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The painting curriculum at SMFA offers courses that build technical, critical, and conceptual skills with the goal of engaging contemporary painting practices in a multi-disciplinary, historical, and theoretical manner.

We believe in the importance of developing an individual point of view, fostered by creative play and constructive criticism, while building your awareness of painting's relationship to art history and contemporary visual cultures. You are encouraged to move through the painting curriculum, building skills and developing concept and voice. You may choose to focus on representation, abstraction, or hybrids of painting and technology, and are encouraged to mix classes from other mediums to form your practice. The goal is to enable you to pursue rigorous, self-directed work.

Sample Courses

PAI 0010 - Introduction to Water, Color & Paper
Explore new and traditional approaches to image making, materials, and painting by thinking through watercolor, gouache, and inks. 

PAI 0028 - Oil Painting: A Primer
In this course, you will be introduced to the materials, techniques, and concepts of oil painting—from understanding your tools and materials, to using color, value and temperature to create a sense of depth, space and volume in your work. 

PAI 0141 - Intermediate Figure Painting: The Body in Paint
Using the figure, or the body as a source, students will work interpedently and from the model to explore content relating to figurative painting, portraiture, narrative, or thematic work, research-based practice, or abstraction. 

PAI 0033 - Interdisciplinary Practices: Science, Art + Cultivating Knowledge
In this studio and seminar course we will investigate the role of painting and art in communicating and reflecting upon other topics including science and the humanities. 

PAI 0114 - Advanced Painting into 3D & 4D 
This advanced course broadens the student’s studio practice by investigating the connections between painting and other media including animation installation, performance, sculpture, and video.

Monumental Power

Felipe Lopez, MFA ’23, is using his art to grapple with the impact of colonization on symbols of power.

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