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About ARTS 121 A

Exploration of the formal and conceptual practices of painting. Introduction of historical genres and issues in painting such as still life, figuration, and abstraction. Prerequisites: ARTS 001.


Prereqs enforced by the system: ARTS 001; Lab fee: $310; Open to Degree and PACE students; SART, AHST, ARTE majors and SART, AHST and ARTS minors only; Restrictions to be lifted the Monday following Registration

Section Description

How does one build imaginative, communicative, expressive, painted equivalents from direct observation? How does one paint not just what they see but how they see? What factors shape the way we look at the world, and how can we use this information to make meaningful work? Painting: Observation and Image looks very closely at these questions through the physical and formal practice of painting. We will be working in acrylic, learning how to apply the medium’s unique physical properties to build an image through layering, revision, color concepts, and various approaches to observing the world around us. It’s all about connecting the painting basics to work that communicates, visually and conceptually.

Section Expectation

Work and pace: you can expect 8 work hours outside of class each week, and we meet for 4 hours in class, for a total of 12 work hours. Assignments: There are typically 3 major projects, each made of numerous paitnings. We make about 20 paintings in the course, from faster, smaller paintings, to more time consuming paintings at a larger scale. Critiques and discussion: A major part of the expected work in the class, there are assignments specific to how we will practice the critique of each others' work.


GRADING Final Grades are determined as follows: PAINTINGS: 60% PARTICIPATION: 30% SELF REFLECTION: 10% PAINTINGS: 60% Each project will have stated learning objectives, and the works are evaluated on the degree to which those objectives were practiced in the paintings. When submitting work, you’ll want to ask yourself: did I focus exclusively on the skill and concept under study? Do my paintings demonstrate my practice with that idea and approach? Did I give myself enough time working to develop that skill through iterations and variations? Did I work outside of my comfort zone and try something new? PARTICIPATION: 30% Participation grades are determined by attendance, on-time submissions of work, portfolios, self-reflections, and your critical commentary in class discussions. It’s about respecting the process, your work, your peers, and yourself in the class. When participating you’ll want to ask yourself: Did I show up ready to work? Did I finish the work and submit it on time? Did I give substantive feedback to my peers in the class discussion? Did my comments go beyond taste and offer something constructive and useful? (I’ll discuss critical feedback in more detail in assignments.) Did I take care in photographing and presenting my work for class posts and my portfolio? SELF REFLECTION: 10% Your mid-term and final portfolios require submission of a written self-reflection about your work and practice habits. Our practice of self-reflection is all about identifying areas for growth, learning from mistakes, asking for specific and applicable help, changing habits, and developing a practice centered on deliberately improving your work.

Course Dates



Williams Hall 213 (View Campus Map)


to on Monday and Wednesday

Important Dates

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