Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
ART 277B
Course Title:
Life Painting
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Examines the human form through the study and painting of live professional models. Applies various painting techniques and concepts as students learn the structure, form and proportions of the human figure. Emphasizes personal artistic development with attention to compositional organization. Prerequisites: One term of ART 277 or ART 277A or instructor permission. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

The course includes demonstrations, slides, lectures, videos/films and field trips. The course utilizes professional nude models as the basis for student assignments.

  • A minimum of 3 hours of homework per week in the form of private exploration of the concepts and processes introduced in class will be required.
  • This is the second of a sequence of three courses
  • College level reading comprehension is necessary.
  • Art 277A fulfills Arts and Letters requirements for Gen. Ed., block transfer and PCC graduation

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Solve more complex problems creatively using a variety of acquired strategies for expressing visual ideas through the figure painting medium.
  2. Create personal works of art, which demonstrate an expanded understanding of the figure painting discipline, and the processes, materials, and techniques associated it.
  3. Ask meaningful questions, identify topical issues, and employ an intermediate level art vocabulary in critical dialogue about the figure painting discipline.
  4. Understand and appreciate figure painting from different cultures, facilitating a life-long engagement with the diversity of perspectives of the human experience.
  5. Enjoy a growing awareness of the physical world, the nature of the relationship of human beings to it, and our impact on it via the experience of figure painting.
  6. Employ self-critiquing skills en route to autonomous expression through figure painting with respect to the standards established in contemporary and historical works of art.

Course Activities and Design

  • The course may include demonstrations, slides, lectures, video/films and field trips.
  • Build upon current skill set with the intent of working towards technical and
    conceptual proficiency.
  1. Create life paintings that incorporate a variety of technical skills with an awareness of the inherent characteristics of different life painting processes.
  2. Begin to generate ideas/concepts with an awareness of the intended content of the work produced,.
  3. Build upon current skill set with the intent of working towards technical proficiency.
  4. Develop safe studio practices in regards to the handling of tools, chemicals and machinery within a communal studio space.
  5. Further expand and utilize the necessary vocabulary specific to life painting when participating in class critiques and discussions.
  6. Begin to assess and self-critique personal work to strategize creative solutions.
  7. Begin to develop personal work with an awareness of historical and contemporary artists working in life painting.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Students will:

  • Bring all human senses to the experience of Life Painting. Examine aspects of the conceptual process; experiencing, visualizing, symbolizing, playing, imagining, etc.
  • Discover new processes by which the artist sees nature, conceives ideas and executes a painting.
  • Observe additional ways to process visual experience through a painting; gesture, massing, expression, etc.
  • Participate in the review of class painting through application of vocabulary and aesthetic processes.
  • Experience the connection between sight and the other senses used to understand the figure as subject matter.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Increase skill with acrylic and/or oil paint for translation of ideas.

  • Become more familiar with composition in the picture plane.
  • Understand sense of three-dimensional illusion through perspective, modeling in light, etc.
  • Experience various painting surfaces: stretched canvas (prepared in class), masonite, paper, etc.
  • Explore compositional devices: active/passive, symmetry/asymmetry, rhythm, etc.
  • Observe interaction between figure and ground.
  • Develop an individual way of understanding and painting the figure.
  • Define the differences between illustration, representation, expression and their effects.
  • Explore various historical approaches to figure painting and their reflection of the human record.