Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How do you draw on the left side of your brain?

Sometime years ago I purchased a book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, by Betty Edwards. I think I started reading the book a couple of times, intending to improve my drawing. I never got far though, although I always intended to. I guess the experience is a metaphor for many things in my life, and it brings to mind the cliché about the best laid plans of mice and men. I suppose about everybody has a similar experience they can relate to. I don't think anybody goes through life without some regrets or, if not regrets, of having had intentions that weren't meant, whether for good or for bad.

Anyway, the book has sat on the shelf in the library all these years and now I have it here in my hand and eventually will remove the spine and scan the pictures and text and make it into a PDF file. I probably will never prepare it for my Kindle --- there are too many illustrations that probably wouldn't work that well in my Kindle, although most of the book is in grayscale. I will scan it in grayscale for the most part. Of course covers I usually do in color, and there are probably eight pages of color illustrations within the book that I will do in color.

The book still has a great allure. It would still be fun to dig in and study it and become a better artist. My artistry --- that is my drawing and painting --- goes more to copying something rather than creating anything unique, at least it has. I suppose the book could help me, but I'm not sure I want to be helped --- or rather, I don't want to spend the time to be helped at drawing. Writing is much more intriguing than drawing or painting are at this point in my life. The truth is, though, I usually don't spend a great deal of time working on my writing either. I end up surfing the Internet, checking my favorite blogs and Internet sites, watching television, or reading something. I do tend to work more on what I've already written than on the production of something new.

Anyway, part of the attraction of the book in the first instance was its proposition that it enhanced creativity and artistic confidence.

The publication date of the book is 1989. I don't know when I purchased it for sure, but I think by the time I did I was somewhat into writing, had possibly begun writing about Denise leaving Jeff for Paul Somer. It would be interesting to know sure, but one thing is certain: back in those days I was doing some watercolors. Another of the great attractions in the book are the before and after illustrations that the author provides of her students.

It reminds me of my art teacher in high school. I think I took one art class while I was in high school. The teacher was Ivan Cornia --- I think that's how you spell it. Anyway, he was a mild-mannered gentleman of middle-age, but the thing I remember most about his class was how he illustrated the progress of one of his students, Dean Millman. According to Mr. Cornia's story, Dean was not much of a student and not much of an artist when he entered Mr. Cornia's class. But Dean wanted to draw horses. And Mr. Cornia gave him considerable latitude to draw what he wanted. So Dean began, and after each session in class he would take the paper he had drawn his horse or horse part on and throw it in the garbage can and leave the classroom. Mr. Cornia would then retrieve whatever Dean had drawn from the garbage can and keep it in a chronological history. This is what Mr. Cornia showed us because it was a good illustration of how a person who was determined to draw something and practiced doing it, was able to make progress --- at least Dean was able to.

Anyway, the title of the book, drawing on the right side of the brain, has its own pique, don't you think? Drawing on the right side of the brain? What do you use? Kind of hard to get a magic marker or a paintbrush inside the skull through all that fluid in there to draw on any side of the brain, don't you think? So I'm sure that little twist had something to do with my purchase the book with the intention of reading it and benefiting from it. It just never happened. Not so far anyway.

So as I look at the book and contemplate digitizing it, these thoughts have returned to me.

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