ARTS324 Intermediate Painting - Section B, Paul Beel, Summer I 2019 | SACI College of Art & Design Florence

ARTS324 Intermediate Painting - Section B, Paul Beel, Summer I 2019

Course Objectives

1.  Students will learn about basic techniques and materials of oil painting.
2.  Students will learn basic color theory and demonstrate an ability to mix a desired color.
3.  Students will learn painting vocabulary and historic precedents and be able to use this knowledge to discuss (critique) their own work as well as their peers.
4.  Students will complete four projects. 

The underlying philosophy of the painting course is the examining of the equilibrium between idea, vision, and process in order to help the student create a reciprocal relationship between the concepts that are to be conveyed, the cultivation and scrutiny of his/her vision, and the skills and systems that are brought to call to make the artworks.

Important Guidelines for Course

Italy can be very seductive. Its pace of life a welcome change, especially to American students. But it can also be very risky! You have chosen to enter a program that gives university level credits for work satisfactorily done. Remember your educational obligation! It is possible to have a rich cultural experience and a rewarding academic one at the same time. Students in the past who have maintained this equilibrium have gotten the most out of their study abroad experience.

A Note on Laptops, I-Pods, Mp3s, Walkman Personal Stereos, etc.

What a great invention! Every person can practically have a concert hall on his/her head. Music has always been a companion to the creative artist. But be aware of some of its negative aspects. These devices have the tendency of isolating one from everything else around. It’s needless to say what implications this has in the classroom. Students have often said how much they have learned, not only from the teacher, but from their peers as well; from discussions and comments made to students next to them. Get the most you can out of interaction with the people around you. Don’t live in a “bubble!” An alternative can be the use of a class CD player. It is strictly forbidden to use laptops for conferencing, E-mailing, or surfing on the internet for anything not having to do with class work (i.e., hotel reservations, train tickets, etc.). Cell phones must be turned off before entering the classroom.

Grading & Attendance

Grading is based on attendance, effort, improvement, and proficiency.

Attendance: It has probably already been stressed during orientation, but I want to reiterate the importance of class attendance. It is an important factor in the SACI. grading system. Attendance means more than attending class. It means coming on time, not leaving early or taking long breaks. It also means being “mentally present!”
Effort: This is self-explanatory.
Improvement: Here is where you are evaluated in relation to yourself; how you were when you entered the course, and how you are at the end.
Proficiency: Level of competence in the course material.
Final Grade: The sum of the above with the addition of a subjective evaluation in the case of borderlines.
Students enrolled at SACI through Bowling Green State University: Final grades can only be submitted as A, B, C, D, or F. There are no pluses or minuses.

Graduate Students
Students in MFA, MA, and Post-Bac programs are expected to complete additional assignments and to produce work at a level appropriate for students in a graduate program. They are graded accordingly and, if they successfully complete all course requirements for graduate students, receive graduate-level credit for the course.


You should have a flat, a “cat’s tongue," a round, and a pointed round. The synthetic brushes with a black handle (from Zecchi), or the hog-hair brushes are fairly economic.

The following is a list of colors for a basic oil or acrylic palette. You are free to choose which colors to buy (also according to your pocketbook). The addition of Alkyd colors and medium can also be complementary to the oil palette.

Color Names in English

Color Names in Italian

cadmium red light 14ml

rosso cadmio chiaro

alizarin crimson or carmine*

carminio di alizarina* this should be a dark, dark red violet

yellow ochre 14ml

Giallo ochra

cerulean blue 14ml

blu ceruleo

pthalocyanine blue14ml

Pthalocyanine blu

ultramarine blue dark 14ml

blu oltremare scuro

lemon yellow* 14ml

giallo di chromo limone

cadmium yellow deep* 14ml

giallo di cadmio chiaro

ivory black 14ml

nero di avorio

titanium white 40 ml or more

bianco di titanio

naples yellow 14 ml

Giallo di napoli

green earth 14 ml

terra verde 14ml

*The asterisk means that these oil colors should be of quality. Winsor and Newton, “Firenze1915,” Rembrandt, and Mussini professional grade are all high-quality paints. All the other colors on the list can be student grade (cheaper). Student grade colors are made by Brera, Maimeri, Lefranc Bourgeois. Winsor and Newton also have a line of student or economy grade oil colors.

For those of you who need to use acrylic paints (because of preference, or allergic reactions to oils), use discretion when shopping. Imported acrylics are very expensive. Italian acrylics are usually much cheaper, but also of inferior quality. For acrylic colors, the “Zecchi” brand acrylics are good and affordable.

Painting Supports
Students are free to choose the supports they will utilize for the term providing that their surfaces are adequately prepared (sized and ground). Masonite or poplar wood panels (just remember that they are heavy for shipping), Fabriano 5 drawing paper, print-making papers, or most heavy-weight papers, laminated paper boards, canvas, linen, etc.


There are a number of wooden and masonite boards stored in the painting storage rack in front of the sink. Use these as supports. There are probably enough for each to student to use two of them. After that recycle them for subsequent use.

Preparation of Surfaces
As mentioned above, as long as surfaces are adequately prepared (isolated from the corrosive effects of oil colors, for example), students have a wide range of options. For students used to only using gesso for preparing their surfaces for painting, beware of some of the Italian brand gesso grounds (gesso fondo per la pittura). Italian gesso doesn’t have the same protective properties that American gesso has. It is therefore recommended (if you are using alkyd or oils) to use rabbit-skin glue as a protective size before the gesso coating. Alternatives are acrylic medium mixed in with the Italian gesso, or using diluted vinavil glue (Italian version of Elmer’s glue) and applying it to the canvas before applying gesso. Another alternative is “Ammanitura,” a traditional ground which has rabbit-skin glue already in its mixture. But it needs to be heated with a double-boiler in order to be applied.

Other Materials for Painting





masking tape

nastro da carrozzeria

palette (wood or disposable)


palette knife

spatola da tavolozza

natural bristle brushes for oils

pennelli di setola

synthetic bristle brushes

pennelli sintetici

expensive sable brushes

pennelli di martora


Drawing Materials




blocco da disegno

charcoal pencils

matite di carboncino

kneaded eraser

gomma panna

For Those Who Want to Use Canvas or Linen
There are a number of used stretchers available at school. Have a look around the studios before you go out to buy them. The school also has several staple guns for student use, hammers, hotplates for melting glues, screwdrivers, mullers for grinding pigments, etc.).

Prepared and unprepared canvas and linen can be purchased at most art supply stores. Already stretched canvases are also readily available. The prices go from cheap (the economy grade acrylic gesso ground on thin linen) to expensive (oil ground on high quality linen on sturdy stretchers).


Week 1

Tuesday, May 21
9 am-1:00 pm
Intro, syllabus, visit to Zecchi
Lecture: Potions, pigments, and colors
2:00-6:00 pm
Demo and begin split complementary painting

Thursday, May 23
Group crit of Monday's work
Continue split complementary painting

Week 2

Tuesday, May 28
Spit complementary project continued

Thursday, May 30
Group critique
Plein air painting at Fortezza da Basso park

Week 3

Tuesday, June 4
Plein air painting at the Fortezza park

Thursday, June 6

Week 4

Tuesday, June 11

Thursday, June 13
Group in-progress crit

Week 5

Tuesday June 18

Thursday, June 20
Final evaluations individual critique sign ups.


General Safety & Emergency Instructions

Click here for a pdf of SACI's General Safety & Emergency Instructions.

Additional Safety & Studio Rules

It is essential that care and attention is taken in regards to studio practice. This will be addressed the first week of classes. But beyond rules and safety and health issues it is necessary to point out the importance of maintaining a certain order in the studio for the sake of all the students in the classes that utilize the space. At the end of class put your materials away and paintings off the easels and into the storage shelves.

Air-Exchange System
When working in the ground floor studios an air-exchange system can be utilized for maintaining proper ventilation and extraction of undesirable fumes and odors. The control panel is located on the wall opposite of the stairway between the printmaking and painting studios.

There are also skylight panels, which can be opened and closed using switches located in the small sky-lit studio off of the main painting studio, another on the wall next to the stairs going into the basement storage area, and also in the studio with skylights off of the main lecture hall.

Disposal of Materials
Do not ever throw used solvents, thick washes, acrylic mediums, etc. down the sink. Do not leave half-filled jars or containers of turps, mediums, or varnishes around in the studio. Small metal disposable containers for this use are supplied by the painting department. Pour out only what you need and throw away the residue. There is a special disposal barrel for this located just to the right of the sink in the painting studio. The same goes for throwing out saturated rags or paper towels. The disposal barrel for these materials is in the printmaking studio next to the plate cleaning tank.

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