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Academic Year: Fall/Winter 2013/2014

Term: 1

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Judy Major-Girardin


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 430

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 27287


Office Hours: Thursday 10:30 – 12:30 TSH 430

Course Objectives:

Course Description

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 along the way are designed to build the critical skills necessary to evaluate achievements and adjust and refine the research trajectory accordingly.

The course involves library/gallery visits, artist lectures, critiques, visual documentation exercises, discussion and studio engagement. Students will generate personal goals and fulfill them through the production of studio-based work that is shared with peers in critique sessions. An on-line portfolio will track research, relevant experiences, reflection exercises, and development of work from preliminary stages through to completion.

Course Components

The course includes required readings, research, preliminary work, proposals, a body of completed studio work, reflections and documentation with submissions made to an On-Line Portfolio on Avenue to Learn. Each student will be partnered with another student to assist with photo documentation of work (camera provided).

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Studio Fees

A studio fee of $50 is required for this course. Your studio fee will provide you with a notebook that can be used for ART 3TS3, 3D03 and 3GS3. It will also provide you with a flash drive for use with the Learning Portfolio and a shuttle bus to the Plein Air workshop. In addition, some expendable materials such as oversized canvas, printing inks, newsprint, etc. are provided through this fee.


Tuition covers instruction, technical and administrative support, equipment, tools, facilities/utility costs, models, visiting artists, and resources such as McMaster Museum of Art, Library, Anatomy Lab, etc.

Method of Assessment:

On-Line Learning Portfolio

The on-line portfolio will serve as a repository for tracking development over the term. It will be comprised of separate entries (artifacts) for Research, Preliminary Concepts, Proposal, Associated Experiences, Reflections and Photo Documentation of finished work. Students will be instructed on specific requirements for each section and deadlines for entries. Additional entries are welcome and encouraged. The on-line portfolio will assist you in making connections in your studies. It will document your achievements and demonstrate your progress in the course. Once completed it will function like a website that you can share with peers and family. You may continue to build on this LP after the course and take it with you when you graduate. 

On-line Portfolio Entries (Artifacts):

  1. BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION (optional) Photo, CV, Artist Statement
  2. RESEARCH (due September 12) @ 5%
  • An annotated list of websites, library publications, Museum/gallery holdings that relate to your studio practice (minimum 10 entries)
  • Written or photo documentation of people, places or things that inspire or influence your work (minimum 10 entries)
  • PRELIMINARY CONCEPTS due Oct 3 (Group A) & Oct 10 (Group B) @ 20%

·        Sketches, paintings, monoprints, object manipulations, models or other fast-paced explorations that help you visually develop ideas. (10 entries)

·        Group your entries under 2 or 3 subheadings or series of related explorations. For example your first series might be 4 painted portraits and the second series could contain 2 abstract prints and a final series might be 4 small sculptural assemblages for a total of 10 entries. Remember these are fast-paced experiments to test out potential directions. Any combinations are acceptable at this stage of investigation as long as explorations can be grouped into no more than 3 categories of related concepts. More sustained and resolved works will grow out of these initial explorations.

  • PROPOSALS due October 3 (Group A) & October 10 (Group B) @ 5%

·        400 word (1 page) written statement that reflects on the discoveries of the preliminary experiments and edits these down to one or two concepts that we can tie personal objectives to. Your goals must be achievable within the remaining weeks of the term.

·        The proposal should address:

                   WHY  (your personal motivations for selecting this direction)

                  WHAT (your measureable objectives clearly and concisely stated)

                  HOW (your approach including anticipated media, size, amount)

  • ASSOCIATED LEARNING (portfolio entry complete by November 21) @ 5% bonus marks

·        Photographic documentation or short reflections on extra-curricular activities such as workshop participation, volunteerism, travel, visiting artist lectures, gallery visits or other (must be labeled clearly and dated).

  • REFLECTIONS due Nov 7 (Group A) and November 14(Group B) @ 5%

·        Entries on required readings from the text

·        Self-critical entries following or preceding critique sessions

·        Documentation of critique comments relevant to your work


·        Photographs (labeled with name, size, media, date) in jpg format of approximately 8 x 10 size and 300 dpi.

·        Entries should record work presented in critique and any additional media experiments.

Grade Breakdown

MIDTERM = 30% (research 5%, proposals 5% and preliminary work 20%). This assessment will be provided by the end of October.

FINAL  = 40% midterm + 60% (30% work presented at 3 critiques, documentation 5%, reflections 5%, and participation 20%). Associated Learning entries are bonus marks for up to 5%.

The following scale of percent equivalences is used for calculating final grades:

A+  = 90-100; A = 85-89; 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

Participation (20% of overall grade) Log/sketchbook, engagement, Visiting Artist Lectures, workshops, reading exercises and other 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.

Late Assignments

Projects that are not presented by the student during their scheduled critique will be marked as 0. Work that is handed in late will receive a penalty of one full letter grade for every academic day it is late. Exceptions to this policy will only be considered in specific instances where a student is eligible to file a McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF) and follows the proper procedure online at

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.     NO WORK WILL BE ACCEPTED BEYOND THE LAST DAY OF CLASSES.


Thursday, September 5          - course outline review, on-line portfolio introduction

                                                -homework is collection of research resources in the form                                                     of an annotated list.

Thursday, September 12        -Visiting Artist Duane Paxson (sculptor) “Studio Insights”

                                                -Attend 4th year crit to hear 4th yr. proposal presentations

                                                -homework is the development of preliminary concepts

Thursday September 19         -On-line portfolio workshop in Mills Library

                                                -prepare supports for Jim Reid workshop

                                                -bring annotated research list and images on a flash drive

                                                -homework readings & questions “The Critique Handbook”

Thursday, September 26        -on-site work with visiting artist Jim Reid in the McMaster                                                      Nature Corridor. Be on time to catch shuttle outside TSH.

                                                Hand in Critique Handbook exercise.

Thursday, October 3               - Artist Talk with Christian Giroux and Daniel Young

                                                -Group A proposals & preliminary work presented TSH 116

                                                -homework Group A to create complex work for Oct 17 crit

Thursday, October 10             -Group B proposals & preliminary work presented TSH 116

                                                -homework Group B to create complex work for Oct 24 crit

Thursday, October 17             -TSH 114 Gallery Critique for completed work Group A

                                                -homework for Group A to post reflections and photos                                                           from critique with On-line Portfolio

                                                -continue with independent studio production

Thursday, October 24             -TSH 114 Gallery Critique for completed work Group B

                                                homework for Group B to post reflections and photos from                                                    critique with On-line Portfolio

                                                -continue with independent studio production

Thursday, October 31             -holiday

Thursday, Nov. 7                     Final Critique Group A

                                                -homework for Group A to post reflections and photos                                                           from critique with On-line Portfolio

Thursday, Nov. 14                   Final Critique Group B

                                                -homework for Group B to post reflections and photos                                                           from critique with On-line Portfolio     

Thursday, Nov 21                    -Assistance with Learning Portfolio

                                                - Photography session for documenting work

                                                -homework posting entries for Associated Learning

Thursday, Nov 28                    Selected works showcased in TSH 114 Gallery Space

                                                Public reception from 4:30 – 5:30.

                                                -Post photos of exhibition on On-line Portfolio

Wednesday, Dec 4                  Classes end

Studio clean up will take place following the last day of classes.

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:

Text: The Critique Handbook

Other Course Information:

Office Hours

Office hours are intended to provide additional assistance and you are welcome to visit often to discuss course projects or seek assistance on difficulties you may be experiencing. It is always better to deal with an issue while there is still time remaining in the term to seek solutions. Office hours are not a replacement class for those opting to miss class time without valid excuse. Office hours will not provide feedback sessions if you miss a deadline. It is important that you learn to manage your time. Of course, extenuating circumstances can sometimes occur and requests for accommodation should be discussed with the instructor a.s.a.p.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF online at Please note the following stipulations.

• MSAF is a self-reporting tool for Undergraduate Students to report absences due to   minor medical situations that last up to 5 days and provides the ability to request accommodation for any missed academic work. Please note, this tool cannot be used during any final examination period.

• You may submit a maximum of 1 Academic Work Missed request per term. It is your responsibility to follow up with your Instructor immediately (normally within two working days) regarding the nature of the accommodation.

• If you are absent for reasons other than medical reasons, for more than 5 days, or exceed 1 request per term you must visit your Associate Dean's Office (Faculty Office). You may be required to provide supporting documentation.

• The online form should be filled out immediately when you are about to return to class after your absence.

Support Services

The University provides a variety of support services to help students manage their many demands. Reference librarians can provide invaluable research assistance. The Student Accessibility Services Centre (SAS) provides assistance with personal as well as academic matters. MUSC B107 and