Art Department - Painting & Drawing



Basic classes build technical skills and expand concepts of color, space, and subject matter. Intermediate and advanced classes pursue more complex methods of image development. Each student is encouraged to discover a personal iconography.


While graduate study is in part self-directed, New Paltz students thrive with exposure to a variety of viewpoints. Each semester, one faculty member teaches graduate Painting/Seminar, and another teaches Drawing or Selected Topics.

In the next term, the faulty team then rotates, so MFAs have a chance to work with every instructor in different ways.


BFA in Painting and Drawing: Statement of Purposes

The dynamic visual language of painting and drawing is ideal for invention, exploration, and articulation of ideas. Long revered for their traditions, painting and drawing now intersect with new media and encompass a variety of approaches. In addition to images on canvas and paper, students experiment with materials and methodologies that challenge the possibilities of the discipline. The program is committed to graduating students with substantial portfolios of work, the verbal/critical skills to participate in contemporary dialogue, and the practical resources to be successful working, exhibiting artists. The BFA also provides sound preparation for students who elect to continue with graduate study.


Program Objectives

Students will:

• Develop an understanding of color and visual organization in two and three dimensions, and the ability to synthesize these elements to serve visual and conceptual intent.

• Gain understanding of the significant aspects of painting / drawing as a creative practice: issues of process, subject matter, representation, illusion, communication; exploration of diverse media, formats, and conceptual modes; alternative / cross-disciplinary approaches, trends / directions in the field.

• Acquire competencies in oil painting, wet and dry drawing media, life drawing, collage/assemblage, and related materials and techniques sufficient to work from concept to finished product.

• Develop a personal visual language and advanced capabilities with content and materials.

• Attain the ability to think critically, analyze and problem-solve within the creative process.

• Build a vocabulary for and participate in oral and written analysis, discussion, and critique of artworks and readings.

• Develop an understanding and appreciation of the field's history, contemporary practice, and art in a cultural context.

• Demonstrate the ability to self-motivate, research and generate individual projects, work independently, and present work in a professional manner.


The Master of The Fine Arts in Painting and Drawing is a studio-intensive program that prepares students for professional practice with the capability to teach at the college level. The program encourages a balance of concentrated studio exploration, critical awareness, and dialogue on contemporary issues in the field. Our program is competitive, attracting a diverse group of national and international students.


Program Objectives

• To expand the scope of current work and enlarge the breadth of competence through creative endeavor, inquiry, and investigation

• To balance intensive individual studio activity with group dialogue

• Critical awareness, analysis, and reflection: consideration of work in a context of contemporary artists and culture; historical precedents; connections between art and other fields

• Rigorous exploration of content & process: diverse media, conceptual modes, and the physicality and alchemy of materials

• Challenging conventional practice; reaching beyond the scope of the familiar for new ways of thinking and working; striving to contribute to the evolution of the field

• Refinement of verbal and written rhetorical skills

• Research & exploration of opportunities, forums, and methods for maintaining a professional practice post-graduation