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Continuing Education at PAFA

Classical Design for Contemporary Artists (Online)

with Charles Muldowney


Tuesdays, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Design is the application of the formal elements of aesthetics to an artwork to enhance its strengths. Explore composition, space, value, light, color, line, texture and pattern so that you can employ these powerful elements in your own work. Demonstrations and discussions of artists past and present will exemplify each principle.  Learn to apply these concepts through experimentation and targeted projects. 

Course Topics: 

Composition – This class will discuss the arrangement of forms, rhythms, colors, values, and lines in a work to create an interesting image. Principles like the Golden Ratio and other concepts will be made simple. Students will be able to identify these elements in the work of classical and contemporary artists. The works of Hopper, Bartlett, Vermeer, Millet, Poussin, and others will be discussed. 

Space – This class will investigate the creating of a sense of depth in a work using size, position of forms, value, saturation, edge and perspective. 

Perspective - atmospheric perspective, linear perspective, intuitive perspective will be discussed and demonstrated. The class will look at the work of Alberti, Masaccio, Durer, Leonardo DaVinci, Giacometti and others. 

Value and Light – This class will examine the creating of a range of dark and light in a work.  High key and low-key value will be discussed and demonstrated. We will study how to manipulate the value to create a sense of illumination and drama. The class will look at work of Prud’hon, Lorrain, Rigaud, Hassam, Degas, Seurat, Rembrandt, Hopper, Caravaggio, Vermeer, and Whistler. 

Color – This class will examine how color works and principles of color in art to create mood, space and harmony. Artists studied: Van Gogh, Matisse, Piper, Diebenkorn, Rothko and others. 

Line – This class will explore the use of line in creating planes, volume, mass, and space. Line weight, gesture, accent and passage will also be discussed. The class will look at the work of Van Gogh, Klee, Rembrandt, Kline and others. 

Texture and Pattern – this class will look at creating a rich visually interesting surface that provides contrast, variety, and decoration. Artists studied: Escher, Close, Mondrian, Pollock, Klimt, Essaydi and Fish. 

Learning Objectives

  • Students will recognize and apply the seven basic elements of classical design. 
  • Students will become familiar with several important art historical figures, and their influence on design. 
  • Students will experiment with a variety of techniques and materials to gain an understanding of how mark making influences design. 
  • Students will develop and discuss concepts and image development in the form of structured critique. 
  • Students will gain confidence in their ability to create interesting design within their own artwork. 

Registration open through course start date. Wait list registration available after course is full. 

Materials List 

CE Policy Guide Fall 2022 

Zoom Technical Requirements 

Image: Charles Muldowney, The Diagonal in the Golden Section. 

  • Session 1: Sep 20 - Oct 25th, 2022
    Tue for 6 weeks from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

    Will run

Online Class

For more info, call us at (215) 972-7632

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