Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Those Who Teach, Also Do!

This is a gouache study of a pear that I did as a demo for a student today. It's a well-known phenomenon among art teacher friends of mine that some of our best, freshest little paintings happen in the context of explaining a technique to someone else. It's like being put in the position of "expert" gives us confidence, and sets up a self-fulfilling expectation that what we produce will be "good."

Which makes me think of a New York Times article I just read about sibling order, and the role it plays in IQ tests. Researchers believe that first-born children score higher on IQ tests because they have had to teach the younger ones, thus increasing their own intellectual "maturity." Hmm. Of course articles like this instantly make you wonder about your IQ, and how it's been affected. Well, let's see. For my first ten years I was the youngest, then my mother had more babies and I became the middle child (sort of). Then my older sister went off to school and I became the de facto oldest (which I still feel like with certain of my siblings, although around my older sister I always feel like the youngest). To complicate matters, I was the one who left home (youngest=rebel) but I am also the one who tries to make everyone happy and laughing - at least sometimes (middle=peacemaker/clown) and I am also the one who tries to control/organize everything in some situations (oldest=bossy/leader). And, if that weren't enough, I also play the role of husband/know-it-all with my mother.

So I guess in terms of IQ, all that makes idiot savant??? Or just another candidate for therapy?

(Sorry to get so off-topic - this was supposed to be a post about teaching and art - and look what happened!)

(Oh, and in case you're wondering, gouache is opaque watercolor.)


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