The Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis in painting requires twelve credit hours of painting coursework as well as a three credit-hour professional development capstone course. A faculty-supervised summary critique is required of each student graduating with an emphasis in painting before completion of the degree. 


Our program begins with a strong foundation in the tradition of painting. Painting I builds proficiency in the formal skills of painting, including spatial representation, form, mark, pictorial design, and the understanding of color.

Intermediate level topic-based courses provide sustained study of varied approaches to painting, including figure and landscape painting, formal and perceptual abstraction, contemporary approaches to representation, and water media. Intermediate coursework stresses the development of conceptual content and awareness of the historical and contemporary contexts of painting.

Upper-level classes reinforce the idea of painting as a practice of inquiry. Research, questioning, and systematic experimentation form the basis for the development of an individual voice in painting. In addition to individualized studio instruction, the advanced student interacts with their peers, other faculty and visiting artists as well as engaging with the community. Professional skills are developed that prepare the student to join the community of professional artists.

BFA students are required to participate in individual and group critiques by presenting their work to faculty, visiting artists, and other students. In addition, BFA students may be required to go on painting-focused trips to an urban art centers such as Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, and New York.


Painting I 

An exploration of different ways of articulating visual forms on a picture plane, using common materials and procedures. 

Perception Into Abstraction 

Investigation of the abstraction of visual phenomena. Various starting points and approaches will be studied. Emphasis on the analysis of form and the creation of pictorial structure, as well as the conceptual basis of perceptual abstraction. 

Figure Painting 

Introduction to representational and interpretive figure painting and to contemporary issues in figurative painting. The model as well as other visual sources will be used as a basis for observation, interpretation and invention. 

Landscape Painting

Exploration of perceptual and conceptual approaches to painting the landscape. Both traditional and experimental techniques of oil painting will be studied. Includes outdoor on-site painting. 


Contemporary approaches to the use of imagery in painting. Projects emphasize the systematic alteration of color, form and space through strategies of reduction, omission, distortion and compositing.


An introduction to the material, formal, and conceptual aspects of abstract painting. Projects will explore a variety of starting points for the invention of form in painting. Examines the construction of meaning in modern and contemporary abstract painting through studio work, discussion, writing assignments and lectures.  


Introductory course presenting basic materials and techniques of watercolor, gouache, and acrylic painting. Form and composition to be studied through observation and imagination. Traditional techniques as well as experimentation and personal expression are to be explored. 

Advanced Painting  

Intensive course for those art majors concentrating in painting. Extended, individually determined projects will emphasize production of a well researched, conceptually grounded and cohesive body of work. Supplemented by reading, writing and discussion of contemporary issues in painting. 


Examination of concepts and themes relevant to the contemporary practice of painting, accompanied by the production of an individually determined body of work. Emphasis on studio work supplemented by research, critique, reading and writing.