6/19/2014

Draw your own conclusions

In September of 1970 I was in the 7th grade.  For some reason the controllers of the school decided it would be more High School preparatory to give us four teachers and make us move to four different classrooms during the day.

Mrs. Leggett taught us Spanish, History, and Art.

Yes, "Art" was part of the curriculum.

I remember watching a film strip* about how to paint with watercolors. And then we were issued a baby-food jar with a little water, and told to take our little tin paint box (with its seven or eight hard lozenges of wettable pigments) outside, and paint something realistic.  On some kind of issued paper that was slightly thicker and more textured than newsprint**. 

Another time, we were told to get out our collection of six watercolor felt-tip pens and told to draw a human face -- oh, we had plenty of instruction in technique, for we had watched a film strip about the proportions of the human face (is it really that far from the tip of my nose to the top of my head?).

Another time Mrs. Leggett put a goldfish in a bowl on her desk, and told us to pencil sketch the goldfish.  No film strip that time.

Need I say that my approach to creating two-dimensional art is more impressionistic than representational?  My outdoor watercolor of the side of a building with Italian cypress was a warped and soupy sampler of muddy colors.  My "face" looked like maybe an Andy Warhol design of a fallen souffl√© -- in neon lights.  And I gave up on the goldfish and drew an example of pisces as one might find him in a mosaic in the ruins of Pompeii. 

It turned out that my lack of realism was Bad Art.  It was a Failure, of temperament as well as technique.  It was probably part of the Willful Maliciousness of Boys. 

We received letter grades in Art.  Mrs. Leggett gave me Cs and Ds.  (The Art grade went nicely with my Math grade that year.) 

And what did I learn from 7th Grade Art Class with Mrs. Leggett? *****


- - -
* It's kinda like a slide show***.

** That's what they printed newspapers**** on.

*** It's kinda like a Power Point presentation.

**** It's kinda like a cross between a book and a web site.

***** See title of post, above.



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