Fall 2016
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

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This is an intensive visual arts program for students who have a good background in representational drawing, who are passionate about the natural world, and who are eager to learn more about it. How have past artists, philosophers, and scientists understood and depicted the physical world? How are contemporary artists reinterpreting and reshaping our fundamental relationship to the environment and to other species? What is the role of the artist in a time of environmental crisis? Through readings, lectures, seminars, and intensive studio work, we will examine these questions. Individually, we will take the approach of artist/naturalists and delve deeply into an exploration of one or more species, ecosystems, or natural processes that intrigue us. Program activities will include skill workshops in painting (watercolor, gouache, and acrylics) and scientific illustration, lectures, seminars, individual research, and thematic studio work. Each student will create a body of images that expresses his/her research into and personal vision of an aspect of nature.

In the first weeks of the quarter each student will present a proposal for an in-depth, individual field study of a site, organism, natural process, or system. During week six, each student will conduct a field study at a site either on- or off-campus in the U.S. In week eight, students will present their field research and creative work to the program. 

Students will need to commit at least 40 hours per week to their program work and must be willing to work in close quarters in the studio on campus. Students will be asked to regularly present work and to engage in critical assessment, dialog, research, and writing. 

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

painting, drawing, scientific illustration, and the visual arts.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 

Students should have a solid base of skills in representational drawing.

Online learning:
  • No Required Online Learning - No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional.
Special expenses:

Students who choose to travel a significant distance from campus for the field study should plan to cover travel and living costs personally.


$50 for common studio supplies to be available to students for creating artworks.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Day

Advertised schedule:

First class meeting: Tuesday, September 27 at 9am (Art Annex 2104)

Located in: Olympia

2016-05-11This program is now offered fall quarter (not spring).