Prigot, J. and Olney, J. (in progress). This article is about the different types of realism embraced by contemporary painters. For example, types of realism now include classical realism, photo-realism, direct painting, as well as looser forms.

Prigot, J. (1988). Drawing behavior. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, SUNY at Stony Brook. This empirical study compared the drawing behaviors of children and adult novices and experts. Participants drew from both life and memory. Of course, in each age group the drawings of those with artistic training (the experts) were more sophisticated than those of novices (those without prior training) in terms of number of item features included and use of shading. But three other findings that would be interesting to visual artists emerged. One was that drawings of children novices were about the same as those of novice adults. This means that adults do not improve in drawing without explicit training after the age of eight. That is, good artists are made by being taught skill rather than being born with some high level of ability. A second interesting finding was that drawings from life were stronger than drawings from memory for both age groups. This implies that for most adults and children visual memory has to be developed like a muscle. A final pertinent finding, already known to visual realist artists, is that a great deal of the difference between novice and expert adults was that experts looked very often at what they were drawing from life to take in bits of information about the object to develop their drawings. Of course, these three facts are no surprise to visual artists, but it really is nice to have what we do and know validated by scientific studies.

Prigot, J. (1984). Interrelations among convention level, features, and drawings in preschoolers. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, SUNY at Stony Brook. In this study the drawings of preschoolers were investigated. The preschoolers drew a person and a house. Preschoolers tended to draw what they knew about these things, rather than how they would actually them (that is in perspective, with overlapping, etc.). They relied on their conceptual knowledge rather than taking into consideration what they have seen in the world. As visual realist artists know as they are in training, it can take a while for the cobwebs of conceptual knowledge to clear before real seeing has taken hold.

Conference Presentations

Prigot, J. (April, 1991). Visual scanning strategies and the representation of spatial depth in drawings. Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research on Child Development, Seattle, WA.

Prigot, J. (August, 1990). The effects of training and presence of model on drawings. Paper presented at the 98th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Boston, MA.

Prigot, J. & Beilin, H. (March, 1990). Adults draw more like children than like experts. Paper presented at the Conference on Human Development, Richmond, VA.

Prigot, J. (November, 1988). Drawing development. Colloquium given at the City University of New York Graduate School & University Center.

Prigot, J. (August, 1988). Convention level as a measure in studies of drawing behavior. Paper presented at the 96th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, Atlanta, GA.

Prigot, J. (August, 1987). Stimulus specificity in studies on drawing behavior. Paper presented at the 95th Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association, NYC, NY. Findings from this study showed that children tend to learn to draw specific objects better and better rather than learning drawing skills that would help them draw any object strongly and more accurately.