I teach part time at an art studio in Boston. The school is focused on technical training for realist oil painting.
I noticed a regression in the beginner's and intermediate student's performance and wish to bring this up for discussion. I believe the general performance decrease may be from two factors:
1. The Abandonment of essential skill development.
2. The Fixation of trivial skill development.
The problem starts with priority. Some student's use the drawing aids solely to get measurements quickly. They miss the more important purpose which is to get over the handicap of optical illusions and acquiring proportional awareness. Tools used for drawing measurements are abandoned too early and fixation on an improvisational or free hand manner of drawing ensues. This results in compounded errors that eventually force the student to regress the drawing to fix early mistakes. The students misconceive the tools only as temporary aids and abandon their training wheels. This is illogical because the idea of training wheels is not only for one to ride a bike, but more importantly, acquire the essential skill of balance awareness. They seem to have the product and byproduct of the training mixed up.
Also, uncertainty in measurement or error tolerance doesn't seem to be sinking in with them. The idea that all measurements are approximate and using tools to increase accuracy and precision is at best, fugitive with them. For example, if measuring twice gets two marginally different outcomes, they abandon the tools and just wing it. No tolerance for error but so much tolerance for falling into optical traps.
What do you all think about this? Why do students abandon essential training in exchange for trivial pursuits?
I do not teach the classes where these problems are observed (Life drawing, Master copies, and Cast drawing).