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ART 1OS3 Observational Studies

Academic Year: Fall 2015

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Sally McKay


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 417

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23675

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 11:00 - 12:00, TSH 417

Course Objectives:

This course focuses on observation-based studio activities and the development of critical perception. Through in-class exercises, independent assignments, class discussion and group critique, students will gain basic knowledge of various media practices related to the fundamentals of visual art, learn research methods that apply to the production of studio projects, learn to maintain safe practices in the studio, learn to develop critical dialogue through group discussions and begin to envision their practice from a globally informed perspective.

Students will be expected to take notes on content in class and visiting artist’s lectures, make a serious and thoughtful effort in applying various ideas and approaches introduced in class, think critically and respond to the issues and content presented in class, consistently and professionally contribute to the overall studio environment/community.

Due to the studio production focus of this course, perfect attendance is expected. Missed classes and lack of participation will be reflected in your evaluation. Missed discussions and in-class exercises cannot be repeated.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

A lab/studio fee of $75.00 for this course must be paid in the SOTA office as soon as possible. Full payment of all studio fees will provide you with an access card to the studios as well as expendable materials needed for your courses and studio facilities. Basic materials required for this course (including some drawing tools and a variety of paper) will be provided from this fee.

This course will include a class trip to art galleries in downtown Hamilton. Students will be expected to provide their own transportation. We will also make an excursion into Cootes Paradise.

Other tools and/ or materials you will need for class:

• Steel toe boots/shoes: You are required to have your own safety gear for the duration of your program. Steel-toe boots or shoes are mandatory Health and Safety requirements for all courses in the studios. You will not be allowed into class without them.

• Sketchbook

• Pencil sharpener

• 2 large Bulldog clips

• kit or container for your studio supplies

• any other materials you want to use that are not provided

• 2 -3 large sheets of cardboard (instructor will provide details in class)

• a used book (instructor will provide details in class)

Instructor will provide details in class regarding any other materials required for assignments and in-class exercises.

Method of Assessment:

Participation and in-class assignments  20%


Assignment 1: Drawing from Observation  (Due: Sept. 30)   20%

(detailed guidelines will be discussed in class and posted on Avenue to Learn)


Assignment 2: Drawing in the Gallery/Museum (Due:  Oct. 21)   20%

(detailed guidelines will be discussed in class and posted on Avenue to Learn)


Assignment 3: Constructed Image  (Due: Nov 25) 25%

(detailed guidelines will be discussed in class and posted on Avenue to Learn)


Sketchbook (Due: Nov 25) 15%

(detailed guidelines will be discussed in class and posted on Avenue to Learn)


Grading Scale:

A+  90-100      B+  77-79        C+  67-69         D+  57-59

A   85-89         B   73-76         C   63-66          D   53-56

A-  80-84         B-  70-72         C-  60-62         D - 50-52         F   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 attendance at all classes)



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 your ability to demonstrate your abilities during in-class activities.

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:


Working in the Studios

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 to Michael Syms, Studio Technologist for the Studio Art program, or the course Instructor. You are required to wear your steel-toed boots in all of the studios and workshops. Failure to do so will result in the removal of your studio access and privileges.

Appointments must be made with the Studio Technologist in regards to consulting and/or executing specific projects requiring the use of wood shop, metal, or 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 7 am to 10 pm, 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 are provided.

There is no food or drink permitted in the studios. Please do not bring any chemicals or other materials into the studio without the permission of the Studio Technologist or instructor.


Incident Reports


If a student should have an accident in any of the studios, the incident (no matter how minor) must be reported to a faculty member, or the Studio Technologist within 24 hours. If 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 medical professionals make the necessary assessments.


Emergency Response

University line: ext 88

905 522-4135; or 905 525-9140, ext 24281


Student Walk Home Attendant Team (SWHAT)

Ext 27500

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Sunday: 7 pm – 1 am

Thursday, Friday, and Saturday: 7 pm – 2 am


Email Communication: The instructor may take up to 48 hours to read and/or respond to student emails.


Avenue to Learn: In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course.  The available information is dependent on the technology used.  Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure.  If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.


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

Academic and writing skills support is offered by the Student Success Centre located in Gilmour Hall, room 110. For more information on the Student Success Centre please call (905) 525-9140 [ext. 24254], email or visit