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Re: caring about drawing


From: Bunki Kramer (bkramer_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Jul 24 2003 - 10:56:41 PDT

From: Patricia Knott <>
And I'm quitting smoking AGAIN (please no lectures) but I'm antsy and
need to keep the fingers and mind going...

Good luck, Patty. Know that you're tied up in "knotts" (grin).

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.

You're probably right on this one. I don't teach Photo so I can't give an
experienced answer but my guess would be that the average person doesn't
consider "taking pictures with a camera" as they don't have to
start from scratch to actually render the thing on paper. I don't stress
when I take a picture with a camera but I do a lot more thinkin' when I'm
staring at a blank piece of paper.

(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 ?)

It wouldn't HAVE to be if there were more people interested in making ART an
important part of their lives and a strong part of the school system and
more art teachers being hired. But we both can agree that that will not
happen so we're left with gaps in education for Joe Sixpack. That's my
point. I want to fill in those gaps so they CAN relate. That's where the
word "teacher" comes into play.

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

You don't have to. We're talking about two different things
and drawing. You can say they are the same but they are not. It's like
science and math. They are both "sciences" but they are different.
And...BTW...some of my best drawers are Special Ed. kids.

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.

Exactly!!! Now you're getting it! If he had you direct your fear, understand
it, give you specific directions on how to do it step-by-step, give you
confidence, tell you how to breathe, get you to familiarize yourself with a
tune, and other tricks out there, I bet you'd be closer to understanding how
to sing. Then your "can't' would become a "can" and you'd feel successful
and overcome that obstacle. Just THINK how you would feel about yourself
now! And think how much more you would learn about music and appreciate
what you hear.

And if he DOESN'T teach you these things, think how you will feel about
yourself always knowing you "can't". It wouldn't make you inclined to pick
up a piece of sheet music, now would it?

 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.

You can do both. You can love music and art and not be able to do it.
Now...if you were going to PLAY an instrument, you'd have to put emphasis on
learning notes and fingering. Same goes for art. There's a lot more to learn
than slapping paint to paper. If that were the case, then any core teacher
could teach ART and we wouldn't be having this discussion.

I really think we are very uptight about expression in art.

I think you are misunderstanding my intent. I'm not saying the basic skill
of drawing should be "uptight' or that all art should be realistic. Take a
look at our school art website. Far from it. You have been saying yourself
that kids have a really hard time with realism and I'm telling you that an
art teacher needs to be aware of and approach the subject of FEAR before any
successful drawing experience can happen AND that they CAN learn how to

Knowing how to draw does NOT take away from expressing one's self. It's just
another TOOL in our arsenal to get kids to see things. You can develop
expressionism, realism, abstraction, fantasy, non-objective and all those
wonderful things you mentioned. You can go "off the path" as you put it and
you can question, challenge, rebel by all means. You see too much in
traditional approaches. Sometimes I'll agree...BUT...more times I see too
many art teachers either too afraid or not savvy enough or ill-equipped
(none of which are found on this listserv...BTW...grin) to include the basic
skills that all artists should have under their belt in one form or another.

 We have bought into standards and forgotten the form.
The form is found with half closed eyes.

Sure...the form is found with half-closed eyes but in order to see the
particulars you need eyes wide open.

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.

In order to come to TOTAL conclusions, you need to see both. You don't have
to give up the magic to do that. Toodles.....Bunk