Syllabus & Course Outline

Spring Term: January 4 – April 31, 2023

 

Founder + Instructor:  Michael Azgour, MFA | mazgour@gmail.com

 

 

Calendar

The calendar year is divided into three terms, which are each four months in length as follows:

 

Spring Term:

Jan – Apr

Summer Term:

May – Aug

Fall Term:

Sep – Dec

 

 

Class Meetings

Azgour Art Group meets twice per month for 60-minute live Zoom sessions on specified Wednesdays at 11am, Pacific Time. Class Meetings are recorded and available only to AAG members. Office hours follow each Class Meeting and are not recorded.

 

 

Class Meeting Schedule


Spring Term: January 4 – March 31, 2023

 

Spring Term: January 4 – March 31, 2023

 

Session

Date

Unit Alignment

Spring Orientation:

Wed Jan 4

 

Class Meeting #1:

Wed Jan 18

Unit 1

Class Meeting #2:

Wed Feb 1

Unit 2

Class Meeting #3:

Wed Feb 15

Unit 3

Class Meeting #4:

Wed Mar 1

Unit 4

Class Meeting #5:

Wed Mar 15

Unit 5

Class Meeting #6:

Wed Mar 29

Unit 6

Class Meeting #7:

Wed Apr 12

Unit 7

Final Critique:

Wed Apr 26

 

 

 

Orientation

All members are invited to attend the Spring Orientation. During this introductory session, the instructor will discuss the objectives and flow of the group and explain all features of the web platform in detail.

 

Spring Term Orientation is scheduled for Wed, January 4 at 11 am, PT.

 

 

Objectives

The number one objective in this group is to take your painting to the next level. We do this by focusing on the following areas:

·      to thoughtfully address concepts of interest in your painting

·      to apply a sound process in the creation of your paintings

·      to produce results which are consistently visually compelling

·      to align the above in developing a unique voice in your paintings

·      to build and maintain a fruitful art-making practice

 

 

Methods

Azgour Art Group is comprised of four parts which complement each other: (1) Class Meetings and Critiques; (2) Creative Work; (3) Forums; and (4) Content.

 

1. CLASS MEETINGS + CRITIQUES

 

Class Meetings – We meet twice per month for 60-minute live Zoom sessions. The instructor presents concepts and processes and leads discussion on topics designed specifically for painters. Class Meetings are recorded so you can watch and re-watch them anytime.

 

Critiques – Sign up for Live Critiques and Private Critiques with the instructor. Live Critiques are 10-minutes in length and are scheduled immediately following every Live Class Meeting. All members are invited to attend. These can be recorded or not, your choice. Private Critiques are 30-minutes in length and are scheduled at your convenience directly with the instructor.

 

 

 

2. CREATIVE WORK

 

Creative Work is at the heart of our group and include Projects, Assignments, Exercises, and Challenges. Members are free to complete Creative Work however they like in regards to amount, order, and timing.

 

Since there is a large amount of content, with new content being added periodically, it’s best not to attempt to complete everything in one term. Rather, be selective about what you’d like to take on based on what would have the best impact for you at a given time.

 

Projects – The main focus of our group is to create strong and original paintings. A Project is a group of paintings defined by your own scope and pace. You are encouraged to work on these paintings and have the opportunity to receive instructor and peer feedback by posting them in the Forums spaces and/or by scheduling a Critique.

Your project can be seen to have three parts:

 

1.   Proposal – you can propose a new project by posting text and sketches based on the reflection and goal-setting you do in Unit 1

2.   Paintings in Progress – you can post photos documenting the progress of your paintings; content aligned with this phase is in Units 2-5

3.   Completed Paintings – you can post photos of your finished paintings; content aligned with this phase is in Units 6-7

 

You are invited to post projects in the Project Forum space for the current term at any phase for peer and instructor feedback. Every project post will receive instructor feedback, generally within 72 hours.

 

Challenges – 28-Day focused practice designed to take 5-15 minutes per day. Challenges are a great way to train yourself to focus on getting things done, rather than struggling in pursuit of perfection. Timing yourself on Challenges makes it easier to fit them into your daily routine and puts the focus on quantity and repetition instead of quality and completion. There is no right or wrong way to complete them.

Do you need some extra practice in one area? Are you at an impasse articulating or moving forward with your project? Do you want to challenge yourself with daily creative activity? Challenges might be right for you.

 

Assignments – optional assignments, one for every unit. Mainly focused on painting with experimentation on the current topic, these can be done on small canvases or heavyweight paper. They are designed for to take about 1 hour each. You are invited to post assignments in the Assignments Discussion page for the current term for peer feedback.

Exercises – optional exercises, one for every topic. Mainly focused on drawing and planning exercises related to the current topic. These are designed to take about 30 minutes each and can be done in your sketchbook.

 

The Creative Work you do might be based on your preferred Focus Track.

 

Focus Tracks – Since there are so many resources in Azgour Art Group, members are not expected to complete everything. Instead, they are encouraged to select activities based on their individual interests and Focus Track.

At the start of each term, it’s recommended you set some goals, which is explained in Unit 1. Based on your goals, you might decide to align with one of the following Focus Tracks.




A.  Project Focus – For members whose major focus for the term is developing a Project (a series of paintings). These members will generally spend more time on their Projects and less time on Assignments, Exercises, and Challenges. Note, Exercises in bold in the Outline below will be most vital to members with a Project focus.

 

B.  Growth Focus – For members whose major focus is growth in key specified area(s). These members will generally spend more time on Challenges.

 

C. Experimental Focus – For members whose major focus is discovering and experimenting with new processes. These members will generally spend more time on Assignments and Exercises.

 

Note, this is not a formal designation and members are welcome to create a hybrid Focus Track for themselves.

 

 

 

3. FORUMS

 

Members are invited to share their Projects and Assignments with the community by posting them in the Forums spaces. This is a wonderful space where community members can give feedback and exchange ideas with their peers.

 

To participate in the Forums spaces, you will need to first create a login. Note, this is a different website from the main Azgour Art Group platform and will need its own login.

 

Once you have created a login, you can thereafter access Forums at forums.azgourartgroup.com. Bookmark this page for easy access.

 

4. CONTENT


Members have access to a growing library of Topics, Video Demos, and External Resources, all of which is available to active members.

 

Topics - Original illustrated articles provide a strong foundation for specific topics related to various painting concepts, processes, and mediums.

 

Video Demos – A growing number of professionally produced video demonstrations provide a deep dive into concepts and process. New videos are added periodically. These are divided among the 7 Unit pages. A compilation of all video demonstrations is located in the Video Demos page.

 

Short Lectures – Important segments from previous Class Meetings are compiled into compact short lectures. These are located in the Short Lectures page.

External Resources – A carefully curated library of resources on the web – articles, videos, websites, presentations, and books – to facilitate expanded study.

 

Content is divided among the 7 Units. Each unit has 1-3 topics with focused content on specific concepts.

 

 

Unit

Unit Title & Topics

Unit 1:

Looking Back & Setting Goals

1.   Setup and Materials

2.   Reflecting on Your Work

3.   Setting Goals

Unit 2:

Foundations & Art History

1.   Formal Elements and Principles of Art

2.   Depth in Art History

Unit 3:

Color, Concept & Composition

1.   Color Theory

2.   Concept Development

3.   Combining Imagery

Unit 4:

Painting Process – Part 1

1.   Expressive Painting

2.   Representational Painting

Unit 5:

Painting Process – Part 2

1.   Conflict and Harmony

2.   Layers and Surface

Unit 6:

Thoughtful Completion

1.   Realigning with the Concept

2.   Bringing it all Together

Unit 7:

Evaluating & Moving Forward

1.   Evaluating the Work and Starting Anew

2.   Professional Practices

3.   Closing Notes and Resources

 

 

 

Materials

Since this group is open to students working in the style and medium of their choice, specific needs will vary.

 

I recommend purchasing a moderate quantity of mid to high quality paint. Student grade paint will adversely impact the quality of the resulting paintings. For example, choose the professional grade Winsor & Newton over their student grade, Winton. All professional grade paints are sufficient for this course. Selecting between the professional brands is a personal choice.

 

The above is also true of brushes. Mid to high quality brushes will yield better results and will also last longer, as long as they are properly cleaned after use.

 

 

Suggested Art Materials



·      Paint — medium to high quality paints in your chosen medium. I recommend a warm and cool version of each primary, plus black, white, and a few browns. A basic list of paints might include: cadmium red, alizarin crimson/naphthol red, cadmium yellow, lemon/zinc yellow, ultramarine blue, pthalo/prussian blue, ivory black, titanium white, van dych brown, burnt sienna, yellow ochre. Additional colors might include: cerulean blue, emerald green, magenta, and any others you are drawn to. Different brands might have similar colors with different names, which is fine. If you are using watercolor, I recommend buying a large tube of white gouache to practice additive techniques.

·      Paint Mediums — for acrylics I recommend matte medium and clear gesso; for oils I recommend linseed oil and mineral spirits (such as Gamsol)

·      Brushes — mid to high quality brushes suitable for your chosen medium; a variety of shapes and sizes.

·      Palette — I recommend disposable palette paper pad (50 sheets, 16x20”), but use what you’re most comfortable with

·      Canvas for final project (for students using acrylics and oils) — three canvases in your choice of size and quality — size will depend on your individual project; I recommend medium to larger surfaces (min 18x24”)

·      Canvas boards for assignments (for students using acrylics and oils) — at least four in your choice of size and quality; I recommend small to medium surfaces (max 20x24”)

·      Watercolor paper for final project and assignments (for students using watercolors) — at least eight sheets in your choice of size and quality; I recommend medium to high quality

·      Sketchbook (spiral, min 8x10”)

·      Tracing Paper (sheets, min 8x10”)

·      Graphite Pencils (variety)

·      Pencil Sharpener

·      Eraser

·      Spray Bottle (for acrylics and watercolors only)

·      Other Optional Materials — cups/jars, paper towels, scissors, x-acto knife, cutting mat, glue stick, drafting or watercolor tape, masking tape, double-stick tape, magazine(s) from which pages can be cut; with photos of people, buildings, and/or landscape

 

 

About the Founder + Instructor

Michael Azgour, MFA  |  mazgour@gmail.com

Michael Azgour is a contemporary figurative artist whose paintings contemplate the space between perception and reality with a hand that alternates between expressive figuration and geometric abstraction. In his painting process, Michael peers into our reliance on imagery – such as those used in mass media, advertising, and social media – as factual representations despite their fallibility to deliver the truth.

 

Azgour’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including solo shows at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, CA and Hohmann Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA, as well as Art Fairs such as SCOPE NYC (solo show), Art Market San Francisco, and Los Angeles Art Show. Michael will have a solo show in Fresno Art Museum, opening January, 2025. His work is part of renowned collections around the world, including Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University and Showtime Television Network in New York. Michael has exhibited alongside a number of highly respected artists and regularly speaks in artist lectures, workshops, and panels, including at TEDx Krakow (pictured above). Michael teaches drawing and painting courses at Stanford University.

 

Michael Azgour’s work can be viewed at azgour.com.



Michael Azgour is a contemporary figurative artist whose paintings contemplate the space between perception and reality with a hand that alternates between expressive figuration and geometric abstraction. In his painting process, Michael peers into our reliance on imagery – such as those used in mass media, advertising, and social media – as factual representations despite their fallibility to deliver the truth.

 

Azgour’s award-winning paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums in the United States, Europe, and Asia, including solo shows at the Art Museum of Los Gatos, CA and Hohmann Fine Art in Palm Desert, CA, as well as Art Fairs such as SCOPE NYC (solo show), Art Market San Francisco, and Los Angeles Art Show. Michael will have a solo show in Fresno Art Museum, opening January, 2025. His work is part of renowned collections around the world, including Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford University and Showtime Television Network in New York. Michael has exhibited alongside a number of highly respected artists and regularly speaks in artist lectures, workshops, and panels, including at TEDx Krakow (pictured above). Michael teaches drawing and painting courses at Stanford University.

 

Michael Azgour’s work can be viewed at azgour.com.









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