Don Barrie il:

Don Barrie
E-mail: [email protected]
Class Syllabus
This is a continuation of the design foundation courses. Students need to read about and continue to explore
the basic elements and principles of design, continuing to work with balance, proportion, contrast,
emphasis, and so on, the skills needed for more advanced work in a major arts area. Six class hours each
week will be devoted to demonstrations, slides, work time, and critiques. A minimum of four to six more
hours per week will be needed for homework assignments.
A closer look at the first half of the quarter will focus on a wide range of problem-solving
strategies involving studio work and computer work.
The study of problem solving related to "Concepts, Creativity and Critical Thinking" is designed to create a
connection between foundation-level course work and upper-level study in the arts.
Concept development is an essential aspect of art and design. Ideas provide the impetus for action and the
rationale of compositional change. In the absence of concepts, you may see little connection between
foundation-level course work and upper-level study in the arts. When the concept is rich, you can become
highly motivated, exploring many variations as you seek the most effective means of expression.
Concept development, introduced during the foundation art courses series, enriches every studio course
taught in the curriculum.
The first half of this course is divided into four parts:
1. Strategies for cultivating creativity and improving time management.
2. Concept development and visual problem solving
3. Critical thinking and specific ways to improve any design
4. Design exercises and projects relating to each of these three areas
Designed to help a student develop better ideas:
A concept can be defined as a well-developed thought. Any thought can serve as a beginning point.
Students will be encourage to explore their ideas fully, even when the results may be technically or
financially impossible to implement. Many students have never been encouraged to dream impossible
dreams, and the opportunity to do so is exhilarating and enlightening. A big idea can always be
distilled down to create a more feasible solution, whereas a truncated idea is just a tragedy. By
distilling big ideas down to their essential meaning, students can often strengthen their intentions and
heighten communication.
The best way to have good ideas is to have a lot of ideas. Dismissing a seemingly hopeless idea
prematurely discourages risk-taking and reinforces self-criticism. Students will be require to invent at
least twenty rough solutions to a problem, then have them choose the three best for further
development. The final piece will then be created using the best aspects of each solution invented in
this final round of brainstorming. By this method, students can use their critical judgment to support
and refine their creative thinking.
Developing a great idea is just the beginning. To reach an audience, the idea must be communicated
visually through composition and construction. Students will learn to use thumbnail sketches and
model-making to connect concepts to composition as a beginning point in a project or design.
.At mid-quarter the focus will split.
Beginning students will explore value and color.
Advanced students may be asked to work on an independent project outlined by the instructor.
The workload is substantial: Pace yourself!
MAJOR QUESTIONS for this course:
Don Barrie
E-mail: [email protected]
What are the basic visual forces we can use to activate a composition? How many ways can these
forces be combined? Many variations on each assignment will be generated as we investigate the
possibilities. By inventing multiple solutions to each assignment, you can choose the best solution
to finalize: If you want to have a good idea, have lots of ideas.
What technical skills are needed for completion of well-crafted and imaginative work? Craft can
be as important as composition. Poor craft can ruin a great idea.
How can ideas be expanded, refined, and communicated? In a college-level art course, everything
is not “beautiful in its own way.” Seek rich ideas and effective communication.
How can studio time be used most productively?
EVALUATION: Grades are based on three factors:
• Is the work conceptually inventive? Have you demonstrated a solid grasp of problem content? Is
there a substantial engagement with ideas?
• Is the composition visually compelling? Is every square inch fully engaged? Have colors been
chosen well? Is the image unified? Balanced? Well crafted?
• What was the nature of your learning process? Did you use class time effectively and come well
prepared? Did you take risks? How many solutions did you invent for each problem? How
frequent and substantial were your contributions to critiques?
During the first half of the quarter, assignments will be graded weekly. A cumulative portfolio will
be submitted at mid-quarter and quarter’s end. One project this term will be accepted one day
late. All other projects are due on time.
If you have concerns or special needs please communicate with the instructor within the first week.
Attendance is required to get the most from this class. A substantial amount of work is done in class.
Portfolios are cumulative, not selective: You must complete every assignment. Since it is impossible to
contribute to class discussions you do not attend, your performance will suffer every time you miss a
If you miss more than four classes, (two weeks) you should expect a final grade of C- or below.
Incompletes will only be given only when an extreme emergency occurs, such as the death of a parent, or a
serious medical emergency, such as a broken arm.
Generally, the first hour of the session will be devoted to instructions on the day’s work, demonstrations,
and critiques. Do not arrive late for class; it is better to be 15 minutes early than five minutes late! Each
session is packed with information: To end on time, we must start on time.
From this point on if you are unable to complete this course it is your responsibility to officially withdraw
through the registration office.