Bunki and Larry make some very sound points. I remember some 10 years ago
having a conversation with a colleague about what grade level is most
appropriate for teaching perspective and decided middle school, maybe. I'm
not sure the research on spatial perception and child development, but I
came to the conclusion that some will get it and some won't. I still have
trouble and I'm 51 years old. Remember that perspective drawing is just a
skill/technique for representing a 3-d space on a 2-d plane-- it's not art ,
it's a skill. And let's too, remember that perspective drawing was
discovered by skilled adult artists that probably traced images from the
When I get perplexed by my students struggles with skills, I sometimes blame
it on not thinking, when usually it's not following directions and
then I realize I am expecting some prior knowledge that they never got.
For instance when I teach my photo kids how to mount a photo I assume they
know how to use a ruler ---- but guess what? they don't. I taught photo for
2 years stressing the importance of the temperature of the developer before
I realized they didn't know how to read a thermometer. These are high school
kids. How can they think about something they were never taught?
I like Larry's analogy to driving. Most of the learning of how to actually
> place after one has gotten a license and is on the road alone, actually
> engaged in and engaged by real world conditions.
> Learning to think, and think well, is much the same way.
Sometimes I think we confuse thinking with practice. Thinking in art making
is about the content and when the practice is developed, choices can be made
as to how best communicate the content. Today, when we recognize so many
kinds of learning styles, we have to realize that there are are also styles
of visual representation. Not every child is going to "get' perspective
(did they ever?) And also keep in mind that not all cultures value linear
perspective in the western tradition.
I know all too well the frustrations of teaching the things I think are
important in art, but I also have come to let go of some things in order to
spend more time with the thinking part of art making.