I am enjoying helping my young neighbor with his homework, and tonight am reminded about how hard it is to truly become fluent as a writer and speller. My neighbor puts such effort into his penmanship, forming each letter carefully, erasing when it is not up to his high standard, and in the process slowly destroying the paper on which he is writing each word five times. All meaning about the content and larger purpose of spelling well is lost as he focuses on getting the form of the letters right. He might progress faster as a speller if his attention were more on the word rather than on forming the letters that make up the word.
The parallel between my neighbor’s efforts as a speller and mine as a sketcher is not lost on me and it reminds me that it is easy to drift away from effective ways of learning. I need to remember that although my goal is to communicate ideas through images by deliberately practicing compositional elements, I might progress faster if my attention stays more on the idea I am communicating rather than on forming the image.