FA23 Color Theory and Painting: Foundations

Day/Time: 10 Thursdays starting September 21, 3:30-6:00pm

Location: E38-391 (four weeks) W20-425 (six weeks)

There is no class October 19 (tentative) or November 23 (confirmed).

Instructor: Timothy Lee

A hand painted color wheel hangs on a white wall.
SAA-2D Color Wheel. Credit: Tim Lemp

This course provides an introduction to critically examining the psychological effects and principles of how we perceive and represent color in painting. The first four weeks of the course is an intensive foundation in color theory, drawing from scientific, philosophical, and aesthetic knowledge to understand the relative properties of colors. Students will first apply these concepts through exercises and studies using a watercolor palette. Starting from week 5, we will use the skills learned in the color theory intensive to begin exploring oil painting as a vehicle for manipulating colors. This course is grounded in observational painting, but the execution of colors (and our conversations around their application) will gradually become more abstract over the course of the semester.

Note: while this class will cover foundations in oil painting, the course is not a reinterpretation of Introduction to Oil Painting that has been offered in previous semesters – emphasis will be on the critical and thoughtful application of color. It is highly recommended that students have taken Introduction to Drawing or have a strong foundation in observational drawing to benefit the most from the contents of this class.

Materials list: The course includes an additional $40 materials fee to cover the cost of most consumables that will be provided by the SAA. Students will need to independently purchase:

  • A suitable selection of brushes for oil or acrylic painting. Please see the SAA materials list for painting for more information about brushes. Note: please do NOT buy brushes for watercolor painting. Please have at least 6 brushes of different tips and sizes (don’t purchase fan brushes)
  • Large tube of Titanium White Oil Paint
  • Rags/old throwaway shirts
  • 2x canvases (approx.. 11” x 16” or 14” x 16” each) – to be purchased by week 5 (students will be reminded a week before).
  •  September 21, 2023 - December 23, 2023
     3:30 pm - 11:55 pm
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