Drawing Development Timeline: Stage of Decision

The Stage of Decision occurs between the ages of 13 and 17.

Lowenfeld also refers to this stage as the Crisis of Adolescence, while Kerlavage refers to it as Artistic Thinking. Artwork in this stage is difficult to pin down—the artist can either be abstract or realistic, expressive or tight, the color can be naturalistic or emotional. Lowenfeld further emphasizes the differences between the haptic (emotional, personal, expressively-oriented) and visual (realistic, three-dimensional, analytically-oriented) approaches, and includes a 3rd category, in-betweens. At this stage, young artists are creating art for a variety of reasons, including desire to improve their skills, personal expression, and exploration of social or political issues.

Chad, age 14

Chad's drawing shows his exploration of mark-making techniques with the pen—smooth, even lines for his hands and the objects he holds; tight, wiggly lines to express the fuzzy quality of his sweater sleeve; loose, looping scribbles to represented the plaid on his shirt sleeve; and tight curls to describe the wrench in the background. He combines his 3d observation with a flat, carefully detailed knotwork pattern in the background. His drawing met the assignment requirements, but he went an extra step to personalize it and make it his own by including a patteren and objects that interest him.

Shannon, age 15

Shannon's pen & ink drawing of a toy show her combination of abstract and realistic elements. The toy itself is carefully rendered with a full value scale, but Shannon plays with space by setting it against a rectangle and allowing its shadow to run across the page.

Mary, age 16

This painting shows my struggle to paint from observation and mix realistic colors. The assignment was to paint shoes from observation, but I tried to make it a little more personal by including my penguin stuffed animals in the still life. In that way, my painting was typical of the Stage of Decision—I had a variety of motivations, including desire to improve my skill and desire to make the painting "me."

Mary, age 17

The assignment for this drawing was to create a self-portrait. I struggled to make the face look "real," but I failed to get any likeness. I tried to use color and value to indicate depth. I also tried to contrast the realistic foreground to the more cartoony background.

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