This program provides a rare focus to studio work. Students will improve their skills in drawing and printmaking, and use this practice as a way to better understand and appreciate their surroundings. They will also examine environmental issues, study indigenous culture and local communities, and immerse themselves in experiential study.
Message from Faculty Director
The goal of this program is to bring together a studio art practice with off-campus study: drawing from nature in a new environment, producing narrative artwork in response to travel, and studying environmental and cultural issues in context. Students will work to improve their drawing skills and to see drawing as a unique way to understand the world. Work from the entire term — both drawing and printmaking — will form a visual journal in which they record their experiences of travel abroad. Additionally, students will learn about physical landscapes, local communities, indigenous artwork, and being engaged and thoughtful travelers.
This program was run by Fred Hagstrom for decades, and the first year it was in partnership with the biology department. It is now directed by Eleanor Jensen ’01. The trip has been an incredibly formative experience for me; I participated in it as a student, assisted Fred numerous times, and now lead it. We benefit from a strong foundation and longstanding relationships, but the program also continues to evolve – as I work to successfully blend together art, ecology, indigenous culture, and place-based learning.
This is a really unique program that has profoundly affected many people, and I look forward to creating a similar experience for current students. There is a drawing prerequisite, and drawing is the backbone of the entire trip. Students attracted to this OCS program should have an interest in drawing, spending time outside (hiking and swimming), and actively learning. Other important characteristics include: being flexible and organized (we move locations often), motivation, and comfort in a close-knit community. Please reach out to me with any questions.
Professor Eleanor Jensen, Lecturer in Art
- Learn a thoughtful and rewarding way of traveling; increasing your sense of organization, responsibility, independence, and confidence required during extensive travel
- Understand the history and culture of the region, including the longstanding effects of colonialism, and expand your understanding of indigenous people
- Learn about Aboriginal art, often overlooked in typical studies
- Understand a connection between art and nature, both through observational drawing and through a study of Aboriginal art
- Broaden your awareness of the natural environment and ecological issues through your exposure to diverse landscapes and the study of them
- Improve drawing skills, working towards a steady habit of drawing and the focus and patience required for it
- Learn printmaking skills, developing a sense of narrative in your work, and participating in a collaborative studio environment
- Strengthen your critical eye and language for self-evaluation and peer feedback
- Sharpen skills in using different sources (texts, films, speakers, guides, museums, etc.) to make connections and create personal reflection
- Take advantage of physical activity; improving health, curiosity about the physical landscape, and your enjoyment of outdoor experiences
Students must have completed Arts 110: Observational Drawing or Arts 113: Field Drawing or have previous comparable drawing experience approved by Professor Jensen.
Applicants should be comfortable in the water, possess basic swimming skills (snorkeling and diving days will be scheduled), and be prepared for extended hiking in rugged terrain.
Course of Study
ARTS 212: Media Drawing (6 credits)
This course involves directed drawing in bound sketchbooks, using a variety of drawing media, and requires ongoing, self-directed drawing in these visual journals. Subjects will include landscape, nature study, figure, and portraits. The course will require some hiking in rugged areas.
Instructor: Eleanor Jensen
ARTS 273: Printmaking (6 credits)
Intaglio Printmaking. Students will receive instruction in the processes of intaglio printmaking including drypoint, etching, aquatint, engraving, and collagraph. Students will explore the possibilities of printmaking in conjunction with their work in the drawing class.
Instructor: Eleanor Jensen
ARTS 275: The Physical and Cultural Environment (6 credits, S/CR/NC, SI, IS)
This is a wide-ranging course that asks students to engage with their surroundings and make broad connections during the South Pacific program. It examines ecological topics, such as natural history, invasive species, conservation efforts, and how the physical landscape has changed since colonialism. Students will also study indigenous people’s history, culture, art, and profound relationship to landscape. This course includes readings, films, local speakers, and diverse site visits.
Instructor: Eleanor Jensen
PE 136: Independent Activity – Snorkeling/Diving and Hiking
Snorkeling, scuba diving, and hiking on this program can be counted toward the PE requirement. Approximately 5-6 required snorkeling or diving days will be scheduled. Students will be assisted in obtaining snorkeling equipment. Those who wish to scuba dive must obtain necessary certification and medical testing before departure, as well as bear the cost of boat and tank rental and proper supervision.
Apartments, Hotels, Bunkhouses, and Tents.
The 2025 program is based in Australia. The first site will be near Sydney, starting the drawing course and introducing Aboriginal history and culture. The group will visit the city of Sydney and then travel to Blue Mountains National Park, engaging with indigenous art and environmental ssues, and continuing with the drawing course. The site prior to midterm break is Tasmania, visiting Hobart, Southwest National Park, and Maria Island. The second part of the term starts at Wilson’s Promontory National Park, before a 3-week stay in Melbourne for the concentrated printmaking course at the Australian Print Workshop. The group also visits Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland and Lady Elliot Island in the Great Barrier Reef before concluding in Brisbane.