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How I would go about art education How I would go about art education
by Joseph Gatt
2021-01-02 12:28:39
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In today's and yesterday's world, art education, be it painting, sculpture or music, was about looking at the big picture and producing the big picture. Or about “creativity” or creating a new piece. Problem is: teachers never really taught technique!

For painting, technique is fairly simple. Painting on a canvas or drawing on a sheet of paper involves observing two things.

First, you need the master the colors. When you try to paint or draw something, let's say produce a picture or a landscape or a portrait, your eyes need to be able to perfectly distinguish the shades of colors or the landscape or portrait or still life or scene that you are trying to produce.

Second, painting and drawing is about perfect mastery of the lines and angles.

pain001_400So when you learn or teach painting or drawing, it's not rocket science. You need to get the students to be able to identify the shades of color perfectly. Then, you need to teach them how to mix the colors to be able to produce that exact shade of color.

Second thing you need to do: train the students to be able to perfectly observe the lines and angles. In portraits for example, lines and angles are very precise and subtle. If you try to draw or paint my face for example, the lines and angles surrounding my nose or front are going to be very precise and subtle. So you need the kind of vision and measurement to be able to produce the exact lines and angles.

So learning to paint and draw is about patience and precision. When you draw or paint your first drawings, you're going to get the shades of color mixed up, and your lines and angles are going to be very sketchy. But as time goes by, you'll get the kind of vision and dexterity that will enable you to draw the perfect angles and mix the perfect shades of color.

What's the perfect technique for a painting on a canvas or a drawing? There is no perfect technique. Some like to start at the top. Others like to start from the bottom, while others start from the middle. That's more of a personal thing.

Sculpture. Sculpture is a complicated art, because sculpture is the mastery of lines and angles. A lot of sculptures and statues were made fun of on social media, namely because the mastery of angles was very sketchy.

When you try to sculpt the statue of an individual or of a landscape or scene, you need excellent mastery of the angles. So if you're going to sculpt my face, you need to be able to visualize with perfect precision the angles around my nose or my ears or my front.

One thing sculptors find difficult to master is the angles around the mouth and eyes of individuals, because that is very subtle. Because our faces evolve as we age, and we have different facial expressions depending on our moods, a lot of sculptors find it very difficult to choose which face to represent, and which angles to depict.

Other sculptors unfortunately don't focus on angles at all and sculpt more based on intuition. But if you want to perfect sculpture, you want to be able to master the angles in 3 Divisions or 4 Dimensions.

Unfortunately, there exists no software to help sculptors measure the angles that they are trying to depict to make their work easier. The technology exists, but hasn't reached sculptors yet.

Music. Often music teachers try to teach songs before they teach the notes. That is, rather than teach how to identify the individual notes and succession of notes, they move straight to teaching how to reproduce twinkle twinkle little star.

But, when teaching music, you really should start with one note. Then a succession of two notes. Then a succession of three notes. And over the course of a few months you can produce a succession of notes.

The other thing about music instruments teachers rarely focus on is technique. Piano teachers rarely teach individuals how to handle the keyboard, while guitar or violin teachers rarely focus on how your hands should handle the instruments. Handling instruments is usually a matter of how much force or energy you use when playing the instrument. When you play some partitions, you need to hold the instrument lightly. For other partitions, you need to use more force.  

Final important factor in art education: patience! Trial and error is a big part of art education. Technique is indeed important, but, in art as with everything else, the more you practice, the better you become at it.

Problem is some people practice for hours a day, weeks on end, but because they were never taught the techniques, they have to figure out the techniques on their own. Some do end up figuring out the techniques, while others paint or draw or play instruments for 20 years without figuring out what techniques they should be using.

In sum, art is kind of like solving a Rubik’s cube. Once you've figured out the technique, it becomes rather easy.

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