Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Friday, August 20, 2010

A Touchy Subject

I seldom lose my temper, but one thing that will raise my hackles without fail is opening an art magazine and seeing a photo of an instructor with his brush scooting along the surface of his student's painting.  Why do people who call themselves teachers do this?

Having spent a 43-year career teaching emerging artists, I claim myself qualified to make a call on this one, even though it's another one of those subjects whose argument has stirred up many a heated discussion between me and other art folks.  It's a subject that those teaching art won't get take seriously and those taking art instruction won't question, but a student should never allow it to happen, no matter how acclaimed the instructor.

In no circumstance is it acceptable for an instructor to touch a student's work.

First of all, the instant the instructor makes the first mark, that painting no longer belongs to the student; second, it is an arrogant assumption and disrespect for the student's art work for a teacher to "correct" the piece.  Any skill needing to be strengthened can be demonstrated elsewhere, even if the teacher needs to reconstruct a facsimile of what the student has done.

Even students--especially students--have a right to own their creations, flawed though they might be.  They have a right to show their exercises to their families with a clear conscious that all the marks placed therein belong to them.  Now if they could just grab the courage to say to their instructors, "Not on my painting, please."

Have a wonderful Friday.


Sharon Wright said...

Ah, we might have to agree to differ on this one, although not the principal, I agree whole heartedly. But I remember, at a workshop with Ken Paine, I longed for him to 'improve' my work, that being the only way to have something of his. I am glad to report I have two pieces, with parts by his hand.

Dianne Mize said...

Or had he done a little demo on the side and handed it to you, you would have wholes by his hand...(smiles)

Dale said...

I think it would be very appropriate for the student to say, "Ah, that's very nice. Here." and hand the teacher the painting.

bj said...

Once upon a portrait workshop, long ago, I longed for the instructor to 'touch up' the eye iris on my attempt at painting my daughter. She steadfastly refused...and now I'm glad that I can say that I painted my daughter's portrait.