To Draw or Not to Draw…On Student Art
I’ve encountered all kinds of art teachers in my life as both student and educator. Some would never dare to demonstrate by drawing or painting on student work. Others perhaps do not see the harm in ‘showing’ students how to correct or further develop their art.
While in high school, I was able to take a life drawing class at the local Art Center. During one of our sessions, to the melodies of Tom Waits, the Artist in Residence used her charcoal on my paper to explain how to improve my line work. I remember feeling disappointed and that somehow it wasn’t my own work anymore.
During my student teaching experience, the high school Art teacher I worked with frequently corrected student ‘mistakes’ and showed students ‘how to do it’ by taking his pencil to their art. I wondered what students thought of his master and apprentice style of teaching.
I choose not draw on student work for several reasons.
I see student work as a record of personal and creative growth.
When a work of art is created, there is more that goes into it than just paint or charcoal. Self expression, emotion, memories and personal experiences enter the work, let alone the blood, sweat, and tears that it takes to get it done. Art should be truly owned by students. My hands would only take away that ownership.
Lastly, I see myself as a facilitator; I lead and guide students through the artistic process, but ultimately it is the student who must find a way to reach their goal.
How do you feel about making your mark on student work? Can it benefit students? What other ways do you explicitly demonstrate to students?