Painting and Drawing
The area of painting in the Department of Fine Arts maintains two studio labs and a wood shop. The wood shop is equipped with standard machinery, including a belt sander, panel saw, table saw, and compound miter saw, with various power and hand tools, for the construction of a variety of substrates. Ventilation is assisted by one large fan in the area, which is enclosed by walls within one of the labs. Painting instructors and graduate assistants maintain the tools and the space, and students are given one-on-one instruction in tool use, health, and safety.
Each painting lab can comfortably accommodate approximately 15-20 students. Easels, tables, and chairs are provided to the students for use during the semester, and wall space is available for students in Senior Project for somewhat individualized working areas. The open floor plan of the labs encourages peer-to-peer feedback and conversation, both in and out of class time. One lab serves students in the intro-level class, and the other is reserved for students in advanced levels.
We teach a variety of media, starting with either acrylic or solvent-free oil painting practices at the intro level. We offer a particular course in watercolor painting. At the advanced levels, students may work in their choice of medium: watercolor, acrylic, solvent free oil, encaustic, casein, and collage can all be taught and honed on a one-to-one basis. Sprayed paints cannot be used in the studios. All students are instructed in the construction of traditional painting substrates, and have the opportunity to work on canvas, panel, or paper. Students with particular interests in other surfaces can be assisted one-to-one.
At the intro level, students learn traditional techniques such as painting alla prima, working indirectly from grisaille and glazing, and modern applications of paint. Students work with a variety of brush types to learn kinds of mark making and the correct tools for certain gestures. In addition, we teach traditional subjects, such as portraiture, landscape, and still life. The focus of the intro class is to offer instruction in practiced standards, providing a launching pad for invention in the advanced classes.
Topics for advanced courses have included solvent-free oil painting, painting the figure, working in a series, working with other media in combination with painting, and expressing mood and memory. Large-scale painting techniques (e.g. mural painting) are also covered. Advanced painting is mostly student-driven, independent work under the guidance of an instructor. Advanced students are prepped for their capstone course with practice in writing proposals and artist statements.