Sunday, June 1, 2008

Flunking Art? WTF?

According to my daughter's year-end report card, she received an "F" in Art. Shocked and dismayed, I went to the school's on-line site and determined that she had turned in every assignment, so it wasn't a matter of blowing off the class.

Mind you, this is an art class, not an "Art History 101" class. Art. Plain and simple. You do the assignment to the best of your ability, you pass. You hand in a blank sheet of paper, you don't pass. Or at least that is how I think it should be. I've seen my daughter's work. It's good. And that is an understatement because I don't want to come off as the gushing mommy who says everything their children do is just sooooooooooooo perfect. Okay, sometimes her art is a bit angsty, but, hey, she's a goth. Without all the make-up though, because she hates make-up. When the assignment was "depict yourself in the future", she drew a picture of herself as a homeless person, sleeping on the street. She was using a dog as a pillow, and was draped in a newspaper that bared the headline "China Declares War On US".

Okay, the idea that my daughter sees herself living on the streets in the future disturbs me as a mom...but I'll get to that later.

Another assignment was to make a observational drawing. She drew a page from a graphic novel as she would see it when reading it. She even took in account the distortion caused from the curve of the page as if it was just turned. She also drew the glare from a reading lamp, reflecting off the glossy paper. My daughter even made an effort not to draw in the anime style she is so used to, because, after all, her Art teacher from last year deplored, "That is NOT where the eyes are located in conjunction to the nose, and the ears are always about the same level as the eyes..." To which my daughter replied, "Um, Picasso?"

Yeah, we all know that he was a failure because he drew humans that looked like halibuts. Good thing he didn't take Art in high school.

I had this wonderful art teacher in high school. His idea of assignments was, "Find something of interest in this room, and draw it." He had one section in his classroom where he took old barnboard and created a vignette made to look like the interior of an old cabin. That was where many of the students drew inspiration from. That was when he wasn't taking us outside and instructing us to really look at the large oak tree that dominated the schoolground. I think the only time he ever really graded anything was when we would have to "Guess The Artist".

So, now my daughter probably thinks she is incapable of drawing. Well, in that horrible atmosphere called High School, that seems to be the opinion.

No wonder she depicts herself as someday being homeless, living on the streets. Fifteen is a difficult enough age without someone in authority, a teacher, more or less telling you that you suck at the one thing you love doing the most.

Oh, where have you gone, Mr Martin? My daughter would have loved having you as an Art teacher.

This from the girl who can't draw.

1 comment:

  1. How the HELL is this happening? I'm guessing we've got this guy saying, "If she doesn't want to learn it my way, she's going to fail." If she's refusing to use prescribed techniques, I could see a C, maybe. But I didn't even get an F in my design class in college when I couldn't draw a straight line with a ruler.

    Reminds me of my college-level poetry teacher -- the one who called my stuff "greeting-card cliche", yet gushed over the student's "lovers like moths to a streetlight" as "highly orginal". Yes, THAT student was petite and blonde and this professor was having a midlife crisis, but ...

    Tell her not to give up. This is more about the art teacher's ego than it is about her talent.