Painting | Minneapolis College of Art and Design


Explore the world of painting at MCAD and immerse yourself in the college’s fine arts tradition that extends beyond a century.

Student in a studio, working on a painting on an easel. Two paintings are seen behind the student and supplies are on a table next to the easel.

As a Painting major, you will:

  • Explore the fundamental principles of painting and find your own creative direction and voice
  • Examine how line, light, value, intensity, and collage can describe different subject matter
  • Work from still lifes, digital photos, live models, and portraits 

MCAD Drawing and Painting graduates have developed into artists who have established themselves as preeminent creatives, whose work can be found everywhere from Broadway to the Walker Art Center.

Get a feel for the program:


What type of final projects will I be working on?

Students will work on independent projects in their own studios to create a series of paintings.

What type of materials will I use?

Painting major students pay an additional $150 material fee. Painting materials will be disbursed on the first day and include a variety of acrylic paint and brushes, paper, raw unstretched canvas, medium, gesso, and retarder. If students run out of supplies or would like to purchase additional colors, they are welcome to shop at the MCAD Art Cellar. Students are responsible for the cost of stretching a canvas. Canvas bars are available for purchase at the MCAD Art Cellar, ranging $20 to $75.

What other types of classes will be offered outside of my major class?

All students will take foundation classes in the morning and major classes in the afternoon. Foundation classes include art history and observational drawing.

Student Work: 

Painting student work featuring a pyramid shape out of 8 small, colorful paintings.

Painting student work featuring 22 small paintings to represent tarot cards with small colorful flowers displayed on a shelf in front of the paintings.

Painting student work featuring two figures and a yellow background on top with a blue/black background on the bottom.

Painting student work featuring seven small paintings on a white wall. Objects in paintings include headphones, a stack of doughnuts, a vintage suitcase, a perfume bottle, a teapot, a jar of flowers, and a poloroid camera



Painting student work featuring a diptych of two portraits of the same artist. Left image is warm tones, right image is cool tones.

Painting abstract student work featuring a background divided diagonally with black on the top/left and a cream color on the bottom/right. Two figures are drawing into the white space with six small images in the black space.

Painting student work featuring a row of colorful houses on stilts and opposite a pile of rubbish.

Painting student work featuring a tryptic of images of sunsets over cityscapes.

Painting student work of an interior kitchen space in warm tones.