Materials, Methods, and Techniques (Fine Arts 137)  Fall 2001

Smith Hall room A-402   Monday and Wednesday 1:00pm-4:00pm



Instructor: Paul Reuther [301-695-3690, [email protected]]

Office Hours: Monday and Wednesday 12:00-1:00 and by appt.


 He who understands good painting and sculpture, and at the same time sees and understands the life, must necessarily have acquired a good method in art.                                                                  Vasari  Introduction to Lives of the Artists. 1550




Course Description


The intent of this course is to introduce students to the materials, methods, and techniques of the fine arts with particular emphasis on painting. This course comprises four areas of instruction:

I.               Lectures on the history of technique

II.              Museum/Gallery visits

III.            Independent research (one page written assignments for workshop                                                                                   projects, usually in the form of a handout)

IV.           Workshop projects: the main focus of the course. Students will complete six projects in which preparation of materials will be carefully observed and serve as a foundation for the execution of finished paintings. Hands-on experience, observation of results, and trial and error experimentation will be the main strategies in coming to terms with the history of painting techniques and methods.




Week  1        Introduction, overview of materials, Watercolor (Egyptian                   

                     Tomb Painting)

Week  2        Supports and Grounds: Panels, Size, and Gesso

Week  3-4     Glair  (Medieval)

Week  5-6     Egg Tempera (Late Gothic and Early Ren.),   

Week  7-8     Egg-Oil Emulsion (Renaissance Transition),    

Week  9        Supports and Grounds: Canvas preparation

Week 10-11  Resin-Oil (High Renaissance, Indirect Tech.)

Week 12-14  Alla-Prima (Post-Renaissance, Direct Tech.),

Week 15-16  Final Exam, all projects due, critiques


Materials, Methods, and Techniques (Fine Arts 137)  Fall 2001

Smith Hall room A-402   Monday and Wednesday 1:00pm-4:00pm


Reference/ Reading


Laurie, A.P.; The Painter’s Methods and Materials; NY; 1960

Mayer, Ralph; The Artists’ Handbook; NY; 1991 5th ed.

Mayer, Ralph; The Painter’s Craft; NY; 1976

Stephenson, Jonathan; The Materials and Techniques of Painting, NY; 1989

Thompson, Daniel V.; The Materials and Techniques of Medieval Painting, NY; 1956

Thompson, Daniel V.; The Practice of Tempera Painting, NY; 1962

Wehlte, Kurt; The Materials and Techniques of Painting; NY; 1975


Materials Sources


Plaza Art                           Utrecht Art & Draft. Supplies         Pearl Art & Craft

1019 19th St.                    1250 I St., NW, DC                       5695 Telegraph Rd.

202-331-7090                    202- 898-0555                Alexandria, VA 703-960-3900





Supports and Grounds

1      10X12” Watercolor Paper, 300 lb hot pressed (smooth)

2      10X12” Untempered Masonite Panel (see instructor)

2    16X20  Stretcher bars (larger sizes can be used)

½  yard Unprimed Linen

½  yard Unprimed Cotton Canvas



9X12” minimum Glass Palette


Brushes Watercolor (sable)         Brushes Natural Bristle          Brushes Gesso

#000                                             #6 Flat                                   1 or 2”

#00                                               #4 and #8 Filbert

#3                                                 #6 Round

½ to 1”


Pigments, media, and solvents  will be provided





Materials, Methods, and Techniques (Fine Arts 137)  Fall 2001

Smith Hall room A-402   Monday and Wednesday 1:00pm-4:00pm


Miscellaneous Materials


Tracing or Transfer Paper (about 5 sheets 10X12”)

Box #4 Tacks

#2B Pencil and Eraser

Medium Palette Knife

6 4-8oz. Glass jars with lids



Measuring Equivalents





 15ml=3 teaspoons=1 tablespoon


 50ml=4 tablespoons=1/4 cup


250ml=16 tablespoons=1 cup


500ml=2 cups=1 pint


4 cups=2 pints=1 quart=1 litre (about)


3      quarts=1 gallon=4 litres (about)







75% will be derived from the six required projects. Preparation of materials, timeliness of completion, creative approaches to problem solving, and diligence in execution, are among the factors to be assessed.


25% will be drawn from attendance, time management, completion of written assignments, class participation, and written exams.



Note: Attendance is a serious issue in this course. Lectures and demonstrations will not be repeated. It is the student’s responsibility to keep up with the material covered.




Several short written papers related to image choice will be assigned. These are designed to improve preparedness when confronting the technical problems in copying an image. Specific reference to materials and techniques are the chief focus of research.


Studio Use


The Materials and Techniques studio (room A402) is accessible to enrolled students during class and after hours for the purpose of completing assigned projects. Students are encouraged to make full use of the facilities.


Personal belongings should be marked and kept in proper order at assigned work areas


Studio Maintenance


The studio should be kept clean and safe at all times. Due care in the use of studio materials and equipment is the expected regimen. The Rule: If you use it…clean it and put it back in its proper place.