David Marshall – Teaching Philosophy



My teaching philosophy is to develop students’ understanding of visual principles and pictorial mechanics.  I also believe that fluency in a particular medium is fundamental to artistic progress.  My curriculum would be grounded in developing basic hand and eye skills and introducing students to the visual analysis of form, space, light and color. I would encourage students to utilize these skills in developing their own artistic vision.


In painting and drawing courses I would essentially teach students how to see as an artist.  Developing this ability is an ongoing pursuit for a perceptual painter that continues well beyond graduate school.  A student must learn to see the subtle relationships in nature and know how to treat what is important and how to eliminate or simplify what is less visually important.  In my classes students will become highly attuned to their visual perceptions; the quality of light, how surfaces on three dimensional forms are illuminated, tonal (color + value) relationships, using a simple measuring system for obtaining proportion.


I have a very good understanding of how to introduce students to painting and drawing.  I believe that limiting a student’s options (e.g. in palette colors) allows them to appreciate the wide capabilities within these limits.  As the student becomes more sensitized to materials and processing visual information, more options are given and assignments become more complex and culminate in painting and drawing the figure in an interior space.  My studio practice involves doing in-class demonstrations and working on student studies (when appropriate), discussing the work of other artists (including museum visits), giving assignments to be completed outside of class, and teaching students to thoughtfully critique their own work and that of their peers.  I believe that foundations and formal issues are best taught with studio assignments that push students to look for multiple solutions to a problem and to appreciate the ways that other artists have succeeded and failed.  In an advisory role with advanced students I would help a student draw on influences, learn from criticism, take chances, and develop the discipline required to make a sincere artistic statement and a unified body of work. 


My particular contribution to students’ development as artists fits well into a college curriculum.  I have had many job experiences (some as a shirt-and-tie corporate consultant, some pounding nails into a roof or splitting rocks, and some teaching) that give me perspective on what it takes to sustain oneself as an artist.  I also know how deeply rewarding it is to pursue one’s art and to continue one’s education throughout life.   I think that students benefit from instructors who can draw upon a wealth of different experiences.