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Lesson Plans

Re: artist as teacher

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
wduncan (wduncan)
Tue, 13 Jul 1999 17:02:42 -0500

In trying to respond to your question about painting like a dead
artist and why do it, here are some of my thoughts. Painting like a
dead or a living artist, does not by itself mean "copying". Often it is
of value to emulate the style or technique of a particular artist. A
musician tries different styles and uses role models in developing their
craft. Students need to understand to be creative and original (valued
in our culture) does not mean that one never copies or attempts to
follow anothers path. They also need to know that other cultures such
as ancient China do not always look to the future or change as a goal.
But rather the Chinese artist would honor the rich traditions past down
for hundreds of years. To paint in the manner of a revered master is of
the highest praise. When I present a lesson I seldom do it without use
of an "Exemplar" or several exemplars. I select these carefully to make
a particular point but seldom is it about making a copy of the work. I
want my students fluent in the artists of the past and present, from
many cultures.
An exemplar by Winslow Homer might be chosen in a watercolor lesson
for the way white space was used. The intent is to make students aware
of looking for reasons to do things one way or another. An exemplar by
Matisse may have been chosen to illustrate the concept of the beautiful
economy of form that can occur in a simple form. I would hope students
would be guided to cut shapes of their own rather than copy Matisse.
Does any of this rambling, in any way, begin to answer the question. I
still believe it is legit to ask, am I being asked this question by a
passionate professional art teacher, an elementary principal, or a
general classroom teacher? I believe it makes a real difference.

Tom Johnsen wrote:

> I see a number of lesson plans which culminate in a student painting
> like some other dead artist. Why is this valued?
> tom johnsen


This E-mail message is from Artist/Teacher Woody Duncan Rosedale Middle School in Kansas City, Kansas to see my beautiful grandkids Tim, Tess and Tiff click on to see my students working in the RMSartSTUDIO click on to contact me via E-mail click on wduncan better yet visit my Web Site at