What is Drawing?

The term drawing is applied to works that vary greatly in technique. It has been understood in different ways at different times and is difficult to define. During the Renaissance the term ‘disegno’ implied drawing both as a technique to be distinguished from colouring and also as the creative idea made visible in the preliminary sketch.Despite this insistence on the formation of line and the implied lack of colour, few would deny that a work formed by dots or shading or wholly in line but in a range of colours is a drawing.Within the painting area there are three separate yet integrated units. The undergraduate earning a Bachelor of Science or the Bachelor of Arts degree, the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree which requires a fifth year, and the Master of Fine Arts degree which requires a minimum of two years beyond the B.F.A. degree.

Painting offers a range of undergraduate courses in painting and drawing. Drawing introduces students to the relationships between seeing and thinking and making, which are central to artistic practice. Through an exploration of many drawing modes and materials, students investigate ways of seeing, visual problem solving, the construction of space and how meaning is experienced through visual language. Beginning Painting introduces students to the basic techniques and practices of oil painting, as well as ways of seeing and translating visual experience and constructing meaning through painting. All courses are taught by a range of Painting faculty, exposing students to many different ways of thinking, approaches and intentions. Upper division courses in painting and drawing explore more complex problems of meaning, form, materials and language, and emphasize the development of an independent practice. Courses incorporate intensive studio work, individual, group discussions and critiques, as well as slide lectures and presentations. Our objective is for students to develop critical thinking skills and an understanding of the history and context of painting and contemporary concerns, as they cultivate their own work. By experiencing a broad range of approaches and ideas, individuals are encouraged to develop a painting practice that is relevant to their ideas and sensibility.

Drawing has always been a large part of the curriculum at the University of Oregon and students from all areas of the Fine Arts Department are required to take at least two basic drawing classes. After basic drawing classes, students may elect to take upper-division drawing which has a wide range of classes and instructors to choose from.

Study involves a fifth year of intensive studio work in painting, beyond the four-year BA/BS degree in Art. It is designed to help students make the transition from classwork to an independent body of work, which will prepare them for artistic practice or graduate school. Emphasizing studio practice, students are provided with full-time, shared studio space and are expected to develop rigorous and consistent work habits. Via independent study with the faculty, students develop and extend their work. Throughout the year, students participate in the Advanced Painting class with the MFA students and engage in rigorous group critiques, discussions and readings. Our aim is for students to leave the program with an understanding of their own intentions and visual language, some strategies for sustaining an artistic practice, critical thinking skills, an understanding of the historical context and contemporary possibilities of painting and drawing.