I don't want to be spammy, but I posted this some time ago in the wrong (schools) forum, so no one seemed to give a damn. I wish I could delete that one. However, I think it may be something of quite some interest for a number of clueless people like I was a bit of time ago.
It is regarding some milestones along the path of art education, and it's both old news to anyone who already has a time-long art foundation, and yet something ignored by many art students and even professionals.
I recently began reading a very nice book by painter Ian Roberts called "Mastering Composition". From the very beginning of the book I noticed it was not promising magical solutions or 'try-my-infalible' methods to make astonishing art like lots of other art books I've read, but rather spoke quite frankly about how he was trying to cause in the reader subtely from beginning to end a "perceptual shift" regarding composition.
The term shocked me, since I had never read about it explicitly before, but yet it sounded very familiar. I had felt that "shift" before.
In fact, I exactly remember when. After a long period shading every pencil drawing that I did, very specially life models, one day in bed, before getting asleep, I suddenly felt -like some kind of divine revelation- that I understood about value contrasts and the meaning of 'lighting/color scheme'; a big chunk of what had me struggling every time I tried to make some painting and it looked so dull even though I'd stuff it with detail. By the next day, the leap in my freedom while doodling stuff had been huge, and it had all happened just inside of my brain. While in my case it was a sudden thing, it seems to happen a bit more gradually to a lot of people.
Anyway, that day I was shocked and didn't know if that was a common thing on art education, or if it might be kind of weird stuff I'd better shut up. Then, when some time later I readed the term "perceptual shift" in Roberts' book, it made a lot of sense. So basically, art education is not about attending classes and expecting to 'learn' in the most common sense of the word, but it is rather about having changes in the way we process information, and that is what teachers and exercises aim for. Is art education basically just a sucession of sudden shifts in our own frame of mind, then?
I've been recently very interested in discovering about that subject. If that is so, then there is one shift about value, one about projecting what we see into our 2D brain using composition, and about how many common 'shifts' are there? Do you feel your academic training is complete (fully consider yourself an artist) after going through all of them? Are they sudden or gradual, and most interestingly, what kind of art exercises lead to each one of them?
I guessed it could be a great help, specially for students here, to listen about that idea, and have people sharing their thoughts, or perhaps even seasoned professionals commenting their experiences or dissecting the changes in our way of "seeing" from the time we all suck at drawing to when one becomes a true master.