Planning Paintings: Introduction to Studies and Composition

Want to move beyond student status and pursue your own vision? You can start with this class. This is not a "studio class" where you draw or paint the same thing as everyone else. You will attend demonstrations, interactive lectures and critiques, and get weekly homework assignments that build toward making your own original artworks. Research and determine your personal wishes; then plan and test the look you want by making studies, and participating in class critiques. Learn design and planning processes that predict and improve the outcome of full blown pieces. The first 6 weeks will explore the following skills: research, note taking and gaining self awareness; thumbnail sketches and notes; black and white studies; color studies; issues in composition; idea, motif, theme, effect or story. During the last six weeks, students will commit to and execute plans toward the development of full blown artworks. Although not required, students may execute some finished pieces in order to evaluate and mitigate changes in full scale.

Duration: 12 weekly 5 hour sessions See Calendar

Class Capacity: 15

Prerequisite: None

Fees: $450

Supply List

Class Outline:

  • Week 1: All day: 9 AM meet at classroom to discuss museum trip; 12 noon, trip to Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco.
    Homework: Develop goals.
  • Week 2: Disclose goals (students must disclose goals, even if only goal is to find a goal). New Topic: Key components of black & white thumbnails and studies: lecture & demos.
    Homework: begin sketch book.
  • Week 3: Discuss sketch books (show if willing). New Topic: Color thumbnails: lecture & demos.
    Homework: continue sketch book -- add color, if applicable.
  • Week 4: Discuss sketch books (show if willing). New Topic: Color studies: lecture & demos.
    Homework: continue sketch book. Create color thumbnails and studies, if applicable.
  • Week 5: Discuss sketch books and studies (show if willing). New Topic: Introduction to composition. Contrast, dominance, subordination. Areas, edges and flows.
    Homework: write an analysis of a painting or drawing using above discussed factors. Make some studies that address these factors.
  • Week 6: Discuss homework (show if willing). New Topic: Idea, motif, theme, story: attention hierarchies; keeping treatment consistent with theme. Issues include color, texture, action, overall method.
    Homework: Write an evaluation of one or two paintings you admire, using criteria discussed. Think about any modifications you want to make in your goals. Continue with sketch book, and creating studies; begin thinking about a theme to explore for final weeks.
  • Week 7: Discuss homework (show if willing). New Topic: Individual issues.
    Homework: modify original goals, if necessary; begin planning one or more artworks: state plans in writing. Make thumbnails and studies. Critiques and recommendations will be provided in weeks 8 through 12. Students will be discouraged from leaping straight into full blown artworks without developing thoughtful studies.
  • Weeks 8 thru' 12: Ongoing development of projects, based on stated plans of Week 7. Critiques and mini demos will be provided as need arises.