Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Unschooling

Unschooling, a term coined in the 1970's by John Holt, names an educational philosophy that advocates learner-chosen activities as a primary means for learning—learning follows living, or in other words derives from play, personal interests, curiosity, mentors, travel, books, experience, experiments, elective classes, social connections, internships, jobs, and more.

I have to laugh at the irony that a classic school behavior, i.e. raising one's hand, is what's elicited in me by the above description, but can you see my wildly waving hand over here: yes! yes! yes!

The joy of my art life is its being so fully learner-chosen and -directed.

Do you remember I purchased a downloadable class (at my own choosing) and said (at my own choosing) I'd use my art from those assignments for the 30 days of my 30-in-30 challenge in January?

How many days did I do so in January? Some. With great joy.

How many days did my curiosity lead me elsewhere? A whole bunch. Again, with great joy.

It's all good!

Today, I followed my nose to blind contour drawing, a practice that came to my attention through artist Debora L. Stewart who directed me to the Nicolaides style of drawing. The course of instruction in Nicolaides's 240-page book can evidently take hours a day for months and months if followed.

Deborah's one-sentence explanation was plenty fire enough for this self-directed learner! Couldn't wait to draw slowly, not looking at paper, only at subject and follow the contours and edges of the subject as though my fingers/pencil were touching what I saw. The idea of imagining that I was touching what I saw is what grabbed me.

Awesome!

No idea what I'll do with this. Can't wait to find out.

contour 1












12 comments:

  1. Oh my, we are on the same wave length. Blind contour drawing was an exercise I put my class through last week! Great thing to do. Makes you really use the brain. I can't wait to see what you do with this, Dotty!

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    1. I want to see what your class does! What fun to think you had them doing blind contour drawing just last week. After they draw, what do you ask them to do next?

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    2. We ran out of time, as we had just done 2 magazine/value studies. But it was fun. They did 4 or 5 quick contour drawings of yours truly, holding up different objects, etc. A good way to practice breaking it down into the basics: lines and shapes, and to practice seeing, vs just looking at something.

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    3. I've only done the one blind contour drawing above in recent history; I'm thinking I did something of this ilk way back in the day in a class I took in college. What really stood out this time for me was to hold my attentive seeing on the chosen subject as though I were touching, and to let that feeling of touching with my eyes play out through my hand, without interrupting that expression by shifting my focus to my paper (i.e. to comparing and measuring and adjusting). My interest comes from wanting to see what this kind of drawing might offer me in the way of lines and shapes for abstract paintings.

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  2. Blind contour drawing gets interesting results.I like that wild plant...

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    1. Thanks, Corinna. I like the wild unfettered plant, too! That freedom of expression is what I find myself seeking in my art of late. See my comments above to Laurie for more of my thoughts re blind contour drawing.

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  3. I really like this exercise!


    I don't understand this sentece (sorry, my dutch is better...): I have to laugh at the irony that a classic school behavior, i.e. raising one's hand, is what's elicited in me by the above description, but can you see my wildly waving hand over here: yes! yes! yes!

    I like the idea that you can get inspired by anything! And you don't have to let yourself get 'bound', even not by the things that you have freely chosen yourself (hope that I' clear). Or pin yourself down on them.

    So: let's follow our bliss....

    bye, Simone

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    1. This exercise has great appeal to me because it invites me to paint or draw by FEELING and it invites me to bypass a photographic representation.

      Let's see if I can explain my confusing sentence. I wanted to say that I was laughing at myself because after describing UNschooling I felt myself responding (in my mind) with a behavior—raising one's hand—that is typically taught in and necessary in SCHOOL. Let me know if this clears up my message!

      Yes, let's follow our bliss!

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    2. Yes, you are very clear! I guess sometimes I already understand it more or less unconsciously. But because I don't want to make a stupid impression when I comment, I ask: 'do I understand it right?' Isn't this a wonderful example of schoolish behaviour ;-)

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    3. Simone, I'm laughing at your pointing out your OWN schoolish behavior!!!

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  4. Oh exciting Dotty :) I love how it takes up the entire page. When I was little, I remember a teacher made fun of my writing. She was filling in or something. I wrote my name on my paper really big. Took up almost the entire top of the page. They wanted us to write it small in the Right hand corner, taking up about 1/4 of the width. The stranger asked, "How can you even read this?" Of my regular teacher. She replied, "Oh that is easy, that's Sheila!"
    Here is to using up all the space on the page!

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    1. Sheila, love the story of your name's filling the page. You show them who's boss, girl! Thanks for your vote of confidence in my using up all the space with my drawing!

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