Saturday, 11 June 2016

Grinding Gears

[Later - at Circle Partner A's request I have removed her work. I'm sorry she has asked me to do this, but am happy to oblige]


These are A's April additions to my Sketchbook Circle sketchbook. It's clear that we're operating on different tracks. She's told me that she prefers not to work into my pages, which I'm OK with, and from that I assume she'd prefer me not to work into her pages. I'm afraid that probably means she's not too happy with my work on those pages, but it's too late to do anything about that now.

[I have, however, now removed all but one of those pages from the blog]

A is of the opinion that working into pages would be like "talking over" me, whereas I feel that it becomes more a work of collaboration, an image that couldn't exist without the input of two people.

She goes along with the currently prevailing idea that students should be allowed to develop their own ideas without interference from the tutor. I ran into this concept at university and found it terribly frustrating. There were times when I would have been thrilled to have a tutor suggest a way forward rather than being constantly asked "Well, what do you think?" I always think, but sometimes thinking needs a nudge. I never got one.

The argument behind this hands-off approach by teachers is that they don't want to produce students who are carbon copies of themselves. In the past this rejected method produced two types of student, at least amongst those with real talent: those who took the style of their teacher and went on to develop and reinvigorate it, and those who rejected it and in doing so, went on to produce something fresh and new. Both of these types benefited from being given a working language to start with.

What I find most difficult about A's additions (and here I must emphasise that I don't dislike them) is that if they are the result of a visual conversation between us, what is she saying to me? How do they relate to my pages? Maybe it's a little too cerebral for me. Still, I'll keep on keeping on.

1 comment:

Boud said...

I agree that a skilled teacher can show a student great ways to develop without imitating the teacher. I've taught adult art workshops for many years, and will demo techniques, but never an actual drawing, for fear students will inadvertently echo what I've done.

But I do analyze and point out strengths and possibilities to students then let them decide what to choose from the options. It seems to me that if your teachers didn't even respond that far, you might as well have been teaching yourself anyway, and saved the time and money!

I think your "partner" in this exercise is simply operating on a solo track, disregarding your participation. Which makes me wonder why she took this on? Collaborative art requires collaboration!

Good for you for pushing on anyway, and maybe some connections will emerge eventually.