Drawing & Painting

Craft is Personally and Culturally Relevant.
When we create art, we generate a physical, personal and social narrative that embodies who we are as people in culture. The drawing/painting curriculum focuses on technical and conceptual processes that verse students in a wide range of approaches—realism, representation and abstraction.

By expanding on the skills learned in tandem with Drawing Foundations, the first year combines technical accomplishment with personal concepts. Material investigations, color perception, and drawing are practiced with dry media, acrylic and oil paints. Second and third year coursework in life drawing and painting emphasizes structural and color composition. Advanced courses expand technical skills, conceptual expression and individual voice on canvas, paper, wood panel and other non-traditional surfaces.

Students are exposed to a range of historical and contemporary approaches to drawing and painting through slide lectures, gallery and studio visits. As a two-dimensional program, within a college of primarily three-dimensional media, students are encouraged to integrate elective craft and materials into their drawing and painting practice.

Graduates in drawing/painting possess exquisite technical ability combined with the capacity to critically evaluate their work while expressing themselves individually. They graduate from OCAC with the aptitude to successfully create an independent studio or exhibition practice, attend graduate programs or complete commission work.

Studio Space in Drawing/Painting
Facilities: Drawing/Painting and Design classrooms, which are large, open rooms with natural light available to residents when not in use for classes or workshops; variety of easels and tables; department tool bench (hand and power tools); human skeleton; and large supply of still life props.

Course Descriptions
DR106  Introduction to Painting
| 3 semester credits
An introduction to studio practices for painting, the class covers instruction in the safe use of oil and acrylic paint; including the choice, construction and preparation of supports, and appropriate grounds and mediums for both types of paint. Setting up a palette, instruction in color theory as it applies to color mixing will also be covered. Initially, students have the opportunity to gain technical experience with the medium through a variety of observational approaches to imagery; with the objective of achieving basic skills in rendering with paint. Progressing from fundamentals to experiments with expressive and abstract imagery and the use of three dimensional or alternative supports, students will break into all aspects of a foundational painting practice. Non-toxic studio procedure with oils and solvents will be taught. Offered every year. Prerequisite:  FDS 103, FDR 101 or consent of instructor.

DR113  Drawing: Color and Process | 3 semester credits
To develop the students’ drawing practices, drawing is explored as a process that is both conventional and idiosyncratic. The practicalities of understanding and using color with dry drawing media are presented.  Drawing from direct observation using limited palettes this class is intended to strengthen the students’ perceptual muscles while helping them manage the complexities of color. Focus on process and mark making along with time-based assignments, both short and long, are intended to help students expand their definition of observation by selecting elements of the observed and the imagined world to use in their drawings. The course ends with two assignments that allow ample exploration of personal symbols, color palettes and processes. Students are evaluated on developing observational skills in conjunction with innovation of technique and ideas and will be expected to work with a wide range of representation from abstraction to careful depiction, and with the notion of drawing as a non-precious activity as well as a unique and finished end product. Offered every fall semester. Prerequisite: FDR 101 and FDS 103, concurrently with these classes or equivalent.

DR202  Beginning Life Drawing | 3 semester credits
Students have the opportunity to become familiar with the basic approaches to drawing the human figure as they develop their observational skills and discover the expressive potential of drawing from a live model each week. Offered once a year. Prerequisite: FDR 101 and FDS 103 or consent of instructor.

DR205  Painting Studio | 3 semester credits
Intended to build on the foundational experience of the 100-level painting course, a range of approaches to the paint medium, painting technique and to imagery will be covered with continued practice in all aspects of painting. Students will be expected to develop skill with observational styles as well as experiment with abstract approaches.  Color management, composition, sensitivity to surface, scale and appropriate choices with supports and grounds will be emphasized. Students will have the opportunity to gain knowledge about the conceptual issues implicit in a contemporary painting practice such as development of subject matter and source material, understanding the complex relationship between photography and painting and translating ideas into imagery. The first weeks will be focused on handling materials, the use of color, and building surfaces through the translation of other imagery such as photography and painting. Subsequent weeks will be spent working observationally to develop color and surface while introducing issues of space and representation. Both historical and contemporary approaches to observation and the picture plane will be addressed. A final project consisting of a small body of paintings will be required. Offered once a year. Prerequisite: DR (100 level) Introduction Painting, or by consent.

DR300  Advanced Topics in Drawing and Painting | 3 semester credits
Focusing on further developing drawing and painting skills, students have the opportunity to draw, paint or may elect to work with mixed media working independently on long term projects from a particular set of topics. Idea generation and contemporary responses to the practice of painting/drawing and collage will be explored through the development of content and source material in specific brainstorming exercises culminating in a set of visual and written proposals to be critiqued. Based on their proposals, students will then embark on two independent projects, each lasting approximately five weeks. There will be an interim two-week period for critique and revision. In consultation with the instructor, students will be required to determine scope, scale, subject, content, supports and materials to be used in each project. The projects may or may not be related in subject, content or materials. Students will be encouraged to develop a personally expressive approach to the media they choose. Field trips will be included. Offered spring semester.  Prerequisite: Foundations, 100 and 200 DR courses, or by consent.

DR303  Advanced Life Drawing | 3 semester credits
Students have the prospect of taking prior observational drawing experience with the human figure to a new level, experimenting with color and scale while using a variety of media (their choice of charcoal, pastel, ink and mixed media).  Elements of line, shape and value are reinforced with a greater emphasis on composition and viewing the model within an environment. Students will be encouraged to create finished works and develop a “figurative visual voice.” Offered fall semester. Prerequisite: Drawing and Design Foundations and at least one semester of Life Drawing or by consent.

DR490/491 Drawing Tutorial | 3 semester credits
Designed for post-baccalaureate students, the tutorial provides an opportunity for a student to work directly with a faculty mentor to gain knowledge and insight not available in regularly scheduled classes. Together they design a curriculum that includes a number of individual projects based on skill level, which helps direct the student toward his/her goals. As individual problems arise, the student develops solutions in conjunction with the mentor, providing an intense learning situation for the student. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.

Learn more about the College's programs of study:

Undergraduate programs

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Craft

The Certificate in Craft

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Craft (requires a bachelor's degree)

Graduate programs

Master of Fine Arts in Craft

Collaborative Masters of Fine Arts in Applied Craft + Design




Calendar Events

April 4, 2014 to April 27, 2014
New Space Center for Photography | 1632 SE 10th Avenue
Opening Reception | Friday, April 4 | 6-9pm

April 23, 2014 to April 27, 2014
Opening Reception April 23rd | 4-6pm

April 23, 2014


MFA Chair Karl Burkheimer interviews Alumni Josh Smith in Drain Magazine

OCAC Students Selected as Finalists for 2014 NICHE Awards

OCAC Alumna Hilary Pfeifer Featured in American Craft Magazine

Noted contemporary artists Dana Schutz & Ryan Johnson Visit OCAC

Michael Lammers Joins Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland, Oregon as Chief Financial Officer