September Painting Classes: Concepts in Contemporary Painting I, II, III, Acrylic for Beginners

Acrylic Painting for Beginners

One Autumn Evening, 2017 by Atya Khan

An introduction to acrylic painting for beginners who want to learn about materials, colours, and other aspects of painting. Learn essential techniques in acrylic painting/colour mixing to form your own creation on canvas. Experiment with paints and a variety of conceptual and technical approaches to abstract painting. You will explore the use of colour, shapes, lines, and texture. Abstract techniques and systems will be included, with the emphasis on technical skills and personal expression.

Instructor Atya Khan is a visual artist/educator living in Edmonton. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Punjab, Pakistan. As an abstract expressionist artist for over 20 years, she has loved colours in acrylic and oil paints. She works to create an experience for further self-discovery and creativity inherent in the artistic process. She provides a comfortable and inspiring environment where people can tap into an intuitive realm. To her, there is no concept of right or wrong while creating a unique piece of art.


Two Saturdays, September 23 and 30 from 12-4 pm

Course Cost: Members $28, Non-Members $35

What to bring:
Stretched canvas: size 9×12 (one for each class, can buy from any art supply store or a dollar store)

Paint – titanium white, black, yellow, red, ultramarine blue (from any art supply store or a dollar store) (the more colours you have, the more variety and less mixing)

Variety of brushes – round synthetic no 4 or 6 or 10, flat hogs hair 6,8, 10 or 12

Other items – palette, pencil, eraser, paper towel, (yogurt or sour cream containers with lids)

For more information, or to register, please call 780.426.4180
or email Timothy Grieco at

Concepts in Contemporaty Painting I, II, III

Neo Rauch, Der Bewunderer, 2016 courtesy of Galerie Eigen + Art, Berlin.

Harcourt House Artist Run Centre is pleased to offer a new course delving into formal and conceptual issues in contemporary painting. This is an ideal class for students preparing to apply for graduate school. Participants are encouraged to develop a personal dialogue with current concepts of painting, how they relate to pivotal movements in art history, and to recent happenings in the art world. It is recommended, but not mandatory, to take all three sections in succession. All media and materials are welcome as well as alternatives such as found object or performance based work.

Instructor Micheal Cor holds an MFA from the Hoffberger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), has completed MICA’s College Teaching of Art program and brings unique perspective to this more than traditional painting course.
Course cost: Members $150, Non-Members $175 (per section)

Section I: Sept 19, 21, 26, 28, Oct 3, 5 from  7 – 10pm
Section II: October 17, 19, 24, 26, 31, Nov 2 from 7-10pm
Section III: November 21, 23, 28, 30, Nov 5, 7 from 7-10pm


For more information, or to register, please call 780.426.4180
or email Timothy Grieco at


Class Curriculum and Bibliography:


(Developed for Harcourt House’s Public Art Education Program)

“…[art] cannot be about something that has already been perfected. In certain circumstances such predetermined views of how things should be could even be the death of art.”

Joseph Beuys (Beuys and Harlan 2004)


“Neither missiles nor rockets nor sputniks will render man the conquistador of space.”

Yves Klein



Course Description           

Today painting has a long history to contend with. That history has blurred the boundaries of what painting can be and how painters paint today. From the historical lens of painting we will take the leap with Yves Klein and explore works like Allan Kaprow’s Happenings and Bruce Nauman’s performance as a means for painting to develop in a postmodern context. The course will help participants develop a personal dialogue with contemporary concepts of painting and how they relate to pivotal historic movements in the history of painting and recent art history as well as the ongoing dialogue of the contemporary art world. How these three elements inform our current perspective will develop throughout the three sections of the course. Each section will be offered independently. It is recommended, but not mandatory, to take the sections in succession.

Part I    Concepts Inside and Outside Modernism

Part II   The Death of Painting and the Immaterial

Part III  Painting Today

Each section will be made up of 6 classes, which will include both a one-hour seminar and a two-hour studio session with a 4 hour critique on the final day of each section. Participants are not required to be painters; all media are welcome. In addition to readings and critiques, the course concerns itself with both formal and conceptual issues and emphasizes verbal skills during critique sessions. Students will be asked to supply one article, recently printed, for the class to read and discuss. The articles can range from philosophical essays, art critical reviews, or any topic relevant to today’s point of view on culture and society. These topics are not limited to art but should be presented with an emphasis on contemporary concepts in painting.



In the first section of this course student will gain a broad understanding of modern concepts in painting and how the history of those concepts led to the death of painting as the modernists envisioned it. In the second section examples of historic and contemporary artists work will be used to form an understanding how painting has been brought back to life through contemporary practices and immaterial concepts. And finally, in the third section, participants will further investigate contemporary practices today and how they can develop as a studio artist and understand painting today. Students will become confident in their abilities to critique a range of studio work that is outside of their own studio practice or comfort zones. This will enable the students to engage art and life from a much broader vantage point. Ultimately this class will aid in developing a competent and genuine voice in the lives of the students and in their dialogue with contemporary art. By the end of the course the student should understand studio practices and the studio critique as subjective processes that provoke and nurture creativity. The student will develop a critical voice that is their own and that represent their experiences, knowledge, and beliefs as specific from what has come before or what is developing today.

Students are recommended to review or subscribe to at least one of the following art magazines as source material for discussion. These art magazines are a starting point and are not meant to be all encompassing as source material for the participant led discussions. Other digital or printed media (art or journalistic) can be used as long as they represent a contemporary perspective; contemporary meaning to belong to or occur in the present.



Border Crossings                                                                  

A quarterly magazine published in Winnipeg on contemporary Canadian and international art and culture



A Canadian magazine covering architecture and design, published in Toronto



A quarterly magazine dedicated to art, fashion, and culture in Canada. Each issue is devoted to a particular theme.



A quarterly literary magazine. Geist is the most widely read Canadian magazine on literature. Geist emphasizes Canadian content and ideas with a literary focus.



A monthly Canadian music magazine that features in-depth coverage of new music across all genres with special focus on Canadian and cutting-edge artists.




The Brooklyn Rail                                                       

A non-profit journal of arts, culture, and politics based in Brooklyn, NY. Coverage includes local reporting, art criticism, fiction, and poetry, as well as coverage of music, dance, film and theatre.


BOMB Magazine                                                                    

A quarterly magazine edited by artists and writers. It is composed, primarily, of interviews between artists working in a variety of disciplines such as visual arts, literature, music, film, theatre and architecture.





Published three times per year in English and German. Parkett is an international magazine specializing in contemporary art.



A contemporary art magazine, published eight times a year from London, UK.



A British arts and culture magazine. Aesthetica Magazine covers literature, visual arts, music, film and theatre.



Annotated Bibliography:


Camus, A. (1955). The Myth Of Sisyphus And Other Essays. Justin O’Brien New York New York Vintage International 1991 (Vol. 3, p. 224). Vintage Books.

In this book Camus outlines his Philosophy of the Absurd. This book has strongly informed my philosophy of aesthetics. Camus was an existentialist author of fiction. His philosophical texts are uncharacteristically clear to readers new to philosophy.


Greenberg, C. (1961). Art and Culture; Critical Essays. Boston,, Beacon Press.

A collection of Clement Greenberg’s most influential essays. This is a must read for anyone interested in Modern painting today. Whether it is agreeable or not every painter should read this. It is a part of art history and art criticism that is unavoidable.


Diderot, D. and J. Goodman (1995). Diderot on Art. New Haven, Yale University Press.

Diderot was a French philosopher, art critic, and writer during the Enlightenment era. This is a collection of his criticisms of the French Salons of 1765. He is considered to be the first western art critic by many art historians and scholars today. The translation is surprisingly clear and sometimes brash. It is an interesting read for figurative painting. Michael Fried references Diderot in his book Absorption and Theatricality.


Stella, F. (1986). Working Space. Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University Press.

This is an important book for abstract and figurative painters today. Frank Stella explains his lineage and the importance of pictorial space in abstract painting.


Fried, M. (1998). Art and Objecthood: Essays and Reviews. Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Michael Fried’s seminal text. The book has essays leading up to and including his mature writing. It is an insightful biography of Fried’s developing point of view.


Bourriaud, N. (2002). Relational Aesthetics, Les Presses du Reel.

A must read for anyone making art today. Bourriaud ties modern art to contemporary postmodern views in an interesting and concise essay.


Rubinstein, R. (2009). Provisional Painting. Art in America. New York.

A contemporary poet and art critic writing about painting today.


Warhol, A. (1977). The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again. New York, Harcourt Brace Jovanovic.

An easy, and revealing read. It is as entertaining as Warhol might have been in person.


Johnson, K. (2011). Are You Experienced?: How Psychedelic Consciousness Transformed Modern Art. Munich New York, Prestel Verlag; Prestel Publishing.

Art critic Ken Johnson looks at art through the lens of psychedelic experience and culture.


Itten, J. (1976). The Elements of Color: Study Material. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold Co.

Anyone interested in colour should at least flip through this book if not study it vigorously.








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