Art 113 Color

Arizona State University

School of Art Studio Core Program:  Fall 2004
Section: 83696
Instructor: Katherine Nicholson
Class Time: Tues/Thurs 1:40- 4:30


Office: Core Office, Tower A Room 105

Rm: Tower A 208                                           

Office Hours: Thurs 4:30-6:30 p.m. and by appt

Phone: 965-8339


Course Description

This course will explore the principles of color theory as related to the visual arts.  In a sequence of hands-on exercises and projects, students are provided with an introductory overview that includes: additive (light) and subtractive (pigment) color theory; color relationships (Albers and Itten); spatial properties of color; subjective, emotional and symbolic uses of color; historical/theoretical views on color of interest to the artist; and basic physiological and psychological uses of color in different cultural contexts.  The course provides experiences with a wide variety of traditional materials and methods- as well as non-traditional approaches involving computers or other technologies.  Beyond the practical demonstrations given in class, students are encouraged to develop their own art/design vocabulary and repertoire of practical techniques that will serve their particular educational objectives.  Regular slide lectures, computer presentations, and critiques are structured informally to encourage dialogue and to provide the student with an opportunity to translate visual evidence into words.


Required Texts

Color, Zelanski and Fisher, Prentice Hall, 2003 (4th edition)

The textbook is available in the book store and is on reserve at Hayden Library.

I also suggest that you look online at, many times there are used editions for you to purchase that are much cheaper than the ASU bookstore.


Course Website Course information on the Blackboard system. You will also need to

have an ASU rite computer account and email for this course.


Core Website:

Attendance at guest lectures and other handouts may be assigned at a later date.



There will be one or more assignments for each unit.  Assignments will be graded on understanding and successful use of concepts, creativity, and craftsmanship.  All assignments will be immediately turned in for grading following the critique, and again in a portfolio at the end of the semester.  Each student is required to keep a sketchbook of design ideas and preparatory sketches; this too, will be handed in at the end of the semester.


There will be a reading assignment for each unit.  Have the reading done before we discuss it in class.  Quizzes will be given on unit vocabulary and basic concepts.




Studio classes are centered around activities and discussions, therefore attendance is imperative.

Attendance is required for the entire class period of each session.   

·     Each student will be allowed three un-excused absences.  After these absences are used, the student’s grade will drop 5 points for each subsequent absence.  Arriving late and leaving early will count as one-half absence.

·     Absence will only be excused for compelling need such as illness, family or religious obligation or personal crisis. You must provide written documentation to be excused from class. You are responsible for all assignments and material covered when you are absent.  You are encouraged to trade phone numbers with someone in the class for that purpose.

·     You must come to class with materials and prepared to work. If you come to class unprepared you will be asked to leave and it will be counted as an absence. Attendance at critiques is required.

·     If you have a documented medical condition, family responsibilities, or other serious circumstances that will affect your participation in class or attendance, please discuss it with me at the start of the semester.


Class Participation

Each student must participate fully in the class. Students should be in class and ready to work at the time scheduled. Come to class ready to discuss the text, ready to talk about your work and other students’ work. There will be critiques for each assignment. Critiques provide an excellent opportunity for artists to learn. Each student is expected to participate in class discussions and critiques. In addition, all students are expected to participate in informal class discussions among your fellow students to encourage camaraderie among the group. Students are expected to take initiative in keeping the studio in good condition.



Students must complete all of the assigned projects on time and with a reasonable degree of craftsmanship and care, and regular attendance is the minimum expectation. In order to be graded on a project, I must see it in progress during class work days.  Late assignments will be automatically dropped one letter grade for each class day that they are late unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor. You will be graded on projects, class excercises, attendance, quizzes, participation in class discussions and critiques, and your sketchbook. You may redo any assignment for a higher grade at any time before the close of the semester as long as the assignment was turned in on time. You will be graded on a combination of design excellence, conceptual depth, intelligent participation in discussion, and, most importantly, individual improvement.


Quiz grades will be averaged from all the units.  No Make-up Quizzes.


Participation is worth up to 15 points for preparation and involvement in the classroom.




There are a total of 150 possible points.  A student will receive an “A” if he or she receives 90% or more of the total points, a “B” if he or she receives 80-89% of the total points, a “C” if he or she receives 70-79% of the total points, a “D” if he or she receives 60-69% of the total points, or an “F” if he or she receives 59% or less of the total points.


Assignment                                           Points

Unit I:   Subjective Color                       10

Unit II: Hue, Value, Saturation  10

Unit III: Emotional/Symbolic Color        10

Unit IV: Subtractive Mixing                   15

Unit V: Additive Mixing                        10

Unit VI: Color Schemes                        10

Unit VII: Color Interactions                   10

Unit VIII: Color Perception                   10

Unit IX: Compositional Cues                 15

Unit X: TBA                                         5


Sketchbook                                          5

Quizzes                                                10 (Average score)

Final Exam                                           20

Participation                                         10


Total                                                    150


Assignments are graded in three categories.  These three grades will be averaged to find the overall grade for the project.

1. Technical – skill with materials, satisfaction of problem requirements, and craftsmanship (a good rule is that the craftsmanship should be such that it enhances rather than detracts from appreciation of the work)

2. Conceptual – invention, comprehension of ideas presented for the project, communication of those ideas in the work, and communication of artist intent.

3.  Aesthetic – character or individual personality, impact of the work, formal structure, and expression.


*Note that in some assignments, technical may be weighted twice, as it is of primary concern.  In this case, I will let you know beforehand.



Lockers are available in the main Art building.  Sign up in the Undergraduate Advising Office.  Bring your own lock.

Cheating and Plagiarism

Cheating and plagiarism defined as by the ASU Code of Conduct as “representing the words or ideas of another as one’s own” will not be tolerated. The work you submit for this class must be yours. You are not to copy from your classmates’ work or any other source, including books, journals and the Internet. Quotations and paraphrasing must be cited. If you are in any doubt about when or how to make a citation, please ask. Any student found cheating will receive a grade of zero for the assignment or quiz and will be sent to the Dean of the College of Fine Arts for disciplinary action as serious as expulsion from the University.



  1. There may be adjustments to the syllabus and calendar as the term progresses.
  2. If you would like to talk about your grade, please come see me during my office hours.  I will not discuss your grade during class or in front of your classmates.



Supply List—Art 113 Color

The materials for the course are expensive, but necessary.  They will serve you well beyond the time-frame of the course. 

Acrylic Paint

Liquitex Acrylics or other professional grade of acrylic paint (not “Basics” or other student grade paints)

·     Cadmium red medium

·     Crimson red       

·     Cadmium orange

·     Cadmium yellow medium

·     Cobalt blue

·     Emerald green

·     Dioxazine purple

·     Ivory or Mars black

·     Titanium white

·     Azo yellow

Optional colors

·     Permanent green light                                                                 

·     Ultramarine blue & Cerulean blue instead of Cobalt blue

·     Magenta or Rose



Soft acrylic, oil, or water color brushes - synthetic white sable recommended

Round #2, #6  (or approx. as long as you have one large, one small.) 

            Flat #2, #6  (or approx.)                                              

You may also wish to purchase other brushes of various types and sizes later in the semester to tailor your materials to a specific project


Full set (314 colors) of Color Aid paper 3”x 3”


11” x 14” pad of smooth Bristol board OR buy mat/illustration board as you need it. 


Other Materials

Acrylic Matte Medium

Palette knife

Flat White palette or mixing tray  (Plexi Glass with white paper taped to bottom is acceptable)

Large water container (plastic)

Soap for cleaning brushes (liquid dish soap- you can share)

Paper towels or absorbent rags

Metal straight edge

X-Acto knife and blades (scissors might be useful too)

Cutting Mat or Scrap pieces of mat board

Masking tape- 1” wide

Glue stick and/or rubber cement

Drawing materials – pencils, oil pastels, prismacolors, markers, pastels, or whatever else you

         already have from other classes

Magazines to be cut up for collages and for image sources

Portfolio for projects -20”x 24” or larger (can be two pieces of cardboard taped together)

Box for materials


Please note:  You may want to add to this list as the projects become more involved and the semester progresses.


Materials and Supplies Sources

Arizona Art Supply                                              

118 W. Indian School Rd.


(602) 264-9514


1628 E. Southern Ave.


(480) 775-4102


Flax                      (Tends to be expensive)

1001 E. Jefferson St.


(602) 254-0840



2740 W. Indian School Rd.


(602) 279-4800


Utrecht                 (Frequent Discounts and coupons, look for flyers)

930 E. University Dr.


(480) 446-0800


Wet Paint             (10% Student Discount)

203 E. 7th St.


(480) 967-2002