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2022 Drawing & Painting

Drawing & Painting students concentrate on the principles of drawing and painting through studio work, slide lectures, and demonstrations. Students are introduced to color, imagery, media, and various drawing and painting techniques. The class may also focus on printmaking, 3-D art, and/or mixed media. Students will display their work in public exhibitions. Up to 20 students are accepted.

Requirements for Applicants

2023 OSAI Audition Information Coming Soon!

1. Create an account and complete an online application. If you have applied to OSAI before, you can log in to an existing account.

2. Read the guidelines and tips below to prepare your portfolio and still life.

3. Choose up to three pieces of artwork for your portfolio and complete a Description of Work form. See the Portfolio Selection Guidelines below.

4. Create a still life. See Still Life Drawing Requirements and Tips below.

5. Photograph each piece of art individually: up to three pieces of your choosing and one still life drawing. See How to Photograph Artwork below.

6. Log back in to the application portal to upload the four images of your artwork and Description of Work form no later than noon on Monday, February 14. Image uploads are limited to 160 MB.

Portfolio Selection Guidelines

Artwork must be no larger than 18" x 24".

Artwork must have been created after March 1 of the prior year, and former OSAI students cannot submit artwork created at OSAI.

Your three portfolio pieces can be any combination of paintings, drawings, mixed media, and/or 3-D artwork. (Photography is not permitted.)

When selecting artwork, choose whatever best represents your personal strengths and style. Submit portfolio pieces that are based on original ideas and subject matter.

During the upload process, you will need to include the Description of Work form with information about your portfolio pieces such as title and medium.

Subjects that have historically been more successful:

  • Abstract work
  • Landscapes, drawn from life
  • Portraits or sketches of people (not based on posed photos)
  • Unusual perspectives on or compositions of everyday scenes
  • Topics about which you are passionate, that you have explored first-hand

Subjects NOT recommended for your portfolio:

  • Cartoon/anime characters
  • Brands, words, numbers, or symbols
  • Subjects you are unable to explore first-hand
  • Drawings of floating, context-free objects (e.g. eyeballs, hearts, butterflies)
  • Drawings based solely on photos, especially posed photos (e.g. photos of friends or pets)
  • Drawings based on any still image that does not come from your real life (e.g. images from the internet like celebrities, cityscapes, cars, sunsets)

Still Life Drawing Requirements and Tips

You must use the following supplies to draw the still life:

  • #2 pencil
  • One sheet of 8.5" x 11" unlined paper

There should be 5-7 objects in the still life, and all objects must appear in your completed drawing:

  • Two or three organic forms or objects found in nature (e.g. driftwood, figurine, flower, fruit/vegetable, plant, rock, skull, tree branch)
  • One piece of cloth - This can be draped over the table and perhaps over a rectilinear form like a box or stack of books. It may also be taped or tacked to the wall behind, to serve as a backdrop.
  • Two or three various 3-D geometric objects: something conical, cubical, cylindrical, pyramidal, or spherical (e.g. roll of paper towels, basketball or baseball, books or boxes, funnel or hourglass, door wedge, etc.)

It can be helpful if there is some variety to sizes of these forms, as opposed to having objects that are all the same scale. Objects should be arranged in a way that their spatial configuration is clear. Place forms in front of other forms so overlapping is apparent, rather than lining the forms up next to each other.

Direct a single light source on the still life from above or to the right or left of the still life (not in front of, behind, or below the still life). The single light source should allow you to see both light and shadow sides of these forms, as well as cast shadow shapes from these forms.

When drawing the still life, pay attention to composition, scale, overlapping, volume, and how light changes across the forms. Think about how line, mark-making, and tone can help relate to these things.

How to Photograph Artwork

Photograph each piece of art individually: up to three pieces of your choosing and one still life drawing.

Please use the following resources when you are ready to photograph your portfolio pieces and still life drawing:

How to Photograph Art

9 Common Mistakes when Photographing your Artwork with an iPhone

Once you are ready to submit your portfolio, do not worry about your file names. The OSAI audition portal will automatically rename the files for you.

Judging Criteria

Please note: Drawing & painting auditions are blind, i.e. judges will not have access to applicants' names, ages, hometowns, or other identifying information.
Still life drawing – 20%
To what extent does the applicant’s still life show thoughtful use of composition and technique and follow the requirements as set forth by OAI? To what extent does the still life drawing incorporate bold use of mark-making and a demonstrated understanding of value and proportions?
Portfolio – 40%
To what extent do the applicant’s chosen portfolio pieces demonstrate technical skill, appropriate and/or thoughtful choice of media in conveying their subjects, and personal artistic style with mature vision?
Creativity – 20%
To what extent do the applicant’s four pieces demonstrate an overall sense of originality and present novel ideas and/or techniques?
Potential – 20%
To what extent do the applicant’s four pieces captivate the viewer and demonstrate potential for artistic achievement?
Funding for the Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute drawing & painting program is generously provided, in part, by the Ellen Woods Westheimer Visual Arts Endowment Fund.