Drawing and Painting Lessons for Children

April 8, 2008 11:08:29 AM PDT
If you're like many Americans, you probably spent some time as a child learning to play an instrument, to sing or dance or to act in a play. And again, if you're like most of us, your parents didn't send you off for music lessons because they truly believed you'd one day become a great maestro. Parents who sign-up their children in for lessons of various kinds do so because trying to master a difficult art can bring developmental benefits that extend well beyond the recital hall. Learning to draw and paint with accuracy can offer the same advantages, says David Jamieson of the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio in Chicago www.VitruvianStudio.com

Art departments in schools nationwide are struggling. Faced with increasing pressure to boost scores on standardized tests, many educators are compelled to focus more on so-called "core" subjects while art classes get pushed aside, their budgets slashed or cancelled altogether. But research shows how important art instruction can be to a vital education. When children learn to draw what they see with accuracy, they master a set of sophisticated mental and physical skills. These skills are useful for making beautiful pictures, but can also apply to a broad array of life's challenges. By becoming better artists young students can become better prepared for life.

At the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio, Jamieson and his staff have developed a step-by-step method for teaching drawing and painting that helps students develop the skills that are so useful both in art and in life.

Learning to Draw and Paint can teach children:

To break-down complex problems into manageable pieces. When students learn to draw, they must also learn to solve problems. Everything we can see in the world is inherently complex ? a tangled mix of form, space, structure, perspective, and the actions of light. Any attempt to draw or paint what we see requires us to analyze that complexity, and break it down into manageable pieces that can be re-assembled easily on the page.

To Think Structurally. Drawing with accuracy requires that students see the "inner structure" of their subject. At Vitruvian, students learn to see what they draw as a series of interconnected shapes, each of which has its own size and position on the page. Using these shapes, students are taught to "build" their drawings from large, simple elements down to the fine details, and to evaluate their drawing decisions by measuring. When students draw by eye and check their work by measuring, they produce artwork that is well-executed from start to finish, and learn to see how the component pieces of things can fit together to create a unified whole.

To improve manual dexterity and control. Part of learning to draw and paint is learning to control materials. When students begin building their drawings, they learn how to use pencil, pastel and paint effectively. Thus, students learn how to do more than merely "express themselves" with paint. They learn to control it, which puts them in command of their own work, and allows for a sense of accomplishment and pride at a job well done.

Discipline. Because drawings are broken down into a series of manageable steps, students can easily see a clear path to completion. Each step completed bolsters a student's confidence, making him/her eager to do what comes next, and see how it turns out. This method makes creating beautiful, refined work seem less daunting, while at the same time fostering a sense of achievement in seeing a project through to the end.

"The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society."

? Dana Gioia, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, from his commencement address at Stanford University, June 2007.

For more information or to enroll your child in classes at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio, please call 312.519.7206 or visit www.VitruvianStudio.com

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