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Re: [teacherartexchange] copying (and I'm venting)


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Aug 13 2006 - 12:06:39 PDT

On Aug 13, 2006, at 11:33 AM, Ann Heineman wrote:

> This, indeed, is an interesting subject, and thank you, and others
> who posted, for your ideas! As someone who lacks stereopsis
> (ability to see in 3-D) and has eye movement difficulties due to
> nystagmus, I am challenged to do drawings from observation,
> especially if I don't have time to focus and spend time with the
> drawing. You may not be aware of children who have visual
> impairments, including color blindness, in your classrooms. So it
> is important to provide a full scale of opportunities to your
> students to help them to SEE. Another exercise might be to
> blindfold the students, place an object in their hands, along with
> paper and pencil on the desk/table, and ask them to draw what they
> "feel." Descriptions of how a smooth form feels as opposed to a
> rough form, for example, may provide another aid for their seeing
> and rendering, as may the "upside-down" drawing technique.

Ann offers some interesting insights to learning styles, problems and
disabilities and how do we answer all of those?

I'm not sure any more what "copying" is OR what observation is?
Certainly contemporary art is filed with copy and mimicry.
I think we have to think long and hard if DRAWING is the start point
for art education? and in how many ways can we accomplish
observation? We have all kinds of devices now (cellphones,
digital cameras, i-pods, camcorders, web cams...) that can capture a
moment immediately. How much do our news services rely on immediate
cellphone images? a lot.
  And, I really have to wonder why I ask a kid to spend a long time
capturing in a drawing when it can be immediate with devices.

So what is it that we need to teach about observation?
we need to teach to be keen and insightful and know how to weed out
we need to teach the ability to make decisions about all the images
that barrage our daily lives.

I spent many years in the Fashion Industry that thrives on copying.
The trick was to take what was successful and turn it around and make
a new success. This is what I always remember and this is what I
want my students to know--- taking from, and mimicking is normal BUT
how do you turn it around? how do you make it your own? what's your
purpose and intent? and how do you invent? From what sources do you
make it an invention? I'm not sure how I knew to be inventive other
than the fear of copying ? So what is that lesson?

I think it's almost a given today that kids go on the internet and
find stuff and just "think " it's okay to use . I think I have no
idea of what can and what can't be. And I really think it is
big part of our job to teach what is appropriate

I have really put drawing low on my priorities. I don't want to
spend time reeling with upside down or in inside out. But I do want
to take time with what works and what doesn't work. I often find
some of the most innocent, most unaccomplished drawings come from
the questions of insight. I often find students, put off by the
drawing demands, find their own ways and means to accomplish an
expression. Ask questions to make them think --- make them wonder
where the copy images can go.??? Orchestrate the best big questions.

I always love, wherever it came from, "take a line for a walk"
if you teach them how to walk a line -- they will---
and if you teach them to step off the line-- they will,

and if it's through alternate means of expression then let that
expression shine.

I keep wondering why we hold on to this drawing thing? I draw, I love
to draw, But it's not the norm, or is it so necessary.
  Cameras record and hold.
Can someone tell me why it is important for a student to go through
the pain and agony of having to draw, when they know they can't
(just as I know I can't make music or get beyond 1+2 =3 and know
that any tricks will not get me to care about making music or going
beyond simple math)
Let's let go of the drawing and let's see that each kid finds a way
to express through any means Art allows for all means. Everybody
talks about the standards and meeting them, But they are so open you
can use any method to achieve the goals. Drawing is not a standard.

I truly would like to rewrite the standards and put OBSERVATION # 1
and then have all think about how we observe. ... and I bet, if
polled, drawing isn't near the top. What we need to teach is SEEING
and how to comment on the seen. And if the seeing comes from ways
and means that don't fit our standards then give it up and figure out
what the kids standards are.

Art about paint and pencils and clay will only become collectibles
for the PBS Road show. Art about where it's going is something we
have to seriously think about.
I'm feeling that for 30 years art has gone no place except offensive.
And why is that? What are we not delivering? ( Oh , I think the
DBAE "do the style of stuff.") Why is it that this thing I LOVE and
cherish flounders in mediocrity and has become only something
between great auction prices and survival at local fairs? Where do
we find the place and incentive to spur the youngsters on to becoming
Picasso or who ever where the movers and shakers?

I'm sorry , I'm very cranky. I don't want to go back to school and
face all these questions I pose. 'Cause it's exhausting. I'd much
rather have a lesson that didn't require thinking or wasn't some
formula. But it's my duty to make them THIINK.


I think, just how much time I want to spend on drawing lessons and
what for? and if I can get them to get "there" by some other means
why is it less valuable?

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