other modes of cultural production including photography and cinema. Additionally, this course features an inquiry into content that is non-specific to “painting,” and the expanded possibility of working in mediums beyond oil and acrylic.

The process of painting has an unpredictable and alchemical nature. It has the ability to elicit surprising psychological and emotional responses from the viewer, and even the most accomplished painters produce work with unexpected results. The ability to “fail” productively or “learn from one’s mistakes” is more difficult and humbling than it sounds, but it is crucial. Success in this course will largely depend on your work ethic and willingness to experiment as you continually move forward both conceptually and technically. It’s important that you make lots of work to explore every possibility and elevate your practice to the next level.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA221


FA321: Painting IV
Painting IV fosters the growth and development of a personally evolved pictorial philosophy and studio practice. With instructor consultation, students are required to propose a self-defined course of study. Concept and content are examined as requisite technical and theoretical components. Readings and written assignments further perceptual standards and modes of critical thinking. Students examine art-making philosophies through individual and group critiques, slide lectures, field trips and invited guests.

The focus of Painting IV is a continued involvement with the painting process and the unique characteristics of the medium, while increasing the student’s self-awareness and criticality. The student’s individual painting practice, as well as the development of a personal voice and emerging sensibility as an artist, is a key concern. The class will reference a broad discourse of both historical and contemporary painting, as we learn how painters have perceived and approached their work in the past. We will also explore current trends in painting as we look to understand the concerns and critical issues of painters working today.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA320


FA322: Figure Painting
The human figure is introduced in both theory and practice in Figure Painting. Working from direct observation, media, media application and technique options are explored and developed. Critiques, lectures and demonstrations augment studio instruction.

The course will begin with a practical emphasis on working observationally. This will develop in complexity as the course progresses. Each project builds a practical and conceptual platform for the next. The course will culminate in a particular focus on the contemporary practice of figure painting. The discussion centers on form (mainly the human form) and expressive content (psychological and cultural) consistently throughout the projects; regarding practical methods as well as moving beyond them.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA221


FA420: Painting V
In this Senior Painting V course students continue to develop technical and philosophical skills within their work that demonstrate a high level of competence. Again, a proposal is required, as is an individual midterm and final critique. A focus on studies and personal research will be explored. Readings, seminar topics, field trips to museums/galleries, and an introduction to professional and post baccalaureate educational opportunities will aim to expand awareness and further individual goals.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA321


FA421: Painting VI
In this Senior Painting VI course students work on self-defined projects and are expected to continue to develop a command of both technical and conceptual skills within their studio practice. Students are required to demonstrate motivation and a high level of competence within an appropriate personal aesthetic and vision. Readings, self-defined research, field trips to museums/galleries, and a continued examination into professional and post baccalaureate educational opportunities will aim to expand awareness and further individual goals. Career opportunities are discussed and examined in preparation for increased independence.

In addition to maintaining a rigorous studio practice including self-directed research, a crucial component of this course is an active participation in group and individual critiques as well as roundtable discussions. Students will have the opportunity to meet with Visiting Artists/Critics throughout the semester. There will be a mandatory combined Midterm Critique and a Final Critique. We will also hold two combined Junior/Senior Painting Critiques during the semester. Another important component of this course is bi-monthly art periodical roundtable discussions. Students will be assigned an art periodical and will be responsible to read and share your findings with the class. The purpose of this ongoing investigation into art periodicals is to become more familiar with the global contemporary art world and to become active participants by sharing and discussing our observations and thoughts gleaned from our sources.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA420


FA426: Painting Thesis
Thesis painting provides for the resolution of technical and philosophical skills essential to success as a professional, or as a basis for continued post baccalaureate study. Each student is required to demonstrate appropriate competence within an individually described program of study. This program will evidence artistic, cultural and scholastic competence culminating in next semester’s required thesis exhibition.

Painting has a unique expressive power and cultural lineage but also a reputation for being stodgy, backwards looking and conservative. To spend time producing images for a culture awash in them, the artist requires a light touch, a nimble and flexible approach, sensitivity, and an awareness of themselves and their surroundings. The contemporary painter must never close him or herself off, but rather be in constant conversation. With this in mind, we will examine how the artist must be involved in several conversations simultaneously and always thinking in “networks” rather than linearly.

A main topic for this course is “The Interview”. This semester we will be reading many artist interviews and conducting several of our own. The final interview assignment will be for you to do an interview with one of your favorite professional artists. We will focus on the interview for several reasons: to actively engage with multiple views of the art world; to close the gap, in a straight forward way, between internal and external dialogue; to become better writers and / or speakers; to learn to challenge ourselves and not be afraid to challenge others; to be introduced to our “persona”; to gain a functional and conversational knowledge of challenging art concepts; and to seek out, through continued practice, the language that best suits our aspirations. As the semester ends, we will use the connections formed to the concepts and language of our interviews in our artist statements. Ultimately, our writing projects, readings, field trips, and critiques will lead us to a comprehensive discussion about the role of the painter in contemporary culture and the diversity of models within that identity.

Thesis Painting requires production linked with analytical thinking. All of our written projects must be seen through the lens of a rich and prolific studio practice. The interviews you participate in, and the artist's statement you write, will evidence the nature and depth of your analytical thought relative to the work you produce, the research you conduct, and your evolving philosophy. Focused dialogue with faculty, visiting artists and fellow students in the form of weekly group and individual critiques will also play a critical part in the content of the course.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): Senior Standing in Painting


FA427: Painting Thesis
Thesis painting provides for the resolution of technical and philosophical skills essential to success as a professional, or as a basis for continued post baccalaureate study. Each student is required to demonstrate appropriate competence within an individually described program of study (the required proposal for Painting V, VI may be used). This program, (the proposal and the paintings) will evidence competence: artistic, cultural and scholastic; culminating in a required thesis exhibition. As part of the thesis exhibition, each student will present an artist statement.

Credits: 3.0
Prerequisite(s): FA426


FA491: Senior Fine Arts Seminar
The Senior Fine Arts Seminar is a forum for addressing and engaging post MIAD possibilities and issues including graduate school, community opportunities, business concerns, and other matters important to Fine Arts students who are about to graduate. It is also a forum for students to discuss and determine Senior Show preparations. Application of learned principles and skills via hands-on experiences allow students to take the first steps toward a professional practice as a fine artist upon graduation. Field trips, guest speakers, and visiting artists will impart significant perspectives on the art world beyond the classroom.

Credits: 1.5
Prerequisite(s): FA490



Download the 2013-14 Program of Study Catalog, with every Major and all course descriptions.

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