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Re: [teacherartexchange] Learning by copying?


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_6_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Fri Aug 22 2008 - 14:22:13 PDT

On Aug 22, 2008, at 4:00 PM, Cheryl Lloyd wrote:
> I completely agree that as we develop we should create from what we
> know. But what if students just don't "know" yet?
> Marvin,
> If kids don't have the visual memory of what a type of animal looks
> like, or what a specific landscape looks like, do you allow kids to
> use photos as prompts from which to interpret? Or how do you deal with
> them wanting to draw when they don't remember or understand what
> something looks like. You can't always draw only what you see in front
> of you.
> diane
Listen to what Marvin says:
> Replication is a way to memorize another person's idea of an image
> in order to learn to make the image like other person (or the
> camera) makes the image and we are not challenged to think, to look
> again, to experiment and develop an image solution of our own.
> Copying is learning the answer from the answer. Art is the process
> of creating from questions, from observations, from dreams, from
> troubles, from joys, and from within our hearts. Replication
> (copying) is the opposite of expressive art. Copying molds a much
> different brain than the brain formed while practicing creative
> ways to be expressive of our feelings and experiences.

I think what we need to remember is, that we can't give kids
everything all the time. What we can give them is the comfort to
delve into places other people don't let them. If we are honest, we
know there are plenty of kids who can't work from a photo either --
they still look for a step by step and still wonder why theirs isn't
good enough? If experiences don't include the ocean and the
mountains, then concentrate on the experiences they have. I try to
correlate to creative writing-- if a kid has never been to the ocean
would you ask him/her to write about the ocean? Or, give a picture of
the ocean and ask to create an experience? What does it smell like?
what does taste like?what does it feel like, can't be gotten from a
picture. Pictures are flat -- experiences are dimensional. If all
you want is a picture, then copy

Let me tell my story. I went to big urban art school, coming from a
a hick town with little experience in any kind of art. When I got to
my first painting class I was so intimidated by the skills of my
classmates all I did was try to copy what everybody else was doing.
My teacher would pass behind me without saying a word for a
semester. But I WAS getting an experience with paint and as I tried
to copy what others were doing I was learning a process. The second
semester I said "the heck with this" and just started putting paint
on as I "felt" it to be put on. And
I exploded and turned out to be the most talked about painter in the
class. My teacher didn't fail me first semester although he should
have, but when I went to the step of personal experience, he led me
through the way.
My point is, that I went through a process and came out another end.
I know in public education we have little time for student self-
discovery, but I also think we have to adjust our evaluation methods
to allow for the discovery.

What is important?
duplicating or discovering?

I've said this a zillion times on these lists -- the great historical
artist is not because of skill -- it was the observation and the
connections to make others observe and look and see and question

Observationis more than that thing in front of you -- especially
today. Observation is about environment, society, issues, concerns,
fears, loves, what if's. and creative transformations.

My kids are in places I don't understand, and they want to know the
places I've been. and bringing those two together is what art is. I
really don't care what anything looks like now, I want to know
what it WILL look like.

The Brain does form while practicing creative ways to be expressive
of our feelings and experiences. and it takes much more time than
copying something.



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