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Watercolor I

Course Number: ART 284
Transcript Title: Watercolor I
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: December 19, 2014
Total Credits: 3
Lecture Hours: 0
Lecture / Lab Hours: 60
Lab Hours: 0
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement: No
Satisfies General Education requirement: Yes
Grading options: A-F (default), P-NP, audit

Course Description

Explores basic studio watercolor painting techniques, materials, and concepts while addressing historical and contemporary issues to increase visual literacy. Presents a conceptual framework for critical analysis along with basic art theory. May be taken three times for credit. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  1. Solve problems creatively using a variety of acquired strategies for expressing visual ideas through the watercolor painting medium.
  2. Create personal works of art, which demonstrate a basic understanding of the watercolor painting discipline, and the processes, materials, and techniques associated with it.
  3. Ask meaningful questions, identify topical issues, and employ a basic watercolor painting vocabulary in critical dialogue about the watercolor painting discipline.
  4. Understand, interpret, and appreciate watercolor painting from different cultures, facilitating a lifelong engagement with the diversity of perspectives in the human experience.
  5. Enjoy a heightened awareness of the physical world, the nature of the relationship of human beings to it, and our impact on it via the experience of watercolor painting.
  6. Implement self-critiquing skills en route to autonomous expression through watercolor painting with respect to the standards established in contemporary and historical works of art.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Student will:

  • Discover various processes by which the artist sees nature, conceives ideas and executes a watercolor painting.
  • Experience the connection between sight and the other senses used to understand subject matter.
  • Examine aspects of the conceptual process; experiencing, visualizing, symbolizing, playing, imagining, etc.
  • Observe ways to process visual experience through watercolor painting; such as wash, gesture, line, expression, etc.
  • Participate in studio work sessions, class discussions, and critiques.


Assessment is based on conceptual understanding, quality of work, participation in critiques, progress, effort, and attendance. A written examination, quizzes, written assignments and a journal may be required.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Develop methods of handling materials for picture making, which may include, transparent tube colors, transparent cake colors and gouache.
  • Become familiar with different kinds of brushes and the marks they produce.
  • Experience various watercolor papers and surfaces; pulp paper, rag content paper, hot press watercolor paper, cold press watercolor paper, etc.
  • Discuss the interaction of color in terms of hue, value and intensity, and its effect on the visual statement.
  • Experience a broad range of watercolor techniques which may include: wet on wet, wet on dry, wash, dry brush, glazing, masking, etc.
  • Experience use of watercolor with other media; ink, magic marker, charcoal, pastel, conte, collage, etc.
  • Study the formal elements of art such as; color, line, value, texture, shape, volume and mass, composition, and spatial illusion.
  • Learn to understand color theory and its application to the watercolor medium.
  • Learn color wheel and how it applies to watercolor painting. Learn to see value relationships in watercolor painting.
  • Understand uses of warm and cool colors in watercolor painting.
  • Understand color intensity through use of transparent and opaque applications in watercolor painting.
  • Learn to understand how watercolor paint works and mixes; staining colors, transparent colors, and opaque colors.

Department Notes

  • The course includes lectures, demonstrations, slides, video/films and field trips.
  • It is suggested that Art 284 is taken before enrolling in Art 287 which is a more advanced class that builds on the basic techniques and ideas developed in Art 284.
  • A minimum of 3 hours of homework per week in the form of private exploration of the concepts and processes introduced in class will be required.
  • College level reading comprehension is necessary.
  • Art 284 fulfills Arts and Letters requirements for block transfer to other colleges and universities for general education requirements, or for elective credits.