So you’ve been doodling in your notebooks for years and filling your room with prints by avant garde artists from around the world. Maybe you’ve converted the family basement into your own studio, complete with still life and abstract paintings. You have a feeling that deep inside of you lies a great painter. A major in Painting is an opportunity to develop your creativity, refine your technical skills, and challenge your understanding of art. As a major, you will have the chance to give focus to your artistic inclinations under the tutelage of accomplished and practicing painters. Because Painting is sometimes listed under a broader major of art, fine arts, or studio art, majors try their hands with other artistic media, such as sculpture and photography, as well as study the history of art, from the Caves of Lascaux to the works of Mark Rothko. Be prepared to spend the majority of your time in the studio and in critiques. You will learn how to use watercolor, oil, acrylic, and possibly egg tempera to create engaging images on wood panels, canvas, and less traditional media. A major in Painting also equips you with the intellectual and critical tools necessary to succeed in the artistic world, whether it’s as an artist, museum curator, or art dealer. The development of art over the centuries, including the social and political conditions behind the work and lives of some of the most important artists are just a part of some of the courses you will take as you expand your understanding of what it means to be a painter today.
First, paint on your own. Classes in art history and fine arts, including drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, dance, and ceramics, are a great way to begin to develop your ability to think critically about art. In addition, a continuous personal engagement with art through frequent museum visits, reading art history books, and studying your favorite artists and their works will help prepare you for the major. Since most schools value strong observational skills, draw from life as often as you can. For feedback on your portfolio, or for a review of your portfolio from several schools in one day, visit a National Portfolio Day.