I agree with you completely! I recently had the good fortune to visit the
Musee d'Orsay this summer. Many art students were painting copies of the
masters. This is a time-honored tradition.
My greatest problem is students resistance to drawing from life. Many
high school students are so insecure about their appearance that some
flatly refuse to do self-portraits. They are also embarrassed to pose for
one another. Also, they greatly resist drawing still lifes. Do any of
you have any suggestions, especially on how to set up still lifes students
would be interested in drawing.
So many of my students want to draw animae. I do not have a problem with
this but do move this on to other types of drawing. I actually think
animae is incredible and many students do move on!
Hating the Texas heat and humidity!
On Mon, 18 Jul 2005 15:22:56 -0600, Diane C. Gregory
> Interesting comments Marvin.
> I would like to respond to your comment below about imitation and
> "master" works
> of art. I believe that every person learns in different ways. Some
> would definately profit from looking at examples of famous works of art
> creating their own. I don't think it stifles or affects some people.
> In fact,
> some people find that it is helpful. From the writings of Vincent Van
> Gogh in
> his letters to his brother Theo, he thanked Theo for sending him Millet
> reproductions because imitating the reproductions, "invigorated his
> So I try to restrain myself from hard and fast guidelines, but look to
> student to see what may work. One of the main benefits from a
> approach is to provide different modalities from which students can
> One size does not fit all and for some imatitation can be motivating,
> stimulating and can help build confidence that translates to desires to
> continue making more original art. Some birds need to be gently coaxed
> out of
> the nest. :-)
> Dr. Diane C. Gregory
> Director, Undergraduate & Graduate
> Studies in Art Education
> Texas Woman's University
> Denton, TX 76204
> Quoting Marvin Bartel <email@example.com>:
>> I use multi-sensory motivation without resorting to crafty activities.
>> The smelliest lesson that I have ever taught used seven baby pigs
>> running around and pooping (on a paper covered area) with the
>> students in a circle around them to fence them in. The lesson was
>> great, but I did it only once. If you want to teach this lesson, you
>> have my permission, but I need a copy of the video (you can keep the
>> multi-sensory parts). I have often used rabbits. They are less
>> multi-sensory, but they are also excellent motivation for any age.
>> For sweeter smells, I like to bring in healthy foods such as citrus,
>> apples, table grapes, carrots, radishes, purple onions, egg plant,
>> squash, potatoes, etc. Sometimes I bring flowers and herbs from my
>> garden. They have odor, and many are safe to taste. I avoid toxic
>> plants. Before their drawing practice, the children feel them, taste
>> them, and smell them. They arrange them according to my still life
>> arrangement criteria.
>> Then they draw them (partially eaten or at least tasted) using a
>> blinder on their pencils for practice. After practicing the outline
>> slowly using blind contour lines (which seldom meet correctly), they
>> can do another drawing looking carefully at both object as well an
>> occasional peek at the paper to improve the shape - or they are
>> allowed to use an eraser to make a few corrections so the blind
>> contour observed lines are brought together better. I tell children
>> that this is called, LEARNING HOW TO LEARN HOW TO LEARN TO DRAW
>> because it trains our eye/brain/hand skills of observation/drawing.
>> I think every child has the right to know that drawing can be
>> learned. Too many think it is a natural talent that only other
>> children have.
>> Healthy foods are also good for small stippled drawings using fine
>> colored felt tips. I require that more than one color be included in
>> every part of the stippling.
>> With directional lighting (window only light), foods are good for the
>> study of shading, shadows, and highlights. Students must first look
>> for and point out shadows, highlights, and various tones.
>> Healthy foods are good for overlapping and size relationships to show
>> depth. Children themselves are asked to arrange the food so it is
>> partly hidden behind other food.
>> Secondary colored foods are good for color mixing studies.
>> I like to have them start with a lightly drawn pencil plan. They
>> then add shading, hatching, texture, and/or color with other media
>> such as ball point, marker, watercolor, etc. without going over any
>> of their pencil planning lines. Then I ask them to erase all pencil
>> planning and outline markings so they can learn that the pure tonal
>> and color work does not depend on outlines. Each new process is
>> learned with a little hands-on preliminary practice - no examples or
>> demos. They come up with a wonderful assortment of techniques and
>> learn from each other that there are many ways of doing things in art.
>> Feeling, tasting, and smelling definitely improves motivation,
>> ability to focus, ability to learn, and students remember the lesson
>> better. Noticeably better results in the work are often seen. At
>> the end of the day I take the remaining food, wash it, cook with it,
>> and eat it. It is both multi-sensory and multi-nutritional.
>> I do NOT like to use food as art material in crafty projects. I DO
>> like to see food used as the subject matter in art. We all have an
>> instinct to desire food to live. Art should deal with things we love
>> and need. Art should be about our common everyday life experiences.
>> Few things are more common than eating. I question why teachers who
>> are artists themselves would ever want to teach crafty projects when
>> they could be teaching basic art skills and knowledge while getting
>> impressive products at the same time.
>> I do not like to teach children to waste good food products by using
>> it to make art or to make decorative bric-a-brack objects of
>> questionable learning value. I like to teach mosaic and gadget
>> printing with things like paper, cardboard, scrap building materials,
>> plastics, foam materials, and things found in nature other than food.
>> I do not pasta, grain, or beans as art materials. I might use them
>> as subject matter.
>> For a different way to use sounds to motivate for art, I invented an
>> activity for texture practice. I prepare some small containers
>> (boxes, jars, film canisters) that have various materials in them
>> (tacks, nails, marbles, sand, gravel, etc.). These make different
>> noises when I turn or shake them (keeping them hidden from view). I
>> ask children to make small squares on their paper. While they listen
>> to one hidden sound, they are asked to create the visual texture of
>> that sound. Each sound box or jar makes a noticeably different
>> sound, so that students have have a felt need to change the texture
>> rendition in each practice square. This is followed by a lesson
>> experience in which texture becomes a significant element.
>> It is easy to Google masterworks that relate to each of the above
>> concepts. I NEVER show these or any other examples before the
>> children work. They can learn how art is made to materialize and
>> express their own experiences, observations, and imaginations (if
>> good motivation is used) without the crutches of external examples
>> and copy work.
>> When I show a masterwork for discussion, my questions can reference
>> their own artwork experiences and multi-sensory experiences. They
>> connect the masterwork to their own lives and experiences. They are
>> not looking at it in order to see how to replicate it. They are
>> looking at the masterwork to figure out how the artist was motivated,
>> how the artist felt, how the artist was thinking, and what the artist
>> may have wanted us to get from it. Learning by imitation is a
>> powerful human instinct, but human imagination is what makes us
>> unique among all creatures. While imitation may be useful in many
>> subjects, art is one place where we can foster the higher levels of
>> thinking, skills, and learning.
>> This page has some illustrations and links for these ideas.
>> http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/d-list.html >>
>> Marvin Bartel, Ed.D., Professor of Art Emeritus
>> Goshen College, 1700 South Main, Goshen IN 46526
>> studio phone: 574-533-0171
>> http://www.bartelart.com >> http://www.goshen.edu/art/ed/art-ed-links.html >> "You can't never know how to do it before you never did it before."
>> ... a kindergarten boy working with clay for the first time.
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