Mural Painting, 2011, VPA181
ARTS 342 –
Classroom where workshop with community will be announced & coordinated with Marilyn Huerta, Advisor for Student Arts Association.  Funding provided by Instructionally Related Activities Grant.

Instructors:  Doris Bittar, Isaias Crow                         

Office Hours: Friday, 12 –1 PM


Objectives: Painting a mural for a community or public space is involves coordinating key components. For the class portion, we will learn how to paint, how to make a proposal for a public space and meet with the community that will house and help in making the mural. We will coordinate with administrators, two mural artists and learn to identify a theme for those that will live with the mural. Self-portraits and portraits of co-students as well as understanding architectural spaces will be emphasized. We will learn about mural paintings history, its social, local and international roots.

Understanding the “chemistry” of painting involves learning to see paint as colored glues that layer securely on a ground or support. Each student is required to produce a “proposal” for a mural in a public space by the end of the semester. Each student is required to complete a minimum of ten finished paintings on various materials, along with quick paintings, sketches and drawings.

The first weeks and the last weeks of the semester Doris Bittar and Isaiac Crow will team-teach.  Doris will teach in the classroom, guide individual projects and emphasize techniques. Isaiac Crow will be in close contact with the community that houses the murals, finalize the composition of the murals, teach technique and lead the execution of the murals.

Attendance: is mandatory (1/3 of grade). 3 absences results in a failing grade.

Homework: Painting/Proposal/Sketchbook: critiques/reviews (1/3 of grade)

Class Engagement: class work & interaction with fellow students (1/3 of grade)                             

Materials:  A budget of $100 – $150 is reasonable. Student Grade Acrylics, gesso and latex. Tempera paints are lower cost, not as flexible or aesthetic but are permitted. Latex paint will be provided.

Alizarin Crimson                   Raw Umber (optional)
Burnt Sienna (optional)      Lemon or Zinc Yellow (optional)
Titanium White,                     Viridian
Cadmium Red or                    Permanent Green (optional)
Cadmium Yellow                    Pthalo Green (optional)
Ultramarine Blue                    Mars Black
Cerulean Blue (optional)     Cobalt Blue (optional)

Brushes:       Brushes between 1/4 and 1/2inch width:

Rounds, Brights and Flats (one Flat should be 2″ wide), Brights are the most versatile brushes.        

Paper, Canvas Supports: Any type of surface is okay as long as it is primed with gesso: paper, canvas paper, wooden boards, masonite, watercolor paper, canvas board, cardboard.  Pick according to your budget. Sizes must be at least 18” x 24”

Palettes: Large paper plate, wooden board, or a butcher tray, aluminum Foil or Wax Paper.  Do not use watercolor holders or small surfaces.

Miscellaneous: Gesso for priming, palette knife with curved neck, several containers or cups, masking tape, acrylic extender or retardant, and cloth rags.

Bring sketchbooks (not smaller than 8.5” x 11) to every class.            

Tracing Paper or Vellum for development of sketches for proposal, large size 11” x 17.”



Week One: January 28: Introduction to Class, Workshops & Mural schedule.

Marilyn Huerta, grant writer for the Instructionally Related Activities (IRA) proposal, “Painting Art on Campus” that is funding the workshops will be present. Isaias Crow, mural painter who will design the final mural, execute the mural with students, & work on community liaisons will be present.

Introduction to Mural painting. Discussion of materials list, health and safety concerns, workplace set-up and preliminary handling of paint. We will gesso paper and I will demonstrate how to layer color and use mediums.

Homework: Gesso 4-5 sheets of paper. 1) Draw faces & hands in sketchbook. 2) Make one Self-Portrait & hands painting.

February, 3 Evening: Marilyn meets with student housing students at their weekly meeting.                  

Week Two: February 4: Monochromatic paintings and compositional strategies.  Working on faces and hands. Write down an incident in your life that includes a part of your body.  Writing exercise at the end of class.

Homework: Due on February 11 –Draw & write in your sketchbooks: paste in pictures, practice blind contour drawing. 2 paintings that flesh out the results of the writing exercise.                                        

Week Three – February 11, Isaias Crow Teaches Workshop: Welcome new workshop participants. Introduction to group.  Sharing ideas from homework to create a databank of stories and designs for the mural that will be submitted by Isaias and Doris.

Homework: Due on Feb 18: Draw in sketchbooks. Painting subject to be announced.

February 17 Proposal from Isais and Doris to administration is due.

Week Four: – Isaias Crow Teaches Workshop, February 18

This class meets at the UVA or ARTS 342 with workshop students   from campus housing. To be announced.

Homework Due on February 25: 5-10 sketchbook drawings. Paint 2 landscapes: realistic and abstracted.

Week Five, February 25: Doris Bittar Teaches. Learning Renaissance painting techniques.  Continue to work on themes and images expressed in your proposals. Creating structure from patterns in concert with architecture. Learn how to layer paint.  Homework: Due on March 4. 2 self-portrait paintings done from life in front of mirror (no photographs) in the traditional Renaissance style with the initial layering of earth tones, followed by “fatter” local color paints: 1st painting is of frontal position, the 2nd is three-quarters view.

Week Six, March 4: Doris Bittar Teaches. Inside-Outside Theme.

Homework: Due on March 11. 2 paintings of same subject or theme that show and contrast the relationship between “inside” & “outside” spaces such as doorways, patios, halls. Draw in sketchbooks thumbnails for paintings. Sketchbooks to be collected and returned during class.                                             

Week Seven, March 11: Doris Bittar Teaches. Landscape/Architecture painting of vast space & close up details, Homework: Due March 18: Two nightscape paintings, working with darker color palette. Continue to modify sketches of sites for mural.

Week Eight: March 18: Doris Bittar Teaches Field Trip to see Patricia Patterson’s Show at California Center for the Arts, Narrative in Painting and strategies of painting on large surfaces, telling a story, the use of text & symbols. Homework Due on March 25: One painting of a story using text & imagery.

Week Nine, March 25: Doris Bittar Teaches: Collaborative Work

Homework Due: One or two paintings expressing a theme or conceptual idea of your choice based on an actual public location – to be approved by professor.                               

Week Ten, April 1: Begin Under-Painting of Mural

Homework due April 8: Work in teams of two or three. Develop Team Proposals. Take photos of site, measure the spaces that you are most interested in and make proportional drawings. Gather images and ideas for a mural. Use Photoshop if possible. Proposals usually include:

  1. Description: Write a statement/paragraph about your ideas, how they address themes and logistical issues
  2. Design and fit your images into a horizontal space.
  3. Show how your design fits into the space being considered.
  4. Create a budget for the project. Isaias and Doris will help with this part.               

Week Eleven, April 8: Work in teams of three or four and finalize drawing compositions of Mural over the underlayers. 

Homework due April 15: Finalize proposals, share with class.

Week Twelve, April 15: Isaias Crow Teaches Workshop:

 This class meets at the UVA with workshop students from campus housing.

Complete drawing/blocking of mural and begin layering of colors.

Homework due April 22: Begin to evaluate student proposals. Paint mural.               

Week Thirteen, April 22: Isaias Crow Teaches Workshop:

This class meets at the UVA with workshop students from campus housing.

Homework is to complete Mural Proposals, due on April 29:

Week Fourteen, April 29: Doris Bittar and Isaias Crow Teach: Homework is to complete mural during long weekend of work. Begin Critiques of Student Public Mural Proposals.

Week Fifteen, May 6: Critiques of Student Public Mural Proposals Due                     



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