The Women of Abstract Expressionism

The Abstract Expressionist movement must have been an exhilarating time to be a painter in the United States. For the first time artists consciously set out to create art that was distinctly American in form and content. They gathered in studios and bars in a heady atmosphere of competition and camaraderie to argue over the new methods and tenets of great painting, vying for just the opportunity to show their work on one end of the spectrum, to a place in art history on the other.

Duking it out with these great and future gods of painting, were a group of women who wanted for painting and themselves every bit as much as their male colleagues, were every bit as talented and every bit as brave. These are the women of Abstract Expressionism.

This class will examine the lives and works, as well as the concepts and methods, of the great women painters of Abstract Expressionism. / Materials fee of $5 in addition to course tuition. / Open to students ages 18 and above. / View complete policies.

Prerequisite: Previous drawing or painting experience.

What to bring: We will start painting on the first night, so please come prepared with everything on this list. Pen or pencil; notebook or sketchbook. One-24 x 36 inch, pre-gessoed canvas; a variety of brushes (we will be painting large-scale, so consider purchasing some large brushes in the 1 ½ inch-2 inch range); one-32 ounce container of Gamsol solvent; one-pint-sized jar (not bottle) of gesso; one-gesso brush; one-tablet of disposable palette paper; at least two-metal (not plastic) palette knives; one-16 ounce jar of Yes Paste (this is a brand name of archival glue); a good supply of cloth rags; a roll of artist tape (this is the white stuff, not the blue stuff); some kind of jar or can to hold your brushes upright on your painting table; an apron; yogurt containers to pour solvent into. Paint colors (large tubes): Titanium white; yellow ochre; cadmium yellow light or medium; cadmium red medium; alizarin crimson; ultramarine blue; cobalt blue; phthalo green; either cobalt or cadmium green (This is a basic list of colors. If you have more, bring more. If you see a color at the art supply store you think is pretty, (and you will) buy it.)

The above is what students will need on the first night. The class will later be working on larger substrates, so if you want to get it all in one shot, here’s what else you’ll need: two-4 x 4 foot pieces of unstretched canvas; one-4 x 4 foot piece of Arches Cover White paper; one-large (at least 3 x 3 feet) stretched canvas. The instructor also recommends (not required), that you purchase, “The Women of Abstract Expressionism” Yale. 

What to Wear: Clothes appropriate for messy creativity. An apron or smock may come in handy.

Register Before: September 4
If the minimum enrollment is not met by the deadline above, the class will be canceled on this date. Registration will remain open after this date if the minimum enrollment has been met.

Class Savings
Register on or before August 12 and save $25.
Register for more than one class at a time and receive $25 off each additional class (same-day registrations only).
Additional savings. Are you eligible?

Contact MCAD Continuing Education at or call 612.874.3765.

Course Details

CSLA 1803 FA19
Date Start: 
Monday, September 9, 2019
Date End: 
Monday, November 11, 2019
6:30–9:30 p.m
Main Building, Room 300
Age Group: 
Age Requirement: 
Open to students ages 18 and above
Days of Week: 
Drawing and Painting
New Classes
Previous drawing or painting experience.