VMA Spotlight: Painting

Painting is an emphasis area with courses available from beginning to advanced levels.  The beginning courses are a great introduction to learning to work with the medium of oil paint.  Oil is the most versatile and rich painting medium, in terms of qualities and color.  Other courses explore different paints as individuals learn their preferred mediums.  They experiment with ideas and the development of meaning in image making, while building their skills with painting.

“People are often initially drawn to painting because they want that magical ability to make a believable image.  Then they begin to discover what else painting can do,” says Professor Jill Eggers.  Studio courses often take trips to artist studios, where they learn their techniques and processes, then try to apply what them to create art using what they’ve absorbed.  Upper level students have their own studio spaces, which they fill with their own paintings and images that inspire them.  Visiting artists come in to the classes, and they take field trips to museums every semester.  Extracurricular trips are taken including one to Eggers’ studio downtown, where she teaches students how to make their own oil paint.

Jill Eggers has designed a new course for future health professionals, which is also open to anyone wanting an Issues course with an art component.  “Learning to See: Visual Observations for the Health Professional” (ART 380), teaches Visual Thinking Strategies, mindfulness practices, as well as some basic drawing skills using anatomical subject matter.  It is based on a course taught at Harvard Medical School.  Studies show that students who took the course became better diagnosticians and made fewer mistakes.  The course, offered every semester beginning next fall, is also designed to increase visual thinking, communication, and teamwork.

Eggers is interested in making the language of painting and the art of observation available to a broader audience for broader applications, with a goal of opening possibilities of creative exploration for those who don’t conventionally see themselves as creative. She loves to see graduates become active artists, designers, directors of art programs, and going on to see their work in galleries. Some exemplary graduates are Shanna Shearer, now a director at Oxbow School of Art; Angie Meitzler, now an artist in Brooklyn and exhibiting art in NYC; and Luke Moneypenny, teaching at Interlochen School of Art.

Featured image: Student Catie Brandt in her studio, completing a body of work for her senior show

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