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ART 2PG3 Contemp Appr To Painting

Academic Year: Fall 2016

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. John Ford


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 429A

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23931

Office Hours: Tuesday, 5:20-6:20, or by appointment (please arrange appointment)

Course Objectives:

This is a 2nd level course that deals with issues in Contemporary painting.  Students will be introduced to a range of artists and artworks, and will be asked to create their own work.  Using traditional and non-traditional methods in combination with other self-determined media, students should develop a portfolio of works demonstrating technical skills and strong aesthetic qualities.

Emphasis will be placed on:

  • Learning the various techniques introduced 
  • Developing sensitivity to the physicality of the process, its subtleties and possibilities 
  • Aesthetic and conceptual development of the work 
  • Defining a personal direction within the genre
  • Demonstrate an ability and passion for working independently outside of class time

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

As such, there are no required textbooks, though students are expected to develop their own index of print and online resources, to be recorded in a notebook or final document (can be digital).  Materials for executing projects will be guided by the nature of project proposal, and are the responsibility of the students.

A studio/lab fee of $75.00 must be paid to Sharon in the SOTA office, the majority of which will be devoted to the materials that are procured in volume to save money, and/or are materials that are inaccessible to students.

Method of Assessment:

Student assessment will be as follows:

4 Projects, worth 20% each:

  • Project 1 (20%)  Hand-made collages/Colour-matched paintings  Due in class: September 27th
  • Project 2 (20%)  Large self-portrait painting  Duein class: October 18th
  • Project 3 (20%)  Gel transfer and action painting  Duein class: November 8th
  • Project 4 (20%)  Self-determined project  Duein class: December 6th
  • Participation (20%)  Quality of effort working in class, collaboration on final publication (10%) and professionalism, in studio environment and critiques, investment and engagement during class meeting time and with community of peers (10%)

Student will have received 10% of their semester grade in this course by November, 4, 2016.

Each assignment has its own learning objectives, and student performance will be evaluated in terms of:

  • How you demonstrate a command of technical skills to communicate visually
  • How you generate, put together and employ ideas/concepts which can be demonstrated through research and planning
  • How you bring all your skills together, how you choose to communicate your ideas/concepts and how you present and/or reflect these ideas. Synthesis also includes how you refine, resolve and choose to present your ideas/concept through visual language
  • How effectively you engage and work in your studio practice, using course content as a method of learning as well as a point of departure for creative exploration (includes experimentation and problem solving)


You will be expected to fully engage in all studio activity.  This means arriving on time, and actively participating through the duration of the class.  Participation requires the student’s attention and joining in discussion to provide constructive criticism for the community of peers in this class.  The success of the course is largely dependent on each student’s engagement with the course work, each other and our studio community.  You are expected to interact with each other collegially and with respect, mindful of how you will contribute to each other’s learning experience in a positive and challenging way.  Failing to demonstrate engagement and contribute positively to the group dynamic will impact your grade.

University grade scale or percent equivalences used to calculate final grades:

A+ = 90-100; A = 85-90; A- = 80-84; B+ = 77-79; B = 73-76; B- = 70-72; C+ = 67-69; C = 63-66; C- = 60-62; D+ =57-59;

D = 53-56; D- = 50-52; F = 0-49

Outstanding  (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)

Good  (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

Adequate  (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)

Marginal  (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

Unacceptable  (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 your ability to demonstrate your abilities during in-class activities and projects.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Assignments are designed as frameworks for creative investigation, and will incorporate the techniques and content learned and discussed in class.  Students are encouraged to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills.

A penalty of 5% per day will be deducted from assignments submitted late, or those not presented in the required format.  You must make arrangements to submit late assignments with the instructor.  Assignments will not be accepted after seven days without official documentation (see the MSAF section for details), and will receive a grade of zero.  Studio work will be considered late and incomplete if not accompanied by required written work (i.e. project proposals, etc).  Late studio and/or written work will not receive the benefit of detailed verbal/written feedback from the instructor or other members of the class.

No work will be accepted for assessment beyond the last official day of classes on campus, December 7 at midnight.

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.

Topics and Readings:

As necessary, based on assignment and student research needs.

Other Course Information:

Note on Correspondence:

The instructor will use Avenue to Learn as a communication forum for general announcements, changes to the course schedule and relevent class news.  For personal correspondence between instructor and student, you are required to use the McMaster email as listed above.  Please do not communicate with instructor through the Avenue email.

Instructors emails are checked on weekdays only.  Students will receive responses to relevant inquiries within 48 hours.  A response not received within this timeframe indicates that the message was not received.  It is the student’s responsibility to follow-up with subsequent attempts.

Working in the Studio:

All new studio art students are required to complete an online WHMIS test to access all studio equipment and facility.  This test must be completed within the first 4 weeks of the fall semester.  All students must familiarize themselves with the Studio Art Safety Manual for Students.  Be aware of the rules and regulations for studio and equipment usage. Any questions regarding these issues should be directed towards Michael Syms, Studio Technologist for the Studio Arts program or the course Instructor.  You are required to wear your steel-toed boots in all of the The instructor will determine the student’s grade by evaluating projects, which should be indicative of the student’s creative sensibility (visually, technically and conceptually), investment and a willingness to explore, innovate and problem solve.  Students will be evaluated on the degree of rigor to which efforts have been made to personalize, explore, and expand on the expressive and communicative potential of these skills.  The instructor will take into consideration the students’ active participation in the discussion and critique sessions, their commitment to the collective project and their willingness to exceed the basic requirements of the course.

Appointments must be made with the studio technologist in regards to consulting and/or executing specific projects requiring the use of woodshop, metal and ceramics facilities.  Please ensure appointments and arrangements are made well in advance of deadlines and critiques.

Studios are accessible through access cards and are open from 7am -10pm, seven days a week.  Students are not permitted to work in the studios alone.  Please arrange to work in the studio with a peer when working after hours.  Guests (people not enrolled in studio art courses) are not permitted in the studios unless proper permission and documentation is provided.

No food or drink is permitted in the studios.  Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studios with out the permission of the studio technologist or instructor.

Incident reports:

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 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 assessment. 

  Emergency Response

University Lines – Ext. 88

Fire, First Aid, Crimes in Progress, Personal Safety, Bomb Threats,     Alarm Systems, Vehicle Accidents, Maintenance Emergencies (off hours)

  905 522-4135 or

  905 525-9140 Ext. 24281


ART 2PG3 Calendar, Fall 2016

Day / Date


Tuesday Sept. 6


First day course intro, demo materials, home-made pallette.

Tuesday Sept. 13


Work on and finalize collages, demo principles and application of colour mixing.

Tuesday Sept. 20


Studio work Day, Project 1.

Tuesday Sept. 27


Submit Project 1 for assessment, Intro Project 2 Self-Portrait and demo canvas building.

Tuesday Oct. 4


Studio work Day, Project 2.

Tuesday Oct. 11


Fall Recess, no classes

Thursday Oct. 18


Critique Project 1 and 2.

Tuesday Oct. 25


Intro Project 3, working on paper with gel transfer and action painting.

Tuesday Nov. 1


Studio work day, Project 3.

Friday Nov. 4th

Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade by this date.


Tuesday Nov. 8


Submit Gel transfer/Action Painting project, Work Day, Intro Final Project(s).

Tuesday Nov. 15


Studio work day, Project 4.

Tuesday Nov. 22


Studio work day, Project 4.

Tuesday Nov. 29


Studio work day, Project 4 (or day 1 of Final Crit.)

Tuesday Dec. 6

Final Crit.