I’m now working as an adjunct professor for Montgomery College (MC) in Maryland. Actually, I’ve already taught two semesters for MC, both Watercolor Techniques I, last Summer and Fall. I’ll repeat that class for MC starting in March at the Holiday Park Senior Center in Wheaton MD. For more information on this see http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/brochures/lifelonglearning.pdf
The other two classes are brand new, offered at the Takoma Park campus of MC, and I’m very excited about them. One of them is a studio class called “Drawing the Portrait” starting March 16th, weekly Thursday evenings, running ten sessions, from 7-9:30pm. The second class is a lecture class called “Art Appreciation and Analysis” starting March 14th, weekly Tuesday evenings, running eight sessions, from 7-9pm. The following are the course descriptions:
Drawing the Portrait – Course Description:
Doing a portrait as art requires a combination of (1) knowledge of facial anatomy and proportions, (2) skill in the use of a specific media, (3) an appreciation of the personality and psychology of the subject, and (4) an understanding of the organizing principles of art composition. A portrait is not simply a random rendering or snap-shot image of a person. This course will explore and challenge the students to understand all four of these components by researching, preparing for, and doing at least one finished major portrait of a person. The course will include an explanation of the anatomy and proportions of the face with practice doing preparatory sketches of faces. The course will encourage the students to explore a variety of media in this preparation, but will allow the student to select the final 2D media used for the final portrait. As preparation for their final portrait, the students will examine a variety of portrait examples to see how other artists conveyed the personalities of their subjects. And finally, the course will present general art composition principles and their application in improving the quality of any artwork, including portraits.
Drawing the Portrait – Course Topics:
The following is a list of course projects and lecture/discussion topics that will be included in the course:
- Project: Do a detailed 3D shaded drawing of a skull.
- Project: Do shaded sketches of a face with appropriately shaped facial components (e.g. eye, nose), correct 3D shading, and accurate facial proportions in three different views (e.g. frontal. ¾-view, profile, from below, etc.).
- Project: Do a painting portrait of someone from a photograph, but scaled four or more times larger using a grid.
- Project: Do a detailed drawing of an important or famous person using a tracing or projection of a photograph, combined with a different but applicable background.
- Project: Do a self portrait.
- Project: Do an abstract portrait using mixed media with a defined center of attention and controlled visual movement illustrated on the back.
- Topic: the anatomy and proportions of the face
- Topic: different 2D media that can be used for a portrait
- Topic: portraits done by master artists and the manifestation of the subject’s character
- Topic: the Elements of Art, the organizing Principles of Composition, and how they are applied to portrait art.
Drawing the Portrait – Course Objectives:
At the end of the course, students will be able to…
- Do a drawing of a face with correctly drawn facial components and proportions
- Do a drawing or painting of a face that looks like them
- Used a variety of artistic media for portraits
- Applied their understanding of the Elements of Art and the Principles of Composition to organize their own artwork
- Do at least one finished, substantive, and major-effort portrait of a person
Drawing the Portrait – Materials:
At a minimum, the students will need pencil drawing supplies, as follows:
- Tablet of drawing paper; heavy weight (e.g. 75 lb) paper, size at least 9” x 12”, tablet, with 30 or more sheets
- Pencils, two or three No. 2 pencils (yellow, e.g. Ticonderoga w/ eraser) and the same number of soft lead pencils (3B-6B)
- Two Erasers, one pink or white and one kneaded
I addition, the course will encourage experimental use of other 2D media appropriate for portraits. These other 2D media will be the students’ own choice and may include, for example, charcoal, graphite, colored pencils, ink, collage, markers, watercolors, acrylic paint, larger drawing or painting surfaces like paper or canvas or boards. So, there are no other minimum required media, but other media will likely be needed by the students. And, the final portrait must involve a substantive and major-effort use of whatever media is selected by the student.
Art Appreciation & Analysis – Course Description:
Appreciation of art is to some extent subjective, but personal preference, without the benefit of experience and knowledge, cannot legitimately pose as criticism of art. Like any other field, one can better understand and appreciate art by learning more about how art demands and sustains our attention. This course will explain fundamental components of art and principles on how they are used to control our attention and enhance quality. These components include the Elements of Art and other factors that artists use according to objective Principles of Composition. Understanding these elements and principles leads to a greater appreciation of art, whether it was done by the great masters or just a beginner. Learning these objective principles will also help any artist better control and improve their own artwork.
This is a basic course for anyone interested in improving their appreciation and basic understanding of art. It is not a studio class. It will present images of artwork and include lecture, handouts, and class discussion.
Art Appreciation & Analysis – Course Objectives:
Upon completion of the course, the students should be able to:
- Understand what an artist does to sustain our attention, organize, and enhance the quality of their artwork
- Learn the six Elements of Art, three other Laws of Attention, preliminary Factors of Form Organization, and the Principles of Composition.
- Appreciate how styles of art have changed over time but how the fundamentals of composition have been relatively constant
Both of the MC Takoma Park classes are in the MC Spring 2012 course catalog which can be found at http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/WDCE_Spring2012_Catalogue/flipviewerxpress.html