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Re: caring about drawing


From: Patricia Knott (pknott_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Jul 23 2003 - 20:25:11 PDT

Please forgive me for bringing back the drawing thread, but some things were
said that I feel needs response.
And I'm quitting smoking AGAIN (please no lectures) but I'm antsy and
need to keep the fingers and mind going...

First something Mike said
> I'm currently taking a Contemporary art history class that meets every week in
> galleries and museums in NYC. Most of what's being done in postmodern art has
> little to with traditional drawing. The key is observation. And I'm pretty
> sure you mean you don't care about realistic drawing" anymore. I feel the
> same way. That is, until I'm in the classroom and they're struggling to make
> something look the "way it supposed to look".
> It's not just them. Ask any layman what their idea of good art is. It's almost
> always about realism. My professor and I were talking about this last week.
> The idea of educating the masses to understand what we are talking about is
> daunting.
That is exactly what I meant, Mike. I wasn't talking about abstraction. I
meant the other ways we can bring observation -----new technologies not so
new forms like performance art, installations, etc..
I teach Photo. I may have said this before, but I am constantly comparing
the experimentation and chances my photo kids take as opposed to my art
kids. The only conclusion I can make is that they don't have the
preconceptions and angst about what is "right' that the art kids have.
Anybody can take a picture. The tool releases the anxiety. The art kids are
paralyzed with what they "think " is right. What is right?
I don't know why the layman thinks it has to be realistic other than we
haven't done such a god job in teaching the evolution of the form and
process. (Personally I think art has been in the hands of the elitists and
appears so out of reach to the "common" therefore something unattainable. I
can't read the periodicals without referring to something, so how does Joe
Sixpack relate ?)

I accepted a kid into my Advanced class for this fall. He's spec. ed., has
no background in art, can't draw, but ---he can't take the camcorder away
from his face. He makes the most incredible 1-2 minute videos. Am I going
to take that from him to try to make him draw? Certainly not, he will get

Bunki says
> I think learning how to draw is a BASIC and T-E-A-C-H-A-B-L-E skill if
> approached step-by-step. If it's a teachable skill than that requires the
> teacher to be 110% involved step by step. If you give me a student who can
> write his name legibly, I can give you a "drawer"....every time IMHO.
I used to think this, but not sure anymore. The music teacher tells me he
can teach everybody to sing, but my resistance is stronger than his intent
and that is the obstacle. Until I think I can , I can't. ... and he doesn't
tell me how he gets me to think I can. And does what I have to learn about
music depend on my ability to sing? or play an instrument? NO Why can't
loving art be the same way as loving music? Just because it is, I don't have
to be able to do it.
I really think we are very uptight about expression in art. I like what Judy

> try this to open their eyes before you expect all of them to try realism/art
> as imitation as the "right' style /theory - ALL are right. The main thing is
> to get them DRAWING an give them confidence. Kids start drawing at a very
> early age. "We" do something that makes them stop. What is it that we do? We
> want them to draw a certain way. I didn't "get this" until just a few years
> ago (at least I didn't get how to "fix" the problem when a child wasn't happy
> with their drawing.
> How will they they find their style if we don't let them develop that?
> Expressionism -- Realism -- Abstraction -- Fantasy

Give them confidence in something they do well. Forget your own conventions
and traditions. Relish in their expression. Yes, What is right?
If we don't let them express who will?
Please remember that the greatest artists went 'off the path" I can teach
everybody to conform to traditions, but my choice is to steer another way.
Art has always been queer and I'm not going to do anything to make it
otherwise. My only formula is to turn "it" upside down.
I teach questioning, challenge, and rebellion.

Art will exist with or without us -- it's a human need. But I don't see
enough of us on the forefront of what is happening. And I don't see enough
of us recognizing the naive expression. We have bought into standards
and forgotten the form.
The form is found with half closed eyes.
What do we do to make them stop? We forget the the magic.
Art is magic and we don't seem to come to conclusions on how to convey that
because we are too concerned with positions.