Saturday, August 25, 2012

Description Syllabus Fall 2012

Peter Callesen, Holding On To Myself, 2006


Course #: 1200    Section #: 106 Credit Hours: 4
Location: Seigfred Hall room 516
Schedule: Tuesday and Thursday 6pm- 8:50pm
Instructor: Adjunct Professor Courtney Kessel
Contact:,    412.951.2236 (cell)
TA:  Melissa McCloud     Url:
Office: Room 440 Seigfred Hall      Hours: Tuesday 11am-12pm and by appointment

All descriptions contain assumptions and parameters both those physically grounded with the optical apparatus of the body and those mediated by culture or technology whether working with the eye and charcoal on paper or numerical data from the web a point of view is present and exploited to create a convincing description of the subject of the artist's gaze.  Descriptions indigenous to the body and those resulting from constructs should be applied throughout the course.
Egon Schiele, Self-portrait Wearing a Shirt, 1910

Description builds skills in drawing, image making, three-dimensional modeling, and data mapping in the consideration of and making of art and design. This is a cross-disciplinary studio art foundations course emphasizing how similar concerns and principles can be applied to a variety of forms, materials, and traditions. Students will gain experience and direct knowledge from hands-on exploration through a variety of ways of thinking about and applying description.

This course will be organized around a series of projects that relate to lectures, reading assignments, and demonstrations.  A large range of skills will be developed including, but not limited to, drawing and data collection, research and application of research, 2D, 3D, & 4D projects, Individual conceptual and artistic development, and the use of the critique as a tool for understanding how the work is working.

There will be no required textbooks, but readings including, articles, essays, pdfs, and web pages, will be determined by the professor.  Be sure to check the blog daily for current and new reading assignments.

Students are expected to check blog daily and specifically before class times for periodic changes, updates, and due dates.

1. Develop skills in mark-making, framing as it involves composition in context, mapping as it involves visual and data processing, and ideation.
2. Examine intellectually diverse perceptual points of view.
3. Gain knowledge of and expertise in a variety of modes of description.
4. Synthesize, analyze, and evaluate skills developed in class.
5. Build knowledge of studio art practices integrated with history, theory, and criticism.

1. Framing: composition/boundaries/borders.
2. Framing: editing ideation/theory/context.
3. Framing: mechanical versus digital tool.
4. Mark making: perceptual drawing/modeling.
5. Mark making: perspective/proportion in two-dimensions/three-dimensions.
6. Mark making: human versus mechanical mark.
7. Mapping: relationships/installation/site.
8. Mapping: trace/texture/transcription.
9. Ideation: research/engagement/community.

·       Five projects (final is included) will be assigned. 
·       Two short in-class projects will be assigned.
·       Assignments should be executed thoroughly and on time (no class time to ‘finish up’ on days projects are due). 
·       Come to class prepared with your materials and tools, ready to work for the full class time. 
·       Students are required to spend a minimum of six hours a week working on projects outside of class.  Your I.D.s will be programmed into the doors to your classrooms.
·       In addition to the above-mentioned projects, readings will be assigned in which you will be required to post your responses at minimum one hour before class to the class blog.  You are expected to have intelligent responses that will be discussed in class and graded.
·       You will be critiqued on the relevance and originality of ideas (evidence of you in the piece, application of assigned concepts), craftsmanship (considered and skillful use of materials, attention to detail, “finished” quality), effort, personal growth, and progress.
·        All critiques are integral to the development and growth of each person as a creative individual.  You are required to come to ALL critiques for you and your peers.  Final critique is mandatory.  Failure to show will result in failure for the term!!!
·       There are no extra credits projects.  However, a student may with prior approval, re-work and submit projects for re-grading.
       You are responsible for documenting and posting your work to the blog.
       At the end of the semester, you will be required to turn in a CD documenting ALL of the work you accomplished.

The instructor may change assignments and schedule to meet the needs of the class at anytime.  Work may be documented by the instructor for records in the form of video and/or digital images. No actual works of art will be retained, any student work left by the student after the final exam will be thrown out.  You are responsible for maintaining communication accessibility through email, class blog, and Blackboard.  Cell phones, iPods, etc. must be turned off during class and when in the studio; they may only be used OUTSIDE of the classroom.  Audio or Visual recording of class/instructor is not allowed except by written permission of the instructor.

Grading is dependent not only on artistic and technical skill, effort and creativity within the guidelines of the project, but also on participation in critiques, class discussions, group projects, and the quality of personal research, commitment and attendance.  Good grades come through hard work, open-mindedness and application of technical skill.

Grades are based on:
60%  In class and out of class projects including final 
15%  Sketchbook and documentation of artwork (both posted to blog and final CD) combined
10%  Visiting artist lectures, exhibition participation and reading responses posted to blog
15%  In-class Participation (studio work, critiques, final clean-up, discussions, etc.)

Evaluation and Grading
Develop and maintain a dialogue with the professor!!!
This is how to ensure that you achieve individualized growth and the highest personalized instruction.
A = Superior: One who answers all of the course requirements and performs at a level so far  above the average as to be visibly outstanding. It is assumed that he or she does more than is required.

B = Above Average: One who answers all of the course requirements and performs at a level measurably above the average.

C = Average: One who answers all of the course requirements and performs adequately in so doing. This is the standard of competence. C is a worthy not a disgraceful grade.

D = Below Average: One who answers all the course requirements, but performs at a level measurably below the average. D is a passing grade not a failure.

F = Failure: One who either does not answer all of the course requirements, or performs inadequately, or both. F is a failing grade.

Each and every class will have new material, lectures, demonstrations, etc. that build off of one another.  It is important to have Interacting and collaborating with your peers is an important part of learning 
  • Every absence (of any kind: ill, car trouble, slept in, etc.) over 2 will result in a drop of one full letter in the overall final grade and a total of 5 absences (of any kind) will result in automatic failure for the course.
  • There are no excused absences.
  • Two late arrivals or early departures will be the equivalent of one absence.
  • Do not email me that you are ill and not coming in. If you are not in class I will notice this. Only email me if you are asking for an extension for your project and the reasons I should grant it.
Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact me privately to discuss your specific needs and provide written documentation from the Office of Disability Services. If you are not yet registered as a student with a disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services at 740-593-2620 or visit the office in 348 Baker University Center.

MATERIALS: Please be sure to check the 2013 SOA Foundations Material List.  There are many important items on there required by incoming students.  Please contact me if you need a copy of this list.

***These are materials Description students are required*** to have:

  • 5” x 7” (or larger)  Sketchbook with white blank pages (All sketches for class will be kept in this book)- please see the list of where to buy supplies
  • Note taking supplies (No audio recorders, or visual recorders allowed)
  • Drawing tools of choice (pencils, pens, charcoal, markers, crayons, etc.)
  • Binder for all handouts and notes
  • Pliers with wire cutters (the larger size is easier for leverage)
  • Scissors
  • Utility knife and extra blades
  • Masking tape

These are materials artists/students should always have on hand:
  • 1 pad of 18” x 24” quality, white, drawing paper (not charcoal paper)
  • Some large kneaded erasers
  • 1 Staedler Mars white plastic eraser
  • 1 straight edge or yardstick 36” long with measurement markings
  • 1 each of graphite pencils 6B, 2B, and 2H (Bryunzeel are best but any will do)
  • 1 pencil sharpener
  • 1 Ultra Fine Black Sharpie
  • 1 18” x 24” drawing board
  • variety of charcoal and conté types



The College Bookstore, Staples, Lowe’s, Big Lots, Dollar Stores, Thrift Stores (New-to-You and ReUse, Goodwill),  Random House (by Casa)

Parkersburg                         Lancaster                                                Columbus
Crafts 2000              Hobby Lobby (not open on Sundays)            Prizm (1270 East Powell Rd)

Mail Order Art Catalogues
ASW (Art Supply Warehouse)             1-800-995-6778              
Utrecht       (in Columbus too)              1-888-336-3114              
Dick Blick                                                1-800-426-6740              
Cheap Joe’s                                           1-800-227-2788
The Jerry’s Catalogue                           1-800-827-8478    

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