A Methodology of Teaching Fundamentals of Art and Design


  • Hanibal Srouji Lebanese American University School of Architecture and Design Beirut, Lebanon


Fine Art research and approach, foundations in art & design, art composition analysis and development, teaching methodology, theory, teaching groundwork & practice


The focus of this paper is to present a methodology of teaching fundamentals of Art & Design course base on analysis of artworks, mainly paintings, aimed at supporting art & design teaching practice at the foundation year level. The main argument is that this kind of analytical research and its application has not (always) been comprehensive and may not have been guided by sufficient assessment of teaching of the fundamentals of

The cases here are derived from my teaching practice and research in design studios of the Foundation Studies courses at the School of Architecture and Design and are supported by the students’ outcomes in these related studio courses.

The conceptual background of the program puts forward that design develops its theory from practice through the iterative creative process of “thinking through making†as it was demonstrated by the teachers in the foundation courses at the Bauhaus. (Lecanides-Arnott, 2014; Ranjan, 2005).

As a teaching methodology in question, this paper argues in favor of a direct teaching approach to core ideas relating to composition at the foundation year level of Art and Design. This may question educational methodologies concerned with the teaching of the fundamentals of art & design in general, where students are to discover compositional core ideas, processes and application within rather intuitive and indirect learning processes. Although in other teaching methodologies, the elements of composition may be referred to and may be demonstrated in lectures, analysis, projects, processes and critiques, little evidence remains to show how students are consciously aware of their significance and use.

The methodology presented in this paper urges for a more direct process of discovery and assimilation of the core ideas related to composition by the students: as firsthand research and development on their behalf. This research maintains that when core ideas are presented, synthesized and applied at an early stage in art & design teaching, students forge a deeper understanding of composition that empowers their visual thinking processes, analysis capacities, synthesis, self-critique and application.

This research considers the transmission of core ideas related to composition as a fundamental objective in art and design learning and practice. It looks at ways of expanding the findings acquired through the analysis of artworks to notable applications in art & design, where core ideas become the basis for explorations of more complex or rather different compositional structures in diverse media.

The paper also argues that most “significant†artworks are based, whether it be intuitive (visual) or intentional (rational / mathematical), on a relative and proportional relation among the “parts†that constitute the “wholeâ€. When examined, the compositions demonstrate an inherent structural complexity comparable with a mathematical relativity among their visual constituents.

Core ideas are presented within an itemized framework of an analysis process. A case is made that the breakdown of an artwork to its essential components will help to produce essential compositional outcomes [regarded as "schemas" or blueprints] that can be used in further design applications and developments.

Then it looks at methods on how to reinvest the outcomes of the analysis in projects that would carry further the understanding and the applications of the acquired concepts, thinking processes and approaches.

Based on the notion of de-construction / re-construction, a case is made of certain possibilities of the use of the outcomes of the analysis as systems to produce novel art & design exercises and projects [new outcomes].

Such a methodology can be developed into a well-grounded and rich set of open art & design teaching approach appropriate to the needs of instructing students at introductory undergraduate levels in art, design and those in preparation for architecture schools; particularly in countries where undergraduate students have had little creative training or insufficient art education at secondary and high schools.



Author Biography

Hanibal Srouji, Lebanese American University School of Architecture and Design Beirut, Lebanon

Assistant Professor - Fine Arts and Foundation Studies
School of Architecture and Design


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How to Cite

Srouji, H. (2017). A Methodology of Teaching Fundamentals of Art and Design. Asian Journal of Education and E-Learning, 5(4). Retrieved from https://ajouronline.com/index.php/AJEEL/article/view/2980