Studio Art

Field Drawing (113) is an introductory studio art course that every spring integrates students’ education in drawing techniques with observation of the natural world.  Students often work directly from natural forms, such as trees around campus, as well as the Arboretum’s collections of animal skeletons and birds’ nests.  The class takes a field trip to McKnight Prairie to work on landscape-scale watercolors.  View examples of work from Field Drawing Classes.

Observational Drawing (110), the other introductory 2D course, spends more time in the studio during fall and winter terms but utilizes the same resources from the Arb's collections as Field Drawing.  Devoted students have been found trekking all the way to the Arboretum Office in winter to continue drawings of deer skulls and antlers.


Photography courses, taught by Professor Linda Rossi, frequently conduct projects in the Arb.  These include Color Photography, which has created installations in the Arb and documented them over time, Intro to Photo (240), in which one of the units is an exploration of landscape in the natural world, and Advanced Photography (339, 340), which did a portrait of a tree over time after taking a tour of the Arb with Nancy Braker. Students have also done projects emulating photographers who work in natural spaces, made cyanotypes (capturing images with light sensitive material), and made pinhole cameras to take long exposure images.  A newer introductory course, The Digital Landscape (140), travels around Rice County to photograph including the Arboretum, agriculture fields, and landfills. The students are encouraged to “look a little deeper” and consider through their work the morality of land use practices, such as invasive plant management and farming practices.


Introductory and advanced Sculpture classes (122, 322) with Professor Stephen Mohring allow students to complete final projects using materials from the Arb and occasionally sited in the Arb.  The wood used in the sculpture studio is sourced from the Arb and cut in Carleton's very own sawmill, across the lane from the Arboretum Office.  View work from Sculpture Class.


The Studio Art Comprehensive Exercise consists of an independent studio project which runs from the beginning of fall term through an exhibition in the Perlman Teaching Museum in spring term.  See examples of Studio Art comps that utilize the Arboretum.