Is it beneficial for students when their artworks done in class are “touched up” by their teachers? ????
At times, this teaching step may be viewed as” touch up” to make the final artwork more presentable. This is not our objective at all. This discussion is to help parents to gain a deeper understanding of art teaching and how learning can take place in art class. Art like many other disciplines such as music, sport, writing, etc, is a reflection of a learner ‘s fundamental grasp of art skills in order to interpret visually using lines, colour, tone and many other elements what a child see, think or feel.
In art class, we have a few important practices that we uphold;
Each piece of artwork has a lesson objective and teachers view each art piece as a practice piece. This is an important point, our students are learning to draw and paint the subject matter. We teach the child possible ways to approach this subject matter and how to see and draw it, the student’s journal will record these drawings.
We believe that all young or old are able to practice drawing and gain confidence in representing their ideas visually and tap into the power of visualisation. Hence, “learning to see” is a key step to drawing confidently and constant practice help to produce sensitive lines, stunning details, and confidence in form rendering. Truly we can all practice and learn to draw, it is not true that it is only for the visually talented.
Each lesson is guided by comments and demonstration of drawing by the teacher to help the child to see and to practice how to interpret what he/she sees. It will take time for this skill to be honed and developed to a confident stage as drawing is both a perception and a conceptual exercise. The teachers demonstrate to help break down complex subject matters for the students to understand. Feedback is given at this stage through suggestions and demonstration.
Each piece of artwork is done with layering, artwork is not done with one single layer of paint. The first layer is usually a general painting of tones and colour follow up with more specific tones and details and finally integrating shadow, highlight, and details. All these steps are important for a student to learn.
Each layer will attempt to interpret various details to bring the art piece to a higher level of finishing. When a teacher intervenes by demonstrating how to execute certain strokes, missing details and blending technique, it is not to ‘touch up” to make the work more presentable. If this is the objective then it will not be helpful. Instead, we demonstrate how certain strokes can be executed, blended better or add certain missing information such as tone, details, shadow and highlight. Another important takeaway for the student is to see how paying attention to some of these areas will help them improve the outcome or the finishing of their artworks. Without this input from the teacher, it is not easy for a child to see and understand how important such finishing will help their work or why they need to pay attention to the techniques.
A composition will go through editing, drilling, and demonstration is important and personal teaching is often impactful for learning to take place. It is quite clear for a teacher to see the weakness of a child’s drawing or painting and guidance is provided but we also understand the importance that learning takes time. We do not constantly point out every single mistake and watch the child’s single execution because we want them to be brave and try. The effort is to be celebrated and we want all our students to learn to be autonomous.
Each artwork although a practice piece still holds great importance to the students. It is a space for them to exercise their creativity and imagination. By working on each piece of artwork it is an enriching experience for students.
Each artwork is unique and important. This awareness and consciousness help to build interest and passion in the student but it is the practice and the desire to gain mastery of expression that creates a convincing and compelling artwork. It is not easy at all for our students hence we unstuck our students by showing them or suggesting ways to work on their work. Time and time again our students reward us by producing personalised and highly creative work.