May 19, 2004

Who's to judge

School started again last week, this time for the summer sessions. I have one class, Foundation Drawing II. It meets once a week for fourteen weeks, but since it is on Mondays, and there are two Monday holidays, there are twelve classes. And I plan to go to the Montreal Jazz Festival in July and will miss one class (have someone teach for me that day), so that makes eleven classes for me. Not bad. It will give me some time to enjoy summer (when/if it comes) and a small income.

My class is only ten students. A big change from the usual twenty. Monday morning I was musing that the enrollment at the College is 70% female/30% male and of my ten students, there are three male and seven female. Perfect statistically. But I couldn’t say why there are more females than males, probably parental/career pressures even though the art fields are dominated ultimately by males.

At one point I was giving a slide presentation and included some slides of Parmigianini, an artist from the 16th century whose work was shown at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia recently. I had seen the work in Ottawa at the National Gallery when I was there in November. I found the work inferior, weak, too florid and said so. Several students seemed shocked. One said that if she could draw that well, she would be ecstatic. Next to the Raphael slides that I showed, this work definitely looked lacking.

Earlier in the morning we had been talking about playing music in the classroom. I asked them what kind of music they liked to listen to. One student said “good music.” So I asked what makes good music. The general consensus was something they enjoyed listening to. So I asked was it easier to tell what was good music or to say what was good art. Of course, being art students, it is easier to tell what is good music. But……..I love jazz. I used to go hear Thelonius Monk play at the Five Spot on St. Mark’s Place (when there were only a half dozen people sitting around listening). And when I put on a Monk CD in class a couple of years ago, a student came over and asked me to please change the music, he really didn’t like it at all. So who was right there? (That’s what makes for horse racing, as my mother would say.) If only there were some objective standard that I could trot out when giving critiques, listening to music, reading a book.

There is a slogan of Atisha that is one of my favorites: “Of the two judges, hold the principle one.” Quite simply, trust yourself.

Posted by leya at May 19, 2004 03:44 PM