When my 5-year-old started school earlier this year, she had never been taught to “colour inside the lines”. We had colouring books around, but it was never a priority and I’d never bothered to explain how they were “meant” to work. This “inability” immediately made her suspicious to the teacher who saw it as a lack as when presented with a photocopied sheet to colour in she would simply turn it over and draw her own picture.
In the end I conceded the point that colouring in had an educational purpose e.g. how to operate pencils, crayons and brushes properly, co-ordination and a certain amount of discipline. I was helped along by this comment from tinks at Onemomentcaller “Discussing the school-based art education of their young kids, a contemporary art collector I know once suggested that you have to learn the rules before you can break them, which I kind of like, and suspect I’ll cling to in the coming years.” I also invested in this colouring book which helped me get my head around the colouring issue although as yet I haven’t let her loose on it. I still think a NZ edition would be quite brilliant – any publishers want to take me up on it? I’d be happy to do it and it would be a great seller Te Papa Press!
The issue made me think of how I used to look at abstract art. I always wanted to know if the artists could really paint/draw – you know, before they went all weird, because I wanted to see a technical ability that initially I couldn’t see in say a Pollock drip painting. Great technical execution is something I really admire in art but now I can see it in less orthodox works as well.
I’ve found it can also redeem mediums which I am not overly fond of. Recently I met an artist, Steve Hall, whose watercolours I just love. Maybe not your cup of tea but look at the light in “1907”. (yes, yes, the old NZ light issue)
Sadly it looks like I won’t be getting to the Angus Symposium this weekend, but on a brighter note “Evolution of Mirrors” arrived in the post so some good reading ahead.