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ART 3TS3 Touchstone:Studio Research

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Briana Palmer


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 429A

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23155

Office Hours: Tuesday 10 -12 noon

Course Objectives:

Art 3TS3 is designed to assist students in understanding research strategies that will fuel independent studio production. The course will support students in identifying their individual interests and personal strengths and help them to assemble an individual bank of resources, and work through preliminary ideas towards more resolved and complex production. Readings and reflection exercises are designed to develop the critical skills necessary to evaluate achievements and adjust and refine the research trajectory accordingly. Students will generate personal goals and fulfill them through the production of studio-based work that is shared with peers in critique sessions. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Studio Fees

The studio fee of $25.00 provides students with the basic materials necessary for this class. Materials for students such as inks for printmaking, drawing materials gesso for canvases and other mediums will be kept in a locked cupboard only accessible to 3rd years.  Please see the studio technologist for the combination.    Students must pay the SOTA office before receiving the combination to the materials. Please note the studio fees only covers the basics and is an introduction to the materials so students can sample various materials/ mediums. The school is able to purchase the supplies in bulk, which reduces the cost.  Students should be aware that these supplies do not cover all cost and materials and it is the responsibility of the student to replenish if needed.

Text Book:  The Critique hand book can be purchased in the book store, and all students should have a copy.

Method of Assessment:


A series of work(1- 3 studies) in any media that explores your interests. These should be works that allow you to develop ideas at a fairly fast pace so that you can present a range of investigations at your presentation.

Remember these are initial experiments to test out potential directions. More sustained and resolved works will grow out of these initial explorations. The more you present at this opportunity, the more feedback you can receive.

Annotated list:  Please see hand given in class September 8th -10%


October 27 Galla Style 35%

Nov 24th Group A 40%

Dec 1st   Group B 40%

Dec 8th Research Journal  10%

Mid term

A grade will be given no later than Nov 3rd

All projects can be resubmitted for final grading: Dec 9th after clean up 1pm to 4pm  in the new-space. Only hand in new work, or altered work from critique. 

Project Outline for Extensive studio investigations for October 27, Nov 24th and Dec 1st.

Students are to create a body of work throughout the term responding to feedback from their presentations Oct 27th.

For each critique students are required to present their works in a professional manner (paintings are hung level, sculptures are installed on plinths or how the artist would like the view to interact with the piece.

Students must include a written statement to accompany their critique and  must be handed into me directly following their presentation, which will be part of the research journal grade.  The following information must be included in the statement: ideas, concepts what has inspired influenced this body of work, as well as, technical skills involved. This must be done for both studio investigations. 

The second written statement for critique Nov 24 or Dec 1st should also include reference to any artist that may have been suggested to students, as well as, any other reflections that the student may have regarding the progress of their practice. 



On going research which includes the following, written statements for critiques, goal(s), critique reflections must be recorded in your log. Please date notes for each critique that you attend.  Students should actively seek/ look up artist that have been mentioned during critique session, as well as, artist that are of interest and influence to their own studio production.


A list of Visiting Artist event attends with a brief summary with  a response to each artist is art work is required.  Minimum of 6 events must be attended.  The visiting artist schedule is posted on Avenue to Learn and is on your course calendar. It is also available as a printed poster around the studios. 

It is your responsibility to come to all classes on time and prepared to participate in the activities of the day. This includes demonstrating your critical skills through participation in critique discussions.


Demonstrate knowledge of materials and techniques acquired through the duration of this course

Demonstrate independent study and creative thinking through development of ideas and materials.                                                                                                                                

Demonstrate a willingness to explore new techniques/processes and undertake challenges in order to expand personal boundaries and creative outcomes.

Demonstrate research practices both historical and contemporary, which inform the artwork(s) from various sources, such as: the museum collections, galleries, sketchbook, library, and journals.

Participation in-class discussions and critiques



Resolution/completion of project(s): the development of work(s) through explorations of materials and ideas express through drawing, plans and/or the reworking of the works in progress, full development of ideas and investigation.

Innovation/creativity: the work must exhibit an exploration of visual language through the visual imagery as well as the concepts that are expressed in the work(s).

Conceptual Knowledge:  an understanding of the imagery and why it was created. This has to be more that I just like it. Why?

Technical skill: students must demonstrate the ability to execute works that they have learned through technical demonstrations of this course

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Admissions

Projects that are not presented by the student during their scheduled critique or on the deadline day will receive one full letter grade deduction each day it is late, after one week a 0 will be given for the project, i.e. A = B, B+ = C+.  In cases where a MSAF has been submitted, late assignments will be graded but not discussed at an alternative critique session.  No assignment will be accepted beyond one week past the deadline without communication from the Dean of Humanities office. 

Extensions or Accommodations

Extensions or other accommodations will be determined by the instructor and will only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation.  Absences of less than 5 days may be reported using the McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) at If you are unable to use the MSAF, you should document the absence with your faculty office.  In all cases, it is YOUR responsibility to follow up with the instructor immediately to see if an extension or other accommodation will be granted, and what form it will take. There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Other Course Information:


Office Hours

Please make an appointment ahead of time if all possible I will be in my office Tuesday  10 to 12 pm

Working in the studio

It is mandatory for the studio arts students to have read this manual.

Studio Safety Art Manual for Students website:


The studio are for art students in the program, if you have a special project that requires someone from outside of the program to be in the studios, you must see the technologist or a professor for permission.  There is no food or drink permitted in any of the studio spaces, and steel-toed shoes must be worn in the studios at all times.  If a student is not wearing steel -toed boots they will be asked to leave, continual occurrence of no steel toes will result in loss of studio access. Do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studios with out the permission of the studio technologist or instructor.  Do not decant any materials into food containers, use a sealable container and re- label the container to reflect what is in the container.  Each year the studio has to take unlabeled containers to hazardous waste which is very costly and is direct loss of studio funding for other material or equipment. 

If a student should have an accident in any of the studio, the incident, (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the studio technologist within 24 hours.  If there is no faculty or technician is available, and immediate attention is needed please call 88 for all emergencies.  Do not hesitate to call 88 in any circumstance, please do not make medical judgments for yourself or others, let a medical professional make the decisions necessary.

Clean up after you are finished. 

Clean up of studios at year end- Wed Dec 9th at 9am

Students must participate with the cleaning of the studios; if a student cannot attend they are to see the technologist or instructor for a clean up task before hand.


McMaster University Grading scale

Grade Equivalent Grade 

Point Equivalent Percentages

A+ 12 90-100, A 11 85-89, A- 10 80-84

B+ 9 77-79, B 8 73-76, B- 7 70-72

C+ 6 67-69, C 5 63-66, C- 4 60-62

D+ 3 57-59, D 2 53-56, D- 1 50-52

F 0 0-49




A+ = 90–100; A = 85–89; A- = 80–84

Work assessed at the A level consistently exceeds expectations and exhibits the following:

Conceptual rigour

Deep critical engagement

Complex, ambitious and prolific production

Meets deadlines with time for reflection before presentation

Advanced technical proficiency and risk taking

Comprehensively researched responses linked to focused goals, personal interests and artistic vision

Independent and self-directed approaches

Highly professional presentations

Engagement with all aspects of the course (requires promptness and stellar attendance)



B+ = 77–79; B = 73–76; B- = 70–72

Work assessed at the B level consistently meets expectations and exhibits the following:

Good grasp of concepts

Evidence of developing critical skills

Meets deadlines

Technically sound, demonstrating sensitivity to materials and their connection to ideas

Evolving research skills and good understanding of personal goals and interests

Some independence, self-motivation and risk-taking evident

Satisfactory presentation

Engaged with most aspects of the course




C+ = 67–69; C = 63–66; C- = 60–62

Work assessed at the C level fails to meet some expectations and exhibits some or all the following:

Inconsistent grasp of concepts

Little evidence of critical skills

Work is regularly late or presented in an undeveloped state

Struggling with technical skills, and conservative approach to exploration and risk

Requires regular assistance to understand assignments

Unsatisfactory presentation (unprepared, late)

Minimal engagement with course (poor attendance, few contributions evident)



D+ = 57–59; D = 53–56; D- = 50–52

Work assessed at the D level consistently falls short of expectations and exhibits some or all of the following:

Significant struggle with concepts and objectives

No evidence of critical skills

Missed deadlines

Simplistic technical approach with little sensitivity to materials

Arbitrary or no research evidence

Unacceptable presentation (inappropriate or wastes the time of the group)

Unsatisfactory engagement with course


F = 0–49

Work assessed at the F level fails to meet enough of the course requirements to obtain credit. Studio Art is a hands-on learning experience. Students who miss more than 3 classes or 25% of the course risk a failing grade due to the impact of this percentage on their ability to demonstrate abilities during in-class activities.

The success of studio courses is dependent on the active engagement of all participants. Learning is accelerated in a hands-on environment where work and ideas can be discussed as they evolve and challenges and successes can be shared. Important health and safety information and safe operating procedures are communicated during class time. You must receive this information to work independently in the studio and you may not operate any equipment or use any process that you have not received safety training for. Class Discussions and Critiques empower individuals to take risks in their art practice and learn from each other. It is of utmost importance that all students participate fully by attending all classes and remaining welcoming and open to all points of view. The atmosphere of the studio should be characterized by courtesy and mutual respect. Participating in group critiques is an important part of providing constructive feedback for your peers. Active questioning and differences of opinion, respectfully expressed in a spirit of collaboration and mutual exchange, contribute to a positive and supportive group dynamic. It is your responsibility to contribute positively in this shared space and come to class prepared, on time and ready to contribute to the activities of the day. Attendance at Visiting Artist talks represents a component of this category. Evidence of participation must be in the log/sketchbook.