Class Notes

Archive of Notes from Art School

Sketch of cells | Colored pencil | 6" x 6" | © c. 2004-5 Marilyn Fenn --

I started this art blog* to put all of my notes from art school online in one place -- mostly for my own convenience, but if anyone else benefits from my clumsily compiled notes (often with no real date), that's good, too.

There is No Seam

Painting by Louis Finkelstein "Hanover Center II" 1998, oil on canvas, 38 x 42 inches

Notes from "Thoughts About Painting" by Louis Finkelstein from "Painterly Painting," 1971

"Between technique, vision, design, expression there is no seam; neither is one thing the cause and another the result."

The Essence Lies in the Visual Meaning

Copy After Leonora Carrington's "Juan Soriano de Lacandón," 1964 | at the Art Institute of Chicago | Pencil | 7" x 5" | © 1991 Marilyn Fenn --

Class notes from SAIC, 1991

Abstract concepts help to provide visual meaning (aside from subject matter).

Creating Movement Through Color

Painting: Song of the Nightingale by Hans Hoffman 1964, Oil on canvas 84 x 72 inches

Class notes on Color, SAIC, 1992

Strive for awareness of movement from:

  • warm to cool
  • bright to dull
  • repetition to change
  • quiet to noisy

Aim for the Big Look

Art by Christian Rohlfs

Aim for the Big Look:
  • tough
  • brutal
  • uncompromising articulation of imagery & idea
  • extremes of technique, like most sensitive line ever, or thickest body of paint.

The need must find the idea & method.

Look at Botticelli and Raphael

The Birth of Venus Sandro Botticelli, c. 1482–1486 tempera on canvas 172.5 cm × 278.5 cm (67.9 in × 109.6 in) Uffizi, Florence

Class notes from Drawing the Figure in Space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Look at feet & hands like Raphael or Botticelli:

Artists to Look at for Paint and Pictorial Methods

Francis Bacon - Study after Velazquezs Portrait of Pope Innocent X
Class notes, SAIC, 1991
Look at these artists:

Florine Stettheimer

Jim Lutes

Artists to Look at for Atmosphere

Painting by Ferdinand Hodler Lake Geneva as seen from Chexbres, oil on canvas 1905
Class notes, from Advanced Drawing Studio with Barbara Rossi, SAIC, 1991
For help with my current work, look at: Ferdinand Hodler for narrative.

Find the Static and Dynamic Areas

Painting by Cezanne Mount Saint-Victoire 1902-1904

Class notes from Painting the Figure in space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Look at Cezanne's Mt. St. Victoire - picture is divided in to 3 horizontal bands: dark and warm on bottom, medium, warm & hot in center, light & blue at top.

Draw from Center Out

Class notes from Painting the Figure in space with Elizabeth Rupprecht, SAIC, 1991

Draw from center out. Work from bottom up, never top down.

Like riding a bike uphill.

Crunching up the space, like using your muscles. All this space to work with. Swooping down.

Page 2 of 41234

I use oil paint because it has a disobedient and mysterious nature…it engages issues of alchemy and mystery that resist the deadening ambition of the modern world to control everything.

— Scully

Find Previous Posts:

Gallery of Recent Paintings

Untitled 2015-023 - Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Our City - Oil painting by Marilyn Fenn Untitled 2015-024 - Oil on Canvas - 8 x 8 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn Untitled 2015-003 - Oil on Canvas - 12 x 10 - © 2015 Marilyn Fenn