Office of International Programs

Comillas: Studio Art in Spain

At a Glance
Topic: Studio Art 
City: Comillas, Spain
Credit: 2 courses (Painting & Drawing)
Dates: May 30 - June 29, 2015
Application Deadline: March 1
Faculty: Professor Wendy Edwards, Brown University, and Jerry Mischak, Senior Critic, Rhode Island School of Design


Spend  a month this summer in Northern Spain creating an art portfolio while learning about Spanish language and culture. Comillas, located in Cantabria, boasts a stunning landscape in a smaller town with close proximity to larger cities.  Studio facilities sit on a hill near the old Pontifical Seminary, only steps away from the rugged coastline. Wendy Edwards, Visual Art Department Chair at Brown and RISD colleague Jerry Mischak teach and direct this month-long program, which includes coursework in drawing and painting, weekly language courses, and local excursions.  Courses are able to accommodate students from beginning to advanced levels.  All coursework is taught in English; no previous background in Spanish is required. 

Courses and Excursions

Students enroll in both of the following courses. Courses are taught in English.

Drawing I and II: Introduction and Advanced

Working on site and in the studio with traditional drawing media – charcoal, graphite, ink wash, markers and ball point pen students will study the experimental and innovative potential of drawing. Weekly assignments will challenge students to encounter aspects of Drawing that are fundamental to visual thinking. Projects are aimed to develop drawings that stand independently as finished works on paper. Working from direct observation beginning students can expect individual one-on-one support daily and experienced students develop means of visual research that build advanced-leveled projects. Students will be required to keep a journal/sketchbook for drawings and personal notations collected during field trips as well as documenting studio developments and on-site observations. 

Painting I and II: Color and Pattern/ Nature and Culture 
This high immersion studio class will investigate painting based on information collected from the surrounding environment and within the town of Comillas. Assignments will relate to the ocean, mountains, animals and Northern Spanish culture with an emphasis on color.  Assignments will stem from direct observation and selected visual findings within the landscape, field trips and local architecture. The class will accommodate both beginning and advanced level students through individual and group critiques. All students will be given access to a studio space allowing for a wide range of projects ranging in scale and materials. The minimum requirement of nine highly focused completed paintings is expected within the four-week course. Basic painting and color principals as well as conceptual critical thinking skills will be introduced. This course will include daily interaction with the professor and individual support throughout the program.  

Course-related excursions provide students with an opportunity to explore the city’s vibrant cultural scene.


  • Bilbao Guggenheim Museum, Museo de Bellas Artes
  • El Castillo Caves and Santander, Centro Botin and tour of the city
  • Field trip to Picos de Europa, beautiful mountains!  Fuente dé: cable car and route, Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liebana

*Excursions subject to change based on scheduling and academic programming requirements.

Housing and Meals

Students will be assigned to host families in the town of Comillas.  Each homestay is matched with student preferences in mind.  While Comillas is a small town, the walking distance to the classroom and studio space can range from 20-40 minutes. 

Students will have weekly meals with their host families, daily lunches at the studio, and some dinners.  Specific information on what meals are covered will be included when final costs are set.

Program Faculty and Staff

Wendy Edwards is the Chair and Professor of Visual Art at Brown where she teaches painting and drawing courses. She received her BFA degree in painting at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia and an MA in art at the University of New Mexico. Residencies include Hambidge Center, the MacDowell Colony, Pouch Cove Foundation and Auvillar, France. Wendy has been awarded two Salomon faculty research awards and has exhibited her work nationally and internationally.

Jerry Mischak is Senior Critic in Painting at Rhode Island School of Design. He received his BFA from RISD and his MFA from University of Wisconsin/Madison. He has exhibited his work extensively both nationally and internationally, with recent exhibitions at the Palmer Museum at Penn State University, Islip Art Museum, Pavel Zoubok Gallery and Jim Kempner Fine Art in New York. 

Program Costs

Summer 2015 tuition and fees: $10291

Cost includes tuition, housing, partial board, program- and course-related field trips, and emergency travel assistance coverage.  Visit the estimated program cost page for the Summer 2015 program, including cost of living expenses. Limited financial aid is available for Brown students. 

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