On Tue, 25 Mar 1997, Dolores A. Lombardi wrote:
> I have been reading the comments about copying with interest as I have
> ambivalent thoughts on the subject. I feel that, when students work from a
> photograph or a reproduction, they lose a personal and direct interpretation
> of space, light, color, line and texture which comes from their own
> experience of reality, nor are they as involved in the design of the
> composition. However, I also feel that, after enough principles and teacher
> directed assignments have been taught, I must give my students an
> opportunity to be the artist. A fundamental issue here is freedom of
> choice; choice of a meaningful subject is a primary aspect of creating art.
> Given the limitations of time, resources and the environment of the art
> room, many students will work from photographs which represent, to them,
> more lofty or dramatic visions than the still life or interior scene that
> can be constructed in the classroom; some students create amazing images
> directly from imagination. I have come to respect their choice, the
> different ways our minds work, and the value of what is meaningful to an
> individual at this particular point in his or her life. For me, this is
> what makes what we are doing "art," and not craft.
> I don't believe in using grids. At least without a grid, one will be forced
> to develop drawing skills, and perhaps also to be more selective in making
> adjustments and changes in the design, different from the original picture;
> more of the chracter of the student is demanded in the interpretatation, and
> "mistakes," the fingerprints of individuality, are less likely the be
> smoothed away. It is interesting how some students develop personal
> paintings that evolve out of, but are not a copy of, the photograph; they
> infuse the image with their own experiences and imagination.
> I also feel that copying an existing artwork may be more helpful than
> working from a photograph, particularly if one feels a kinship to the artist
> being copied. It is a great way to study that work, to make that technique
> part of your own background, and to develop your vision. It is a practice
> which has been used by artists throughout time to teach themselves, and can
> sometimes give more instruction in design, drawing and painting than
> mimicking the illusionistic effects of photography.