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Two art lessons
    After a misery of a childhood doing no art and hating to be asked, but always wishing I could draw, two events set me free.
    The first was an art lesson on drawing faces. "Begin with a circle," advised my teacher. "Then..." she looked over at my laborious potato drawing. 
    "Well, first learn to draw circles. Just draw lots of circles, again and again, until it is simple." 
    What a concept!

    The second lesson was even simpler.     Somebody simply mentioned that anyone who can sign his  name is already making a series of very complex lines in a manner that is unique to himself but understandable to others. In other words, drawing is only making lines, and this is not an esoteric skill; it is common.
    Not to forget that some of us need penmanship lessons, but those are easily come by once you choose to pursue them. It is an elementary way of gaining control of the lines you produce.

A note on penmanship
    While we're at it...
    A flowing script is actually more natural to the hand and its motions than is block lettering or manuscript. I don't know where the custom began of asking children to make manuscript letters until their bad penmanship was confirmed, only then teaching cursive. Most want cursive at once, and a light and graceful cursive at that. So let them use the alphabet they like, or no alphabet at all while they play with loops and recurving swirls. It is very important to engage the hand responding to the mind and to language. It was made to do this. We know this by various indications, the simplest being the great difficulty of talking expressively without moving your hands. 
    This is not about pushing a prim or old-fashioned skill; it is about developing the brain in its proper relationship with the hands. The emphasis on digital proficiency, which has very little effect on hand-brain coordination, appears to be encouraging dysgraphia. Note also: erasing does not help anyone develop penmanship. The goal is not clean pages but connected systems.
    An inspiring TED talk by Master Penman, Jake Weidemann is the source for some of this information.

Art Essay Links
History Page
Tessellating Owls [Link]
    Tessellations are figures which repeat and cover a plane (flat) surface with no space between. A checkerboard is a tessellation of squares. The surface of a honeycomb is a tessellation of hexagons. It is impossible to make a tessellation of regular pentagons, but an irregular pentagons, such as the figure of a square house with a triangular roof, tessellates.
    Click the title for some tessellating owls. You are welcome to copy the figure and color it. Note that you can shrink or enlarge the image and you can make as many owls as you want; they will always fit. A quick  visit to the Owl section of any library will show how many ways nature has found to color these critters and embroider their eyes, even aside from your own artistic license.

Hedge School
Hedge School
Appreciating and Doing
    Appreciating great art is all very well, but I believe that the average child wants to be able to express himself in drawings. He is not content, though he may be relieved, with clumsy craft projects.
    We should teach drawing, and there are now many good resources for doing this. Art history and appreciation will make more sense to anyone who has done some drawing of his own.
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