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Re:[teacherartexchange] teacherartexchange digest: August 22, 2008

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From: Lois Girbino (lgirbino_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sat Aug 23 2008 - 07:01:37 PDT


I think it is important to separate the ideas of "copying"and "visual
reference". If you have younger students (elementary), and only 45
minutes or so, AND you want to explore, say, landscape drawing, I see
no problem with providing visual reference for them to work from. We
spend a lot of time on what it means to "interpret" visual
information, so no two pieces (even from the same reference) ever look
the same. I think of "copying" as totally working from a non-original
photo or other art exemplar and approximating it as closely as
possible. Grid drawing has its place as a teaching tool, especially
for students who have poor "art self-esteem"; I would consider grid
drawing "copying" if it was from a pre-existing photo. We all learn to
ride with training wheels, if you want a metaphor, and then with
mastery, those wheels come off. In EDspeak, it's called
"scaffolding"....But, I'm also a big fan of warm-ups and drawing from
observation as much as possible, even in the younger grades, because
that trains the eye "how to see". I usually tell students who swear
they cannot draw, that they only need to learn "how to see" and then,
the drawing will follow. I try to balance observation-based stuff with
student-centered, tiered, "projects" focusing on media techniques,
because my elementary students need to feel excited and
successful---art may be the only bright spot in their "data-driven"
schedule.

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