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Elise Goitia ’18 places her easel near the spot where she made this painting of Old Main and its iconic bell tower.
Landscape by Fletcher Summa ’18, for the assignment on switching complementary color.
Seascape by Elise Goitia ’18, based on her experience at an off-campus program in Dublin, Ireland.
View of Auxiliary Gymnasium and Old Main, by Shifa Dandia ’20
View of the Whitcomb Art Center, by Thu Nguyen '19.
"Switching complementary colors makes students focus on color. Instead of painting just the local color, they have to understand how colors are related, have to really pay attention. They’re not sure what it’s going to look like. They’re discovering, and that’s when they’re really painting. And you have to learn how to mix neutrals to make it unified, to make the painting work. You may learn something about the scene. Instead of a blue sky that makes it feel cooler, the intensity of the heat is conveyed by an orange sky. And the grass—green can be a passive color, and the reds can make it seem more alive."
"You can see how I have them hold the paintbrush. It’s not like writing, or wristwiggling, I call it. Hold the brush like a hammer or a tennis racket. When you paint with your arm, you don’t get caught up in the details. You make big shapes of color, moving through the space."
"I have the students use Color-aid. You find colors similar to the colors you’re thinking of changing. Then, when you make the change, you’re very clear. When you’re not clear, the painting reveals it. It looks wobbly, unconvincing. Matisse worked that way. He’d put a piece of colored paper on the painting, to figure out the exact color he wanted."
"Olivia [TA for the class] is very astute, very articulate, very good at helping students activate different parts of the painting in different ways so that it holds our attention and has the richness of nature. She’s painted landscape, completed an independent study with me about landscape into abstraction, and last year, she worked for a term with an alumna, Megan Williamson ’82, who also works in the landscape."
A view of Old Main from the “art bowl” outside the Ford Center for the Fine Arts, by Sachika Goel '20.
A field near the rural Galesburg home of Stephen Fineberg, professor emeritus of classics, and Brenda Fineberg, professor of classics, by Caroline Hickey ’18 "We hadn’t gone out and painted a really big space. When we went to the Finebergs’, it took the students to a big space with a deep horizon."
The boat dock on Lake Sharvy at Green Oaks, by Meghan Mohn ’18. "There’s an urgency to painting the landscape today. We are witnessing catastrophic shifts in nature, which are part of climate change. The eco-diversity we see in our environment is disappearing."
"By the time we get to the final critique at the end of the term, we celebrate how the artists improved, how they grew during the term. Up until then, the in-class critiques can be intense. I want them to start with the positive, then something critical. The painting might be brilliant, but where do they go next?"
"There’s an urgency to painting the landscape today. We are witnessing catastrophic shifts in nature, which are part of climate change. The eco-diversity we see in our environment is disappearing... I feel strongly about teaching visual issues, but I also ask them: what does this place feel like? What’s the narrative? Where does the artist place you? Would you want to be there?"