Monday, November 10, 2008

debating the relevance...

So I found myself in a debate with my advisor about the validity of life drawing. I am currently taking life drawing as part of my drawing concentration. Technically, one is suppose to take Drawing III twice to have a concentration in drawing, but in light of finding out about that bit of information too late, and wanting to take life drawing it all worked out to take life drawing and drawing III to fulfill my concentration. I was discussing this with my advisor and found myself in a debate over why life drawing would be beneficial to me as future art educator. In my program we are not required to take life drawing because it is something we would not teach in the schools. I found this reasoning shocking because that would void many other things I am learning here at Stout. This is especially unreasonable when every school has different funding and therefore can afford (or not afford) different classes. For example, the high school I attended was in a well funded area so I was able to take art metals, ceramics, graphic design, sculpture and all the "regular" art classes. Plus, in one of my drawing classes in high school we did do a form of life drawing, but with a clothed model. One of the students in the class would sit on the table while everyone gathered around and drew him or her for the class period. After informing my advisor this I was still shot down because "only a few schools have such extensive funding."
I proceed to say how I have learned so much more at this point in the semester in my life drawing class than I did in my drawing I and II classes. I am learning how doing art starts with the position and composure of the artists body. To have a drawing that is full of life, a person needs to place him or herself in a position that conveys life. Being in an uncomfortable position that does not use the full extend of a persons arm is not the way to portray life. It is also important to stand far enough a way from the paper to not only use the full extension of the arm, but to also have a clear line of vision of both the subject and the drawing.
I also emphasized my own desire to draw the human figure well for my future students. I know that art projects I did in High School incorporated drawing people. This is a skill I want to be able to not only do well, but know how to instruct my future students so they can also draw figures properly.
It may be a class focused on drawing the human figure, but I have been learning about proportion, line variation, utilizing the picture plane, proper posture, how to reflect, and how to really look and draw what is actually there.
After explaining and expressing my numerous reasons, our meeting time ended with the reconsideration of how life drawing can be valid for a future art educator.


Jacob Frankle said...

Yeah I don't really understand that. The arts are getting swept under the rug these days in our education system and teachers like yourself are going to be making choices as to how to teach and motivate your class. I understand why they don't have nude models in high school or middle school art what with all the adolescent hormones and general ridiculousness of most 15 yr olds.(I still think most older highschoolers who are interested in art are mature enough for it) but life drawing is not something that becomes unimportant once the clothes come on, if anything it's an excellent way to incorporate the process of art, studies, gestures. It's an important method of learning about proportion, space, and relationships of objects, lighting, shadow, form, weight, and even exageration. This is just a side note but I think it's time Adam and Eve let the leaves fall and try another bite from that apple.

oh.. don't teach that in school by the way.

Jacob Frankle said...

I was just making a joke about Adam and Eve biting the apple from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and in turn shamefully covering their "private parts" with leaves. haha

xenia elizabeth said...

This is unbelievable. Just because you would not be drawing nude figures in elementary or high school, you would still have figures drawing people, animals, organic forms, lines(!). You would still be wanting them to look carefully and be inquisitive about what they see.

I know from former students who are out teaching that Life Drawing (even LD II) has helped them a lot with students, helping them feel more confident with drawing people and faces and just having a better understanding of form in general.

Thanks for the plug for Life Drawing.

Nate Koehler said...

I didn't have to take this class for my Graphic Design major, but I wanted to take it because found myself wanting to paint the human form in a few paintings, but i didn't feel like I had the knowledge to attempt such tasks. I think that perhaps they should rethink the Art Ed requirements and suggest that Life Drawing should be taken. Shelly I agree, I feel like i've learned the most from this drawing class, than from the others. Life Drawing has incorporated Drawing I and II into this, but it has introduced me into a new way of thinking when it comes to drawing. Finding the long access that forms the contour can be applied outside this class. It's a new method to put into our bag of tricks that we've been developing from drawing one and two.

I was impressed that your school had all those courses available to you. My high school had the basic drawing and graphics class. It was a good intro, but it sounds like your program was a step ahead, and that's great. It's hard to see some of my friends in Green Bay study graphic design at a private college where they are using Adobe CS1 and 2, when CS4 is coming out. I feel spoiled compared to that situation, when I have access to some of the latest software and computer labs. It's too bad that some art programs are the last departments to get funded and the first to be cut.