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Art Education Courses

Optical and Conceptual Perception in Drawing

Drawing, as a way of seeing, thinking, feeling and communicating, is necessary to all art disciplines.

The workshop is designed to develop your beginning drawing skills to perceive and draw reality as seen, and express conceptual images that originate in you imagination. Using a wide range of drawing media, you will explore how optical and conceptual perception techniques will evolve in expressing the natural, real, semi-abstract and abstract through drawings.

In addition, the study of structural elements of art (line, shape, value, texture and color), how to create the illusion of three-dimensional forms and the principles of organization will help in the creation of organic unity, developing your own personal style. The subject matter will not always be the starting point. In some instances, you will start by exploring light and shadows, spatial relationships and shape, discovering meaning as you work. Through reflection, you will be able to communicate your perceptions and concepts, as well as how they link to further studies in the disciplines of drawing, painting and sculpture.

Course Objectives

. Explore optical and conceptual perception for inspiration and imagination

. Learn to use a wide range of drawing media and techniques for creative expression

. Understand to integrate components of perception (line, positive and negative space,    relationships (perspective), light and shadow (logic of light), and formal visual elements (line, shape, (two-dimensional, three-dimensional), value, texture, color (limited), in a picture plane to create spatial illusions

. Explore, experience and learn the evolution of form manipulating the principles of organization (harmony, variety, balance, proportion, dominance, movement, economy) to produce pictorial unity

. Understand the components of art and the interrelationship of organic unity (subject, form and content), in objective drawing

. Promote creative thinking through oral and written reflections and the exchange of ideas for problem solving and decision-making

. Promote skills for self-evaluation and the evaluation of others

. Understand experimentation, perception and reflections necessary for the active participation in the creative process

Teaching Methods

1. Short-Lectures-Demonstrations: Lectures will be presented and practical demonstrations provided on the theoretical and technical aspects to be covered in the workshop.

2. Exercises: These are in and out of class warm-ups drawing.

3. Projects: These are assigned comprehensive drawings evolving from conceptual to finish products.

4. Reflections: Sections devoted to 1) the expression of diverse cultural experience of participants and how these relate to their artwork, and 2) the description of challenges related to the art making process. 

5. Audio-Visual Presentations: Power Point presentations and videos about techniques and styles 

6. Readings: Reading of assigned material


1. 18"x24" newsprint pad
2. 18"x24" all purpose drawing pad or single white bond paper
3. Sketchbook for daily inspirational studies (drawings, make notes, take notes, vocabulary,
reflections, ideas, planning preliminary studies, etc.

4. B-6B pencils
5. Pencil sharpener 
6. Charcoal pencils
7. Conte crayons of all colors
8. Markers, brushes, India ink and or black and white acrylic paint, pastels of all colors
9. Masking tape, large clips to hold paper to board or pushpins
10. Portfolio for storing and transporting drawing (design and build your own)
11. Kneaded and pink erasers.

Introduction to Painting 

Through the course you will explore and discover basic painting techniques and their applications and how these evolve through a versatile and expressive process.  You will learn how the painting process in acrylic has its own character, imitating other paints and achieving unusual and beautiful effects.  Working from still life, photographs, objects in space, the nude figure and imagination you will learn how to create the illusion of the third-dimension. 

Issues of optical and conceptual perception, structural elements of art (line, shape, value, texture and color), history of painting, composition, spatial relationships, proportion, organic unity and style will be addressed.

Through reflections you will be able to communicate new experiences and knowledge.

Course Objectives

  • 1.  Explore and develop optical and conceptual perceptions for  painting.

  •   2.  Learn about the structural elements of art (line, shape, value, texture and color). 

  • 3.  Learn about the color wheel, color mixing and grounds and paint applications to   supports. 
  • 4.  Develop working knowledge of the materials and techniques for self-expression in painting.
  • 5.  Learn how to create the illusion of the third-dimension
  • 6.  Learn how history of painting, technique and your own process of painting evolve through  self-expression and  personal style.
  • 7.  Understand the components of art and the interrelationship of organic unity (subject, form, and content).
  • 8.  Promote creative thinking through oral reflections.

Teaching Methods

  • 1.Lectures-Demonstrations: Lectures will be presented and practical demonstration will be provided on theoretical and technical aspects to be covered in the course.

  • 2. Studies: These are in class activities emphasizing varied painting techniques and working     methods. 

  • 3. Projects:  These are in and out of class paintings in process

  • 4. Reflections: Sections devoted to:

    • 1) The expression of students experiences in their process of painting,  
    • 2) Group and individualized students-instructor dialogues, and 
    • 3) the dialogues that generates curiosity and knowledge from
    • School and Museum exhibits.
  • 5.Audio -Visual Presentations:  Occasionally, slides and videos about drawing and painting
  • issues and artist's work will be presented.

  • 6. Readings:Suggested reading will be provided by the instructor.


2B pencil, pencil sharpener, newsprint drawing paper, Prismacolor Nupastel. box of 12 colors, Golden Acrylics box with 8,  2 fl. oz. 1) Titanium White, 2) Zinc White, 3) Quinacridone Magenta, 4) Naphthol Red Light, 5) Hansa Yellow Medium, 6) Phthalo Green , 7) Phthalo Blue, 8) Yellow Ochre.  Golden Gesso, Golden Regular Gel (Matte), Golden Retarder,  Bristle and Nylon brushes, canvas board or pre stretched, watercolor paper, hardboard, paint pallete 14” X 18” hardboard  suggested, masking tape, large water container, old T shirt or towell to clean and dry brushes. 

Weekly Activities

Sess 1

Getting acquainted, review of syllabus and materials, student’s prior experiences and expectations

Sess 2

Issues of optical perception based on inspiration from subject matter and conceptual perception base on the imagination.

Sess 3

Structural elements of art as applied for painting slide presentation

Sess 4

Color wheel, color mixing, value and how to create the illusion of the third-dimension

Sess 5

Introduction to blending technique in painting. Applications of ground or primer (gesso). in hardboard or canvas support.

Sess 6

Painting with blending technique

Sess 7

Painting with blending technique

Sess 8

Components of art and the interrelationship of organic unity (subject, form, and content).


Sess 9

Painting based on Cezanne’s shifting points of views painting with building up technique.

Sess 10

Introduction to brushwork technique


Sess 11

Painting with brushwork technique

Sess 12

Introduction to impasto technique video presentation

Sess 13

Painting with impasto technique

Review and final reflections for students in the Diploma Program

Sess 14

Painting with impasto technique

Sess 15

Review and final reflections

Let’s get together and celebrate our accomplishments!!!


Study Abroad Courses

Making Art in Cuba 2001 - 2002

Course Description

Experience the rich and fascinating culture of Cuba with this special, eight-day program that will allow for an exchange of ideas and experiences among art students, faculty and professional artists.  As we travel to different sites near Havana-Old Havana and the towns of Regla, Viñales and Santa Maria del Mar –we will sketch, draw, paint, take video, photograph, research and exchange ideas with Cuban artists. School of the Museum of Fine Art of Boston (SMFA) professor and Cuban native Marcos Carvajal will lead the program.

This groundbreaking course will allow students of all levels, alumni, professional artists, and faculty to travel and explore Cuban culture and art history firsthand. We will create art in a variety of media, learn and exchange ideas with living artist and do art research. Occasionally we will reflect about artwork in process through individual and group critique.

Course Objectives


To provide diverse subject matter for art making:

·      urban                     Old Havana

·      landSCAPES           Viñales Valley

·      seascapes              Santa Maria del Mar beach

To provide a multidisciplinary approach to art making through:

·      Painting

·      Drawing

·      Photography

·      Video


To facilitate the exchange among artists at various levels:

·      The individual artist exchange with Cuban artists

·      Multidisciplinary artists groups exchange at art center


To explore artistic community-based urban renovation projects:

·      Old Havana renovation workshops


To learn about general and art history in Cuba:

·      Spanish colonial art and architecture

·      Afro-Cuban art

·      Contemporary art exhibits in museums and galleries

Teaching Methods

Field Trips:

These are sessions dedicated to explore, learn, and create art using a variety of media in urban and natural environments.

Demonstration and suggestions:

Individual instructions and suggestions about art making in process in a variety of media.

Educational guided tours:

Learn firsthand from Cuban born English speaking guide about the history and the culture of Cuba

Interdisciplinary exchange:

These are sessions dedicated to learn and exchange ideas with Cuban leaving artists.


On going writing based on art research and findings.

Reflections and critique:

Sessions devoted to: 1. Exchange of ideas between professors and participants. 2. Group and self-critique of work of art in process.


Cuban Institute of Superior Art faculty members

Evaluation Methods

Presentation of art project, finished and in process work of art and journals.  Attendance is required to educational fieldtrips, and critiques. All the above will be documented for credit.


Puerto Rico: Painting in the Rain Forest - 2003

Under Construction

Art in Education Course

Integration of the Visual Arts in Early Childhood and Elementary Grades 

Course Description

This course facilitates the learning of basic visual arts techniques to be applied as tools for teaching and for the integration of the curricular contents in the elementary school. The disciplines of visual arts such as drawing, design, painting and sculpture make possible, in a creative and entertaining way, the development of psychomotor, cognitive and affective skills, which are fundamental to the learning process of children. Students will learn which of the basic techniques of visual arts are most appropriate for the topics of the curriculum of elementary school and how to integrate topics and techniques. Work will be developed both individually and in groups in order to decide the curricular topics that will be used and the collective and individual tasks necessary for the creation and design of lessons.

Experimentation, perception and reflexion will be studied as necessary processes for the active participation in the creative process. Exercises and projects will be carried out throughout the course to facilitate the learning of basic drawing, design, painting and sculpture skills.

General Objectives

  • learn principles, concepts, techniques and materials related to drawing, design, painting and sculpture and their application as teaching tools in the elementary school
  • understand experimentation, perception and reflexion as necessary for the active participation in the creative process
  • develop projects in which innovative forms in 2 and 3 dimensions will be created making non-conventional interpretations of materials and space
  • promote critical and creative thinking through oral, written reflections and art projects
  • promote the exchange of ideas in the group for problem solving and decision-making in the process of art production, developing reflexive skills that will constitute the base for    self-evaluation and the evaluation of others

Specific Objectives by Unit AND Topics and Exercises by Unit


  • Enumerate and explain the stages in the development of visual arts in children from grades K-6
  • Explain the seven intelligences theory
  • Recognize and describe the necessary attitudes for the development of the creative potential of students
  • Analyze various curricular contents in order to choose the curriculum of a particular grade and one of its subjects



Stages in the development of visual arts in children from grades K-6 Seven Intelligences Theory

Necessary attitudes for the development of the creative potential of the students

Curricular contents: Grades K-6


  • Experiment and reflect on the perception skills necessary to learn to draw
  • Experiment and apply the basic drawing techniques to create bi-dimensional and tri-dimensional drawings


Drawing and the 5 perception skills. Perspective and the way we see. Tri-dimensional drawing and bi-dimensional surfaces


“Memory of a Childhood Landscape”, “Perceiving and Drawing Forms in Space”, “perceiving and Drawing Negative and Positive Forms in Space”, “Drawing Lines for the Creation of Forms and Images”, “Perceiving and a Simple Perspective Drawing”. “Perception and Drawing of Figures in Action, and Verbs”, “Perceiving and Drawing Your Classmates and a Self-Portrait”, “Drawing a Powerful Learning Experience”,

Project. Free Drawing

Reflection: Creative process and teaching to teach integrating visual arts in the elementary school subjects


Presentation of the process-folio of exercises in U-1


  • Experiment and apply the elements and principles of design


Principles and Basic Elements of Design

Exercises: “Composition of a Selected Format”


Cut and Paste


Creative process and teaching to teach integrating visual arts in the elementary school subjects


  • Describe, explain and apply the theory of the color wheel
  • Paint on bi-dimensional and tri-dimensional surfaces


Color Theory.

Color Wheel and Combinations

Application of Colors to Tri-dimensional surfaces


“The primary, secondary, tertiary colors, black and white”


Creative process and teaching to teach integrating visual arts in the elementary school subjects


Presentation of a Project


  • Describe and explain the basic principles for the creation of objects in space
  • Experiment and apply methods for sculpture construction


Sculpture in Space


“Schematic drawings for the conceptualization of sculpting projects”


Creative process and teaching to teach integrating visual arts in the elementary school subjects

Teaching Methods

  • Lectures-Demonstrations: Lectures will be given and practical demonstrations will be done on the theoretical and technical aspects to be covered in the different units.
  • Exercises: These are creative activities designed to experience artistic creativity and apply the skills learned to specific projects.
  • Reflections: Sections devoted to expressing the diverse ideas and experiences of the students with artwork, the production process and its applications to the integration to specific topics of subjects of the elementary school curriculum
  • Audio-Visual Presentations: Occasionally audiovisual presentations will be made on elements and principles of design and on various educational models that integrate arts in education.
  • Readings: A Textbook is not required. Reading of assigned material on reserve is essential.

Evaluation Methods

This course promotes the use of Authentic Assessment to evaluate the learning process and its products. Authentic assessment allows student to demonstrate what they have learned in an environment similar to that in which they are going to apply the skills learned: the classroom. This evaluation strategy is bases on the comparison the students make of their previous knowledge to the newly acquired knowledge.

Learning will be documented through portfolios, projects and a written reflexion. 

Due to the experimental nature of the course attendance is required to all the class sessions. If the exercise sequence is interrupted, the student will be responsible for its completion. In case of a justified absence it is the students responsibility to inform the Professor in writing.

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