The Fellowship focuses on three primary components: field studies, theory, and studio painting.
1) Field Studies
These are divided into three categories that give artists a complete picture of their surroundings, supplying studio paintings with an acute accuracy.
a) Pencil Drawing - The artist researches the landscape through studied pencil drawings. In addition to generating compositional ideas, linear drawings define details and explore values of specific elements.
b) Tonal Studies - The artist works out broad tonal organizations in ink-wash and grisaille. These favor large value structure over detail, creating unifying relationships within a scene.
c) Plein Air Sketches - The artist studies color through small outdoor oil paintings. Working from far to near, some of these studies inform spatial relationships through scale and atmospheric perspective, while others isolate individual features.
Each year, the Fellowship hosts lectures and discussions covering the more academic aspects of landscape painting. These will engage art history, science, and the methods and materials of the classical landscape painters.
Past Lecture Topics - Botany; Cole and Church; Geology; History and Influences of the Hudson River School; Techniques: How Did They Do It?; Perspective: Graphical and Atmospheric; Plein Air Sketches: Claude to Cole; Meteorology and Cloud Studies; Why is the Sky Blue?
3) Studio Painting
The goal of combining field studies with theory is to facilitate large studio landscapes. Fellows aspire to synthesize their drawings and plein air paintings with ideas about light and air and perspective, forming a deep understanding of the landscape. This combination of empirical and rational, complemented with thoughtful themes and compositions, was fundamental to landscape painters from the 17th through late 19th centuries, and is fundamental to all classical artists today.