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Lesson Plans

Re: Art and Spontaneity

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Bickley-Green, Cynthia Ann (BICKLEYGREENC)
Sat, 30 Oct 1999 18:07:50 -0400

I suspect that children are spontaneous with their art work because they
believe they have the skills to express the things they want to express. As
children develop, we do not give them assistance in developing more skills
unless they are gifted or in some other way demand more instruction.

By the time of adolescence, the child recognizes that his or her skills are
not well enough developed to create the complex images that come to mind
spontaneously and visual creativity stops. Betty Edwards promotes this line
of reasoning in Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in the chapter
entitled "Your History as an Artist." She writes that most adults do not
progress in art skills beyond the age of 9 or 10. She suggests that we --
art teachers -- develop crafts activities that give children finished
projects without teaching drawing skills.

I think that if we as art teachers were more conscientious about developing
art "skills" throughout out the preK-12th grade curriculum, many more people
would be able to be express themselves through visual media and do so with
gusto and creativity.

I am reminded of my father who was an engineer and a good draftsman. He was
always building small models of things or creating simple seasonal
decorations. When my mother took sewing lessons, he took painting lessons in
adult education classes at a local high school. Later in his life, he lost
much of his sight; as his sphere of activities were limited, he turned to
watercolor painting for enjoyment and spontaneous creative expression.
Throughout his life he had developed and exercised the skills to create
visual images and he used those skills with pleasure for his own amusement.