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304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206

Ph# 401-575-3192

Course #:
Course Instructor: Amanda Lechner
Contact: amandalechner@hotmail.com
Office hours:

Drawing: Foundations

The role of the Foundations year of an art program is a very important one as it is the framework on which
all further artistic endeavors are built. An interdisciplinary approach built on a thorough understanding of
visual communication is imperative. Foundations students dismantle their preconceived notions of art,
design and visual understanding through a vigorous regimen of perceptual and conceptual drawing in
varying media. Students build skills, refine intellect and develop the ardency to take risks and solve
visual, spatial, and conceptual problems paving the way for the rest of their education and future practice.
This Foundations course will facilitate this expedition by proposing challenging and multi-faceted projects
ranging in breadth from perceptual drawing to experimental installation.

Drawing is a mindset as much as it is a set of media. It is the basis for almost all artistic practices.
Students in this course will experience a total emersion in the broad language of drawing. Through
perceptual drawing projects, students will begin to understand visual communication while honing
technical ability. As the projects become increasingly complex students problem solving skills will become
more advanced eventually equipping them to engage more conceptually driven experiments.

**(The following is a proposal that could be refined to fit in to the Foundations Curriculum. The Student
syllabus may have more open-ended or more discrete descriptions.)

Each semester will be made up of different units of focus. Throughout students will keep and fill a
sketchbook/journal pertaining to the themes of the class.

All assignments and projects will be critically discussed individually and as a group as they proceed
and/or as they culminate. Each unit will include readings, slide lectures as supporting information for
different projects.

Semester 1

Perception: The first focus of this drawing course will familiarize students with basic drawing materials,
processes and techniques enabling an understanding of two and three dimensional space, light and
shadow, perspective, value and composition. It will consist of a total emersion in observational drawing in
tonal media from small to large scale of basic shapes and structures (cubes, cylinders, cones in the form
of mundane objects such as corrugated boxes, pipes, funnels, etc.)

Perception/Abstraction: The second unit builds on the first. With the use of more variety of materials,
students will encounter increasingly complex perceptual drawing situations in the studio (complex shapes
and intersections in the form of such items as lumber, rope, insects, textile, etc.). Through the emersion in
representing complex spacial relationships and objects, students will begin to grasp the abstract natures
of perception. They will also engage drawing out side the studio in a variety of sites (pastoral as well as
industrial and indoor mixed use spaces as well as campus resources such as the library and nature lab).
304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Ph# 401-575-3192
By representing the site-specificity of each new locale, students will develop a mental agility and artistic
adaptability that will serve them in the remaining units of study.

Elemental Structures: Concurrent with their excursions with abstraction and color students will gain
skills and perfect thought processes necessary for working in the third dimension. They will learn about
and construct the shapes referred to as the Platonic solids or regular polyhedra. They will explore these
basic forms in multiple materials and advance to making and understanding more advanced complex
polyhedra and other geometric structures. Students will investigate relations between micro and macro
structures and design their own responses to these elemental frameworks.

Practical Color: The purpose of this unit is to familiarize the students with the practical use and
application of color. No matter what practice the students enter after the completion of foundations the
information and instruction provided in this unit will serve them through out their studies and artistic
careers. Through the processes in this course, the students will begin to understand how they see color
as an individual and how they can use, replicate, combine and manipulate color to successful ends. By
completing a series of color exercises students will begin to understand the color spectrum, color
combinations, the usage of paint as a vehicle of color, and color as an aspect of drawing, painting,
sculpture and design. Students will also research the principles of optics to understand the physics
involved in color perception.

Students will engage in the following series of procedures meant to break down and build up
understanding for the use and application of color and value. Alongside these procedures there will also
be demonstration and discussion about the optical, psychological and symbolic use of color.

1. Value: Using 12 separate pieces of heavy paper 4x6 inches each as surfaces students will each make
a 12 step gradation from white to black using white and black paint.
2. Color and value: Using 12 separate pieces of heavy paper 4x6 inches each as surfaces students will
each make a 12 step gradation from white to black using white and NO black paint, using primary
color to make the black. Students will also quickly make a color wheel as a future resource in color
3. Class members will work in white and mixed black paint to make a series of paintings in grayscale from
observation. The paintings will each be executed by using only 20 brush strokes. Because the
economy of material language each student will be challenged to be exaggeratedly conscious of each
mark and value decision they make for their study. They will repeat this exercise by making studies
using only 10 marks and again with no stroke restriction.
4. Transparency and value: Students will repeat procedures 2 and 3 using only their mixed back, NOT
using white paint. Students will be introduced to using transparency as a process for conveying value
and the materials necessary to this investigation.
5. Color matches: Students will mix and add to their color wheel the secondary and tertiary gradations of
color. Class members will use primary colors and white paint on heavy paper to match complex color
swatches made by the instructor. They will repeat this process using NO white, to match swatches
made by using transparent color.
6. Observed color: Students will paint from observation using color to describe what they see. They will
begin to understand the differences between local color and observed color. The first series of
paintings will each be executed by using only 20 and 10 brush strokes using opaque paint. The second
series of paintings will each be executed by using only 20 and 10 brush strokes using transparent
7. Observed color continued: After an introduction to a wider array of paint pigments students will
continue their investigations with color with less mark-making restrictions and with more complex
observational problems. They will work from all white, and chromatically complicated setups, the land
scape and the figure using opaque and transparent painting methods.
8. Color as collaboration: Students will work together to make a complex painted installation made
primarily out of available materials such as cardboard and paper. They will then work together to make
304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Ph# 401-575-3192
large scale group observational painting of the installation. They will also make small studies of the

Individuals perceive color differently. The rods and cones of the eye differ slightly from person to person
and sometimes differ greatly as with “color blindness”. These differences propose interesting issues and
dilemmas when working within a color theory frame work. The individual perception of color is recognized
and will be addressed in this course.

Perception/Action: This third unit explores perception less directly and with more open ends within
discrete projects.

Using observation to new ends: Students will set up their own ambitious vignette. They will then draw it to
tell a story, communicate instructions, or prove a hypothesis. They will then recreate their representation
in 3-dimensions with paper or fabric. Then draw that.

2D to 2D, 2D to 3D: Students will pick a found piece of paper as a source (receipt, piece of newspaper,
flyer, note book page etc.- not a photograph)and transcribe that source in drawing materials first in the
actual size of the document and then again in a drastically different scale. They will then interpret the
source in non-2D materials.

Drawing the line: Students use their already existing drawings as materials(by cutting out marks or
xeroxing and cutting or by less literal means) to make one continuous line in space.

Tracing Project: field work: students will explore the area surrounding the studio and make tracings of
objects they find and events they see. They will then come back the studio, and create a drawing from the
lines they have found in the field.

Apparatus: Students individually plan and construct a tool, device, or apparatus to make drawings for
them. We will discuss the implement and the drawings created in class. Student will them improve,
elaborate or combine their implements to make drawings for the final critique.

Semester 2

Unit 5
The Corpus: This unit engages the notion of representing the human body/figure. Through a series of
investigations students perceptually and conceptually will begin to understand the meanings, physicality,
inner workings, and narrative possibilities of the human corpus.

Life Drawing/Death Drawing: Students will gain familiarity with the human form through short and long
sessions drawing from the clothed and unclothed model. Outside of class they will investigate the
structure of the body by observing and drawing the skeleton(or skeleton model).

Cannibalize: Students will reprocess their drawings by cutting out the bodies/figures (or xerox them to cut
out) and reconfiguring them into a semblance of narrative, instruction or other structure.
Also by cutting out or xeroxing the figures they have already drawn, students will decontextualize these
bodies by using their components as marks to make new drawings.

Systems and Structures: Students will pick or be assigned different organ of the human body. They will
learn about the systems and structures related to that organ and represent the organ by any means they
choose. They will also invent and create a representation of a new organ. The efforts of the class will be
combined to make a whole body.

Unit 6
304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Ph# 401-575-3192
The hive: The singular ant or bee has no thought process, it merely reacts based on its hormonal dictate.
the idea of emergence dictates, however the colony of ants or bees creates a huge and efficient
framework of complex structures and hierarchies. Similarly, for instance within a group of people that all
guess at the number of, say, beans in a jar, chances are that nobody will guess the exact number of
beans, but the average of all the guesses will be the closest figure to the actual quantity of beans. This
idea posits the group is somehow smarter than the individual. This course experiment takes this idea as a
method and framework in which to work. We will explore collaboration in a variety of ways ranging from
drawing wars to outside group tableaux. At the end of this unit the group should be able to act as one
entity with many parts.

The Hive Projects include:

1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare a Drawing War: The floor is covered in paper. Students will react with drawing
materials to the one-upmanship of their peers, collaborating and battling until the paper is destroyed or
there is a clear settlement of the drawing conflict.

Mutations: “do one thing, then do something else”. Each student will start a project with or on paper, then
another will add to it or subtract from it. An all day in class event. Student then take one drawing to
investigate further for homework.

Make an object from someone else’s memory: Students verbally or in writing explain an object, trade
explanations and create the new object from cardboard and paper.

Group will together create immersive installation with provided and other found materials (lumber, string,
wire, etc) After its demolition they will then document the installation from memory by making one life size
group drawing of it.

Chain of events, A relay: The class divides in to teams. Each class member is given a note with a word,
concept, direction or place on it. The students in each group in turn respond in 2 or 3 Dimensional
drawing or action to the direction on their note. When they fulfill their dictate, they pass the drawing to the
next team member in succession until they have all worked the drawing appropriately. We will discuss the
process and the output.

Propositions: Each students writes out a few short instructions/propositions, turns them in. Students then
break in to groups of 5. Propositions are divided between the groups. Each group has two hours to decide
how to fulfill each instruction. We will meet in the studio to view and discuss each groups’

Starlings vs. Crow: When flock of starlings is threatened by a predator or an outsider they fly in a close
undulating frenzy to confuse, intimidate and ultimately defeat the threat. We will elect a crow and apply
this phenomena to making a drawing.

Forts: Historically forts have been made by a group of people to protect that group of people and their
resources. Childhood friends also make forts as personal spaces. The students will work in a few groups
to make competing forts in which to have reenactments and performances. They will also research
historical military, popular and makeshift forts.

As a group we will discuss, invent and plan the culminating project of the Hive.

Unit 7
304 Meserole Street, unit 2D, Brooklyn, NY 11206
Ph# 401-575-3192
The unit containing the most open ended questions and projects, this unit is meant to prepare students
for the self directed work imminent in their chosen majors while still engaging them in the wide field of

String: fibers are twisted together to make an implement that is stronger that its parts. This implement
when combined or other wise manipulated become exponentially stronger. Students create
drawings/propositions in 2, 3, or 4 dimensions by using string or the notion of string.

Tepus fugit: Time is a prevalent theme present in art. Students will make self-directed explorations
pertaining to the passing of time.

5 Senses: A series of projects that develop an abstract relationship between visual experience and the
other senses. Each student will create a piece that address singularly touch, hearing, smell, taste and the
visual. Students will then concentrate on one or combine multiple aspects of the project to make a final
piece or body of work.

** schedule and assignments are subject to change, based on the needs of the class. Any changes will
be announced and made clear during class time.
***students will be prepared with materials for each class. Time taken out of class on account of
unpreparedness will result in tardy credit.
****Don’t be late or absent. If you are, you are responsible to arrange making up work and time missed. 2
unexcused absences = 10% grade reduction; 3 tardy = 1 absence.

Grading Policy: Class Participation 30%

Projects 70%

A 90-100% Student is exemplary, demonstrates full class participation, focus, exceeds

assignments, thoroughly grasps skills and concepts, takes risks.
B 80-89% Participates in class, fulfills assignments, grasps skills and
C 70-79% Mediocre participation and assignment completion
D 60-69% Unsatisfactory participation and assignment completion, hardly grasps skill and
F 00-59% ** Fail ** student lacks self discipline, does not even try to participate, grasp
assignments, skills or ideas.

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