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Lesson Plans


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Thom Maltbie (tmaltbie)
Wed, 17 Sep 1997 09:25:58 -0400 (EDT)

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Excuse me, I don't mean to be judgemental, but . . .

I believe that drawing instruction that involves formulae is not serving
the needs of the students learning to draw. For example, to start a
self-portrait (or any portrait, for that matter) with the drawing of an
oval is eliminating the observation component of the drawing experience.
Drawing begins with seeing. (Never mind that drawing a portrait of oneself
is doubly complicated).

If you subscribe to the left-right brain stuff, then you see drawing as a
struggle between the observing right brain and the all-knowing left brain.
The left brain begins early in life inventing symbols for what it doesn't
want to take the time to see; e.g., stick people and oval heads. Kids will
advance through stages of more sophisticated symbols, but these are still
left brain constructs.

To draw well, they have to learn to see each head and each body anew,
making the same observational assessment of the object each time they draw.

Yes, I do guided drawing exercises, but each time we are observing
something to be drawn. We deal with lines and shapes as the appear in the
observed object, not arbitrary lines and shapes that we have named in

I'm coming to believe that drawing is a combination of observations (right
brain) and assumptions about what is inherently true of the objects - its
unseen and underlying surfaces and structure, the light source, etc.
Combine these also with the studied assumptions of visual perception
(things like perspective). These assumtions are in the domain left brain,
and therefore should be referred to judiciously. Seeing is the most basic
and trusted referent. First graders (and most students) are comfortable
with concrete thinking. Seeing/drawing should as concrete as possible. That
is not to say that art making is not an abstract process. It should,
however, be based on observastations, both visual and philosophical.

Again, I'm sorry to be pointed. Please feel free to flame, with a positive

South Ripley Elementary School - Versailles, IN 47042

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