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My belief is that essentially anyone can draw. Some people are just more practiced at it than others. When we are children, art is such a large and important part of our lives. We paint and draw with complete freedom and a total lack of self-consciousness. As we get older, we struggle to create more realistic images and it’s at this point where some of us give up and go on to other things. If we are lucky enough to have parents who encourage our creativity, our artistic skills will grow with us as we grow into adults. One of my favorite quotes about art is from the book Art and Fear. The quote is from a little girl in the first grade. She asked her Father what he does for a living. He answered, “I teach at the college and I teach people to draw and paint.” The little girl responded, “You mean they forget?”
When I work with students, whether in painting or drawing, I encourage the same lack of self-consciousness we possess as children. I start with the concept of “there are no mistakes”. Through basic drawing techniques such as blind contour, gesture and continuous line, students relax and recognize that there are many ways to draw. They begin to understand the process of drawing through these exercises. To develop creative awareness, I encourage exploration of their own thoughts, feelings, emotions and views of the world. These techniques also help the students familiarize themselves with various drawing media. Once there is a familiarity with the way the different mediums work and the initial shyness of drawing is overcome, I begin teaching more concrete concepts such as form, shape, light and line quality.
I display student work in the classroom so that students can see how their classmates solved visual problems differently. I believe this fosters openness and discussion along with the exchange of ideas, not only between the students and teacher, but also between students. Regardless of how long a person has been drawing, there is always something to learn from the work of others.
Reading how other artists have thought about, approached and eventually solved their own artistic challenges has helped me in my work. Books and other reference materials are fantastic tools to encourage further artistic explor May 2, 2013 rk creativity as well as discussion among students. I like to observe and discuss with each student their interests and help them explore their inte May 2, 2013 urces. For instance, I often notice a student has a particular drawing or painting style that is similar to another artist. I refer the student to books, magazines, and websites that discuss the specific artist or style. These resources have been invaluable in increasing student’s art history awareness and curiosity.
I strive to strengthen the idea that drawing is the key to every other form of art. Being able to draw something, whether in a photo realistic manner or child like expressionist manner, means the person has a basic understanding of the subject. With this understanding, the subject can be explored through all kinds of mediums, such as sculpture, painting, printmaking and ceramics. Understanding something by drawing leads to other creative understanding.