I remember the very first time I took up a brush to watercolor paint here at the house, alone. Mom had given me a lesson and I came home all excited to try out her ideas. I had thought I'd spend an hour or two at the most. I had everything all set up, knew what I was going to paint and set about painting. I started at 8:30 am that day.
When I felt like I was finished enough that I could stop and take a break, I looked at my watch and it was 6:00 pm!!! I was completely shocked! I had not eaten, I wasn't even hungry. I hadn't put down the brush, stopped for a potty break....anything at all. I hadn't noticed that the sun was setting. And it literally scared the crap out of me! I told myself that I couldn't paint if this is how it was going to be. I couldn't "afford" to lose an entire day of my life like that!
And then I read the book "Drawing on the Right Side of Your Brain" by Betty Edwards.
The left brain is logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, looks at parts. We look at clocks, we have schedules, we have "to-do" lists, we have appointments, we read, write, do math. Most of us work and live in the left brain.
My left brain says I have to work in an organized area. When I really get creative, I expand by setting up additional tables!
So I put all the stuff on that empty table, work on the table below which is right in front of me
and stay connected to the outside world via skype, email and FB posts:
The right brain is random, intitive, holistic, synthesizing, subjective, looks at wholes. Sings, dances, ignores time, forgets appointments, doesn't wear a watch. The right brain automatically mixes and matches colors, places shadows and highlights where needed in the creative process.
So the right brain doesn't really care about the mess...that's the left brain!
The left brain analyzes if the colors are a good match, if the shadows are in the right position. So I pull out all my mint and pink paper and pile them up:
We work with both sides of the brain, but some of us allow one side or the other to have dominance.
I know that I was very left brained my entire life. I worked for the federal government. I could never have survived using the right side of my brain.
But being retired, who needs a clock? Who needs an alarm, a schedule, a "to-do" list? I've had the freedom to step over into the right side of my brain for unlimited periods of time. I've also learned how to get there....and get back out so that I don't lose an entire day of my life (well not as much as I used to!)
But there's a process and it takes time, sometimes it's actually a struggle, to step from the left side to the right side of the brain. I find that when I first start to "play", I'm pretty rigid. I want things to be symetrical, clean, linear.
and while many would like that, it's just not me! But as I get more and more into my "play", I start to losen up. I think it's because my brain slips back and forth between left and right and the longer it stays in the right side, the more creative I can become. But I have to prompt myself along the way. I will do exercises like standing up and shaking my shoulders, arms and hands....trying to sluff off the stiffness of the left brain. I force myself to add shapes and color....and my results do improve: