Monday, May 29, 2017

Drawing Matters

I've been processing the kids' drawings into a quilt for our big auction, and it's got me beyond busy, a labor of love for sure. 

All my students start in kindergarten learning the proportions of the human body. They are able to draw many different actions and positions, with legs and arms bent at knees and elbows, going somewhere or doing something. The quilt shows some of their activities at Phoenix Rising, and while humming along I've been remembering things they've had to say about the importance of drawing: "You can show an idea . . . You can make something beautiful . . . You can tell a story using pictures, or add pictures to words and make them mean more."

While we are on the subject of drawing, recently my students have seen the famous drawing by Philo T. Farnsworth, the boy who invented television at the age of fourteen. (Did you even know?)  This sketch may not look like much but it is loaded with information that got a farm kid the first-ever patent in the development of television.

My students all know Beatrix Potter and the Peter Rabbit stories. They have also learned that through careful observational drawing she learned of the reproductive cycle of mushrooms and fungi, something no one had ever yet understood. She wrote her findings, her paper and drawings were presented to the British institute for science (a "boys' club;" the paper had to be read by a man since women were not allowed to enter). Beatrix Potter was eventually acknowledged as an important contributor to the science of mycology. Which all goes to say that developing good skills in drawing can be mighty important.

It does me good to hear my students talk about the value of skills I work to teach them. I love that they understand how much alike artists and scientists can be in carefully observing and recording things. Too, I think they are going to like seeing their sketches and drawings in a whole new form that will keep someone warm and cozy. Some of their other artwork will be in the auction - if you live nearby, please come!

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