In my teaching of beginner drawing students bring NEA with them. They think all their drawings are bad, even though they are in a beginning drawing class. I stress at the start that they don't have to know how to draw. They are going to learn how to draw in the class. It has evolved that my mission is to help students find PEA in their work and in the work of their classmates.
I teach students to identify STRENGTHs in every drawing of their own and others. Even when an overall drawing is not a success, there is something in the drawing that can be developed. I focus on Edges, Dark and Light, Shapes, Relationships of things in the drawing, and Gestalt (the overall feeling of the drawing). The list is from Betty Edwards' 5 perceptual skills.
For example, I teach chiaroscuro using a single light source on a single lemon. Some students get the light and dark, others get the shape, others get an overall mood (Gestalt). When we do a critique I don't let them say I like..., or something is good (value judgement). Instead, students have to start with the words "I notice" and find a strength that they recommend to develop. In this way the class as a whole gradually becomes more confident and moving toward stronger specific skills. Their unsuccessful drawing strategies gradually fade into the past and the successful strategies migrate through the students' work over the semester while retaining individual differences. I am proud of my students.
I am learning so much in this Leadership course to refine my PEA approach. I know that Richard clearly shows the cycle of NEA and PEA. I am the embodiment of PEA and my students bring their own buckets of NEA. After a few terms, when students are more confident, some students ask me for a "brutal critique" like they might find in the NEA-filled "real world". I tell them that they will be shocked and that I will only do one brutal critique for one student in the class per term because that kind of critique is not what I do. They will find plenty of those brutal critiques on their road to success. However, I do one if asked. And I freak out my students when I enact a brutal critique. In one instance they closed the door thinking that someone might call campus security on me. I didn't get near the student but I did yell and insult him about the imbalance of the composition and the lousy and money-wasting disregard he exhibited for the power of negative space in a narrative artwork. I let him have it. After it was over they gladly did not ask for another brutal critique but gained better appreciation for a nuanced articulation of the strengths of a composition.
Thanks for another great MOOC weekly lecture set..