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Nymphs and Satyr, by William Bouguereau (Detail)
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  • Art School Anecdote

    by Wanda

    Hello,

    I am slowly going through your comprehensive site and am enjoying it very much. I wanted to tell you a story from my days in art school, many years ago.

    I took a lot of continuing education classes at a prestigious art school. I was lucky that I had some good teachers, especially in the figure drawing and anatomy classes. However, as you might expect, were the artsy-fartsy teachers who didn't really teach anything. In those classes I mostly just drew or painted what I wanted and they left me alone. I can't recall one good bit of advice they gave me, or really anything they told me that helped me. At least I got access to a model, which was of some use.

    Anyway, in this one class (figure drawing) there was this one student who drew "funky"-I think he had potential, but he had the big head-short legs thing going on. His artwork had a certain charm, but it was primitive. He never seemed to get better and the teacher NEVER mentioned anything about the incorrect proportions on his figures.

    Well, I was young and full of beans, so one time I approached him and asked him-"Do you WANT to draw realistically?" He said that of course he did! I told him, as gently as I knew how at that time, that he wasn't there yet, that there were some proportion problems. He said that the teacher had assured him that this was his style or his "freshness" (I forget the artsy fartsy babble term) and she never encouraged him to change. Because of this, he thought he was doing "realistic" drawing.

    When I left him, he was a bit rattled and I saw him talking to the teacher again, and I could see she was doing "damage control" and trying to undo what I had just done, which is tell him the truth and ask him what HE wanted.

    I thought what she did to him was not a kindness. He didn't realize that he was drawing things "off," but she did. And she decided what HE wanted wasn't important. Anyway, I think she convinced him to keep going down the path he was going. Ah well.

    I just thought I'd share this story with some like-minded people. If you are publishing any of art school anecdotes from site visitors, you have permission to use this email.

    Regards,
    Wanda

    2011-02-03 00:00:00