Watercolor I

Course Number: ART 284
Transcript Title: Watercolor I
Created: September 1, 2012
Updated: January 22, 2016
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
Repeats available for credit: 2

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.

Alignment with Institutional Core Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Apply the knowledge, skills and abilities to enter and succeed in a defined profession or advanced academic program. (Professional Competence)
4. Appreciate cultural diversity and constructively address issues that arise out of cultural differences in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

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.