Robert Beeching wrote:
>"Critical" DRAWING involving "careful judgement or judicious evaluation"
>>neither of which are consistently employed in the public school system,
>>especially in grades K through 8. Children are continually allowed to
>draw and >paint in any fashion they wish under the guise of "creativity."
Bob Fromme wrote:
>I (and probably others who teach drawing as part of our instruction in the
>public schools) appreciate that the original statement has been qualified
>somewhat as Robert Beeching explained the use of the terms "critical"
>drawing. Indeed, learning "critical" drawing is not usually very high on
>the list of priorities in the majority of our contemporary elementary
>schools. The situation has probably existed from the earliest days of
>education in this country (well beyond the past 40 years)....major snip
Taking a walk down memory lane (if my memory serves me well), art education
began in this country in the 1870s as a program in what is often referred
to as "industrial drawing," but would seem to have some of the
characteristics of what
Beeching calls "critical" drawing. For those that are up on their Art
Education history, the name of Walter Smith (and before him Horace Mann)
might ring a bell here.
Horace Mann (Supt. of Instruction, Mass.) believed that drawing developed
better hand-eye coordination and was a way to keep "idle hands busy." He
published 24 lessons with illustrations to copy.
Walter Smith was the 1st State Art Director of Mass. He established the
first Normal school for teachers of art (drawing) (these were classroom
teachers by the way). Smith believed the art of drawing and the art of
writing had certain parallels, i.e., both have an alphabet and grammar to
learn (straight line, curved line, angle, etc.,) Like Mann, Smith published
a manual of pictures and exercises for copying. Lessons emphasized sharp
pencil points, clean hands, practice for skill development, and exacting
performance -- even for the early grades.
For me, I see certain similiarities in what Smith was doing over 100 years
ago and Mona Brookes' method of drawing instruction.
What goes around, comes around?
P.S. On an unrelated note, I recommend the movie Contact for everyone.
It's a wonderful visual and mindful tribute to Carl Sagan. Go see it!
CRAIG ROLAND. Associate Professor-Art Education.
Department of Art, FAC 302, University of Florida, Gainesville Florida.
32611-5801. (352) 392-9165 - Art Ed Office (352) 392-8453 - Fax