Building Community While at Home #10 – Why We Teach Drawing

“Drawing is like making a gesture with the advantage of permanence.”

— Henri Matisse

By Rallou M. Hamshaw

As a visual arts teacher in the Upper School, I have had plenty of time to consider the pedagogical and artistic value of teaching drawing to our students. Their exposure to this engaging discipline begins as early as pre-school, continues in various creative forms throughout their lower school years, and is energetically pursued in the upper school.

Drawing first, painting next. While artists decide how they wish to approach their work, learning how to draw surely enhances an artist’s ability to paint. Composing a page, mastering media, cultivating elegant or bold line, and building volume all compose the art of drawing. Gesture, mood, and style reflect an artist’s unique perspective, touch, and vision.


Students at Rudolf Steiner School are familiar with drawing as an art form in many of their classes, from careful, descriptive work in their main lesson books, to form drawing and perspective drawing, to vivid black and white projects in their eighth and ninth grade art blocks.

It is indeed fortunate that the study of all the arts, both visual and performing, is mandatory for our students and an expectation that repeats itself throughout the run of their education at Steiner. Through the exposure and practice of the arts, each individual student is offered the rare opportunity for creative self-development. To combat the feeling of isolation or restlessness one might be experiencing during this time of self-distancing at home, anyone can consider taking up the activity of drawing.