Piaget's theory of cognitive development

I often mention Piaget when we are toning the canvas. I ask you to play with the material, as you played with the dummy in your first few months of life. Most people can't remember that, but it's worth trying to recreate that sense of play, wonder and kineaesthetic exploration.

Learning through movement

In the induction process I also ask you about your movement training... and tell you that I don't care how long ago it was, nor how young you were when you did it!

Learning through movement

Jean Piaget's work helped establish how important movement and touch are to the developing brain. Here is a simplified map of Piaget's stages of infant development. We travel through some of these stages again each time we paint.

Piaget's theory of cognitive development

I use various strategies to enhance and amplify these stages when appropriate.

Here's more detail, if you want it:

Stage Age Description
1: Simple reflexes Birth-6 weeks Coordination of sensation and action through reflexive behaviors.
Three primary reflexes:
  1. sucking of objects in the mouth
  2. following moving or interesting objects with the eyes
  3. closing of the hand when an object makes contact with the palm (palmar grasp)
2: First habits & primary circular reactions 6 weeks-4 months Coordination of sensation and two types of schema: habits (reflex) and primary circular reactions (reproduction of an event that initially occurred by chance).
Passive reactions, caused by classical or operant conditioning, can begin.
3: Secondary circular reactions 4–8 months Development of habits.
Infants become more object-oriented, moving beyond self-preoccupation.
The differentiation between means and ends also occurs. This is perhaps one of the most important stages of a child's growth as it signifies the dawn of logic.
4: Coordination of secondary circular reactions stages 8–12 months Coordination of vision and touch—hand-eye coordination; coordination of schemas and intentionality.
This stage is associated primarily with the development of logic and the coordination between means and ends. This is an extremely important stage of development, holding what Piaget calls the "first proper intelligence". Also, this stage marks the beginning of goal orientation, the deliberate planning of steps to meet an objective.
5: Tertiary circular reactions, novelty, and curiosity 12–18 months Infants become intrigued by the many properties of objects and by the many things they can make happen to objects; they experiment with new behavior.
This stage is associated primarily with the discovery of new means to meet goals. Piaget describes the child at this juncture as the "young scientist", conducting pseudo-experiments to discover new methods of meeting challenges.
6: Internalization of schemas 18–24 months The ability to use primitive symbols and form enduring mental representations.
This stage is associated primarily with the beginnings of insight, or true creativity. This marks the passage into the preoperational stage.

This table is a simplified version of the one at Piaget's theory of cognitive development at Wikipedia.

How to deal with criticism

Original interpretations of Van Gogh's Starry Night.
Original interpretations of Van Gogh's Starry Night.

The Problem

You've finished a new painting and are full of enthusiasm.

You should be. You have just created a new thing, from your own imagination you have expressed your taste and style, there is a whole lot of 'you' on that canvas. Naturally you want to share your creation with friends and family, so you post a picture on WeChat or Facebook.

The first comment you get is from a dear friend "... but don't you do originals?".

Ouch. That hurt!

Your friend means well, but still their comment really dampens your enthusiasm.

So, you spend a few minutes, or hours, or days, working out a helpful response, to try and explain what you intended in this painting. This is an energy sapping exercise.

The Solution

No, you don't do that! Don't waste your precious time and energy on dealing with this.

Your enthusiasm is a very precious commodity. Professional creative people know this. The spark of creative energy is a delicate creature, it has to be nurtured and protected from the wind.

So, what you do is: cut & paste a standard reply that you prepared earlier.

Here is a list of helpful responses to get you started. Edit, improve, and use as needed!

  • Everything I do is "original", baby!
  • Look again... I _am_ an original!
  • Thanks, actually there is a whole lot of my style in this painting!
  • Check out the original, compare it to my interpretation. See the differences? That's my style right there!

van-gogh-george van-gogh-george
Van Gogh's original and my interpretation.

  • Check out my use of line - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of texture - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of colour - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Check out my use of tone - there's a whole lot of me in there!
  • Yes, I'm developing my style very quickly by painting interpretations of the masters. What a great way to learn!
  • I'm learning so much, so quickly from studying Monet, Van Gogh and Cezanne! Why not join me for a lesson and paint your own!
  • Thanks, oh we all do original work at Inglis Academy! Check out these student paintings.

Original interpretations of Monet.
Original interpretations of Monet.

A student's interpretation of Monet's Waterlilies, 1916.
A student's interpretation of Monet's Waterlilies, 1916.

The Inglis Painting Process

We use the same overall process for all of our paintings. That is part of the the genius of the Inglis Art system.

Think about it! The same process works for:

  • Any subject - landscape, portrait, still life
  • Any style - Baroque, Classical, Impressionist, Pop Art

Of course each painting has different blends of colour mixing, brush technique, compositional and tonal analysis and much more. That is why I have created this Art Syllabus, to give you a balanced path to mastery.

You will finish a painting in the lesson and learn the processes and techniques used by the masters of Western Art.

The processes are documented in my publications,start with the latest:

Monet: Meadow with Poplars, 1875 - a syllabus book from Inglis Academy
Monet: Meadow with Poplars, 1875.

Lift your spirits!

This will make you smile!

It's also a great example of story telling in western music. I play this in most art classes.

Here's the original version of "Sleigh Ride", composed by Leroy Anderson and performed by the U.S. Navy Band.

Click here to see the video at YouTube.

Now here it is re-arranged by the talented Andrew Gentile for solo piano, just as we rearrange Monet in each class, except, perhaps... better!

Jeffrey Biegel plays Sleigh Ride - arranged by Andrew Gentile.

Click here to see the video at YouTube.

Transcending everyday consciousness

Would you like to enter the higher reaches of human nature?

Let a great composer and a great performer get you 'into the zone'!.

J. S. Bach - German Lutheran organist and one of the greatest musical minds in Western music.
J. S. Bach - German Lutheran organist and one of the greatest musical minds in Western music.

Find a quiet five minutes to listen to this video of the great Japanese guitarist Kazuhito Yamashita interpreting a work by the great Lutheran German organist J. S. Bach.

Click here to watch the video at You Tube.

Read this great description, watch the video and look at the architecture as Blair Jackson describes his experience of the transcendental at a performance of Bach by Yamashita, in a Lutheran church in San Francisco.

"What an engrossing and enriching journey these two concerts proved to be. I felt privileged to have witnessed Yamashita’s remarkable feat, the cumulative power of which is indescribable. Four days later, my head is still filled with glorious Bach bouncing through my head when I least expect it. It’s a wonderful feeling." - Blair Jackson.

Kazuhito Yamashita plays all the Bach pieces for solo violin.
Kazuhito Yamashita plays all the Bach pieces for solo violin.