Page images



FIRST SESSION. High School Building, St. Paul, MINNESOTA, July 9, 1890. The Department of Art Education met at the high-school building at 3 P. M.; President Jesse H. Brown, of Indiana, in the chair.

The Secretary being absent, Mrs. H. S. Smith, of St. Paul, was appointed Secretary pro tem.

Miss Rhoda E. Selleck, of Indianapolis, Indiana, read a paper on “HighSchool Work in Drawing."

The subject was discussed by Mrs. Carter, of New York City; Mr. Collins, of Denver; Mr. Ardley, of Minneapolis; and others.

The President appointed the following Committee on Nomination of Officers: J. C. Mulkins, of Missouri; Miss E. A. Weaver, of Chicago; Miss Kate M. Ball, of Omaha; Miss Vienne Dodge, of Wisconsin; and Miss Olive Underhill, of Iowa.

Josephine E. Locke, of Illinois, read a paper on “The Mission of Color," which was discussed by Mrs. Hicks, of Boston; Mrs. Carter, of New York; Miss Shelleck, of Indianapolis; Mr. Collins, of Denver; and others.

The Department then adjourned.

SECOND SESSION-JULY 10. The second session of the Department met at 3 P. M.; President Jesse H. Brown in the chair.

The Committee on Nominations made the following report, which was adopted:

President --Hannah Johnson Carter, New York, N. Y.
Vice-President -- Lillian Jacoby, Rockford, Illinois.
Secretary - Frank H. Collins, Denver, Colorado.

Mrs. Carter, of New York, read a paper on “Drawing in Normal Schools,” which was discussed at great length by a member of the Department. The Department then adjourned.

MRS. H. S. SMITH, Secretary pro tem. --50






It has seemed to me in the gatherings of the past that if this Department is worthy of a place in the Association, it should be worthy of our best itterests; of a determination to obtain the best possible good from the varios methods that should be presented.

I may not have chosen wisely in the subject-matter of my paper, but I do trust that in laying before you what I have been able to do in the Indianapolis high school with our limitations, it will incite you to criticisms and suggestions that we may all take home and develop in our future work.

I have laid aside theory, and shall present to you a phase of the work, the result perhaps of some years of experience.

The freehand drawing-work of our high school, of which I have the entire control, I have classed as the "Art Department" in order to distinguish it from the “Mechanical Department,” of which Mr. Bass has charge, and whom I assist.

The art department has grown within the past few years from a class of six, until we now have a class average of a hundred or more. The work is wholly elective on the part of the pupil, and in most cases it has seemed preferable to allow only those pupils to take the course who have spent at least one year in the regular high-school work. No question is asked as to ability, as all can do the work who show a proper amount of interest and enthusiasm.

A record is kept of the work of the pupil for the first and second half-year of the work, and reported the same as his other studies. He may after this remain in the class as long as he chooses while in the high school and his age and time will permit. Many of the post-graduates return and continue or take


the work for a year or more. Our classes have been held in a large assembly-room, from the lack of a large enough room elsewhere. It has had its innumerable inconveniences, but by a series of devices we have been able to overcome many difficulties.

It was some time before I succeeded in finding the proper material with which to work; that is, material that could be adapted to the different kinds of work and at the same time be economical to the pupil. I studied the material used at Cincinnati in her schools, and her Art Institute and elsewhere.

Finally, through the aid of the Art Emporium of our city, we now use the following, although we are constantly open to changes and suggestions:

For the first outfit each pupil supplies himself with a pine easel; a tablet of white charcoal paper twelve by eighteen inches in size that he fastens in book form and covers before being allowed to use it; four of John Faber's Siberian pencils, letters F, H, B, and B B B; a typewriter's eraser, a piece of sandpaper, one sheet of Whatman drawing-paper, and one sheet of German drawing-paper. This outfit costs the pupil one dollar and ninety-five cents.

The second outfit that he buys, the latter part of the first half-year of his work, amounts to eighty cents. It consists of ten cents for fixative, that I have made at a drug store of mastic and alcohol, and buy by the quantity ; one stick of crayon sauce, three crayon pencils, Nos. 1, 2, and 3, a crayonholder, a paper, a chamois stump, and one-half a box of the best French charcoal. This constitutes his entire material, unless it may be with the exceptional use of a sheet of crayon paper now and then, in his advanced work.

I have thus enumerated the material, for to me one of the greatest difficulties, as I have already said, has been the proper material with the best economy to the pupil.

To me, the words of Carlyle have been in many ways an inspiration. He once said to Wolner: “I am sure it would have been better for me to have been taught to draw when a boy; even than to read. Clearness and precision of thought would come with manual skill. It would be a boon, a preservative of mental health to studious brain-workers and anxious business men, to have an interesting occupation to which to turn."

The nature of our work has had a development of its own. It has seemed to grow and shape itself instinctively, as it were, from the wishes and feelings of the classes. The aim of the work has been to the accurate development of the


and hand in their close relation to the development of the mind, to make it possible to portray upon paper many conceptions that come to them in their literature work; to advance in the pupil that culture that tends towards the true, the beautiful, and the good; and to give to the pupil a power with his fingers, that he may apply in all his other studies, and continue to use after he has left school.

No one system has been followed; perhaps the best has been chosen from several systems.

An effort has been made to firmly impress upon the mind of the pupil the principles of construction that underlie all freehand drawing-work. As much material as possible has been placed in the hands of the pupil, that he may become familiar with its nature, and know its adaptation to future necessities.

Our hours of work have been one recitation daily of forty-five minutes, with the operation of several grades of work, all at the same time. Home work is requested, as the subject is placed upon the same footing with their other school studies for the first two half-years. In order to know if this requirement is met, a report is made each Friday of the time given to practice, on a paper upon which has been drawn a required study that bears some relation to the regular work of the week, in their books.

Our work has been almost wholly the representative, the reasons being the purpose of the work, the desire of the parent and the pupil, the need of time, the size of the classes, and the lack of facilities with which to do otherwise.

The manual-training work embraces much that is of the purely mechanical, and while the practical is a larger part of the educational régime, there is something higher and fuller, a culture that looks beyond machinery into the realm of nature and her beautiful forms.

The kind of studies, and the method followed in handling them, I have endeavored to show you in the drawings before you. I trust they are worthy of your careful study and criticism.

I have commenced with the line of various lengths, not to simply make the line, but to find the pupil as to his ideas of length, distance, position, holding of the pencil, etc. In this lesson he also learns the use of the two pencils F and H, the F with which to make the line, the H to finish the line.

The outline of the sphere is given as the second lesson, because of its simple form and multiplicity of application. To this is added a similar form from nature, to show the relation of the geometrical form to the natural.

The purpose is to draw almost entirely from the objects, so as to help to overcome in a slight measure one of the weakest points in our present school methods, to have the pupils do as told, to draw from the object as they sre it and not to first draw as they think it is, or to add to a subject what they think is in it before first finding what is put into a subject by the maker or writer.

A lesson follows of the cone, where the axis is not parallel to the sides of the figure, but the principle of the cylinder continues of the longest diameter drawn of the perspective circle, remaining at right angles to the axis, no matter in what position the curved object may be placed. To fix this principle more clearly, a page is drawn from the cone in various positions, as in lesson seven. Believing it essential to fix the few simple principles that seem so hard to the pupil as firmly as possible, a page is devoted to drawing the hoop in many ways, closing with the drawing of a ring of considerable thick

Not a lesson is given without a reason. To test the pupil as to his knowledge at the end of the first step of the work, lesson eleven is required to be a drawing made at home from a group of objects similar to the ones from which he has thus far drawn. Taste and design are also sought in the arrangement of this lesson, as you may see from the two or three drawings I have purposely chosen. When this lesson is returned, it is criticised as to the quality of lines, the relation of the objects to each other, the perspective of the curves in accordance to their various positions above or below, to the right or to the left of the eye, and to the neatness and honesty of the work.

The second step, that is carried through several lessons, introduces the per


pective in straight-line objects, as the door open at various angles, the cubes n various positions, followed by two lessons in drawing from boxes, two from books, and closing with another original study drawn at home from objects of this class

The difficulties to overcome are many with perspective, and these lessons are given with reference to these difficulties. I have often thought, whenever time should be given, of introducing at this point a few lessons in mechanical perspective. I fear now that with time and wider experience, I am being drawn to the conclusion of our great American artist, of New York, Mr. William M. Chase. He says: “It seems to me well to know much about these things. I never have thought it necessary to take a very thorough course in perspective. About the best lecture in perspective I ever had was once when I stood at the back end of a railroad train and saw a track running to a point away from me, and I have never forgotten it, and I have seemed to see things diminish in the distance so ever since.”

I have commenced the third step of the first half-year's work with shading, the first correct representation of the object. I continue still with the use of the pencil, adding to the pencils thus far used the three-B landscape pencil, followed by the single-B pencil in the shading of the basket. An effort is made to impress strongly upon the mind of the pupil the tones and values of light and shade to be seen upon the object, where the high light and shadow should not be seen upon any curved object, and the umbra and the penumbra of the cast shadow.

The shading is commenced with the broad pencil, to more clearly show these facts, and to cause the pupil to use freedom and boldness in his work. He is taught to see the effect that the direction of the lines produces and the effect that one object has upon another, by shading the cylinder, the group, and the vase, as you may see in lessons XX, XXI, XXII, XXIV. The single-B pencil is brought into use by shading the basket with straight lines, to show the power of representing the values of light and shade, regardless of the direction of the surface, similar to pen-and-ink work. Two or three studies are also shown of this work. A specimen of this pen-and-ink work comes from one of our first-year high-school boys.

The pupils have now become very much interested in their work. Some of them prefer to continue this pencil-shading while the course takes up the crayon. The first half-year closes with shading the ball with the stump and crayon sauce, and shading a vase in stipple with crayons Nos. 1 and 2. The last class was able to accomplish more than any previous class, from some unknown cause, hence you see two or three additional lessons. The last lesson was drawn and shaded by one of the young men who was also in the manualtraining class.

The second half-year's work continues the pencil, the crayon, and takes up the charcoal; that is placed last for various reasons. More freedom is now given to the pupil, as he has become thoroughly enthusiastic in his work, and,

« PreviousContinue »