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RE: Learning to be good at art--with pics to prove it!!!


From: linda (lindwood_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Thu Nov 07 2002 - 05:14:54 PST

Of course art is teachable and learnable! I was one of those students who was not born gifted, just had a desire. I didn't receive any quality art education in elementary or high school. I did have an art class in high school, but the teacher sat behind a desk, I sat in the back row trying to stay hidden because I didn't think I could DO art, and I watched my friend Stephanie draw. She was amazing. I'll never forget her drawings. It was like magic to watch her. We drew still lifes most of the time, and I remember they consisted of wine bottles and apples. Hmmm.. Ho hum. I never heard the teacher speak of the words value, contrast, proportion, etc. and it was a "draw what you feel" class, to be sure. There was certainly NO drawing instruction, just the expectation that we would do it. But I remember that Stephanie gave me a drawing of hers. I put it in my backpack. My mom found it and asked me if I had done it. I wanted to experience what it felt like to say yes to being able to draw something
so beautiful, so I said "yes." I couldn't believe I did it, but it did feel pretty good. Years went by. I went to college and majored in psychology, sociology, children's theater (yes), and elementary education. My dad had been a 40 year career man, so I kept thinking that whatever I majored in had to satisfy me for 40 years. There was always something missing. I married a writer and right away was jealous of the typewriter. I could not understand how ANYONE could be so passionate about something...he could litterally spend hours in there! For survival purposes in my new married life, I signed up to take a class in weaving. It didn't take long for me to understand how people lose track of time while creating. However, it was NEW to me. My mother had saved nothing from my creatively deprived childhood, I had done paint by numbers and used coloring books...really. Gag. Anyway, after I kept changing majors, not because of poor grades, (I was a professional student with great grades!) I had a neighb
or who was majoring in interior design. She taught me to draft. I was so excited. I COULD DRAW!!! So I decided to change my major the age of 27. My family freaked, all but my husband who was delighted. You're going to ART SCHOOL?????? THey all asked, wide eyed. I was pretty scared. THought I would be the only one in there who was just changing horses in midstream without a background. Almost from the moment I walked through the doors at University of Houston College of Art, I felt like a breath of reality and a new way of seeing charged through me to my core. I couldn't get enough of it. I had teachers who were actually TEACHING ME!!! ANd I, the kid who lied to her mother about a drawing that she wished she had done, was LEARNING to draw. Not draft, but draw. For the first time in my life, I was learning about value, proportion, line quality, shading, highlighting, and I was being SHOWN how to make it easier. I remember one day I was having lunch with my mother at a restaurant.
A man was sitting a few tables away. My mom looked at him and turned to me, asking me if he wasn't the same man that I had drawn "naked" in my sketch book at school. He was! So funny. TO make a really long story short, I did graduate this time. I have 246 undergraduate hours with honors. I just knew I hadn't found my calling and kept changing majors looking for it. I took the chance, I found my passion. It was hard work, but I carry the memory of my deprivation and lack of confidence on my shoulders every day that I teach my charges. I KNOW that nongifted people learn in art every day. I teach them. I can't wait til you see my latest portraits from my kids, either. I'll post them soon. AMAZING. I love the book "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain." It opened doors for me, and it is the foundation of the way I teach drawing. Kids can really understand the concepts in that book. My third graders have been doing still lifes and ocean pictures this year. THey have mastered overlapping, bigti
me. THey have learned to shade and add highlighting to their colored pencil drawings. THey have learned ways to create unity and movement in their drawings. THey are using these techniques. In their own work, not just in assignments now. I LOVE my job. I feel rewarded by seeing their "aha" response every day. THis is FUN. I've been at the same school for 23 years and still love it. THanks for sharing your portraits. They were INCREDIBLE>