Friday, September 19, 2008

Musings on the Right side of my brain....

So this is it - the first post on my Blog.  I have to say there's a part of me inside that is shaking it's head at the fact that I'm actually blogging (I mean, it's kind of 'the thing' now, and I'm not widely known for being 'current').  But the stimulus for this blog is change and there's been a lot of it in recent months for me, so I can blog if I wanna! :)

It's interesting - in any given profile I'm used to writing a certain number of 'Pam talking points', but due to the aforementioned changes I don't think I can or want to define myself in those ways anymore.  So you can figure out who I am by following this Blog (maybe I'll figure it out too).

The stimulus for this Blog is change, but the purpose of this Blog is art - and as such I guess I could be considered a born-again artist.  I've always had some aptitude and skill in art and drawing, and I was lucky enough to have an excellent teacher in high school who taught "Betty Edwards:  Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" which gave me a good foundation.  When I was young some folks assumed I'd pursue a career in art.  Instead I majored in biology and pursued a career in science.  During my years of post-secondary education I always continued my art - and used it for class fundraisers, yearbooks and the like.  It was an undeniable part of me.

But all of that changed.  As many such changes do it happened insidiously, slowly, and I almost didn't realize how much things had changed.  There was less time for art - I used to fill at least a sketchbook or two a year, then it occurred to me that my current sketchbook had been running for 8 years.  When I noticed this and tried to change it I realized I *couldn't* draw anymore.   Something that I'd always taken pride in (something I'd obviously taken for granted) was just.. gone.  There were many other changes over that time, some of them not so good - probably the most distressing was not sleeping (you know, tossing for an hour or two before falling asleep no matter how tired I was and then waking up at 4am to worry). 

In an effort to deal with the negatives I started meditation.  But it wasn't until I decided to enroll in a class in the local Art League that I was able to understand the root of all my problems.  Not knowing what level would be expected (or what I'd be able to achieve) I took a beginner drawing class.  My teacher (a phenomenal woman named Ellen) put me through the paces of Betty Edwards.  Even though I'd done them all before (more than once) it had been awhile.  As I worked through the exercises week after week I could feel it coming back.  And oh miracle of miracles! I could draw again!  Then it was so clear - over the past numerous years I had been working and training myself to use my Left brain.  To the point that the internal dialogue (one characteristic of the Left side) never shut off (my husband and I jokingly referred to it as 'my headful of gnomes').  And when I tried to draw it was from the left side.  Drawing wasn't the problem.. seeing was.

Another interesting thing happened - I realized that when I really got into my artwork, as had been true in the 'old days' it felt very similar to meditation.  That sensation where you are minimally aware of your surroundings and the passage of time, but when you finish you feel alert and refreshed - the mind feeling much like your body feels after a good, vigorous workout.

And then I realized I was sleeping.  All night.  Every night.

Now there were several other significant changes in my life during this time, so I can't attribute all of my improvements to my art class.  Nonetheless, the change that occurred when I became 'reaquainted' with my Right brain was undeniable - and wonderful.

It was during that time that a friend sent me the following clip.   The information in this clip solidified my own conclusions about art, meditation, gnomes and the Right side of the brain.  If you've skipped all my babbling I urge you to watch the video nonetheless.  If you're an artist think about what she is saying and cherish the fact that you, by nature or training, can access this beautiful place (ah, if only all the world were artists!).  If you're buddhist think about how this relates to your Practice.  And if you're none of the above - just learn from it, and consider finding ways to better access your Right brain.

~~ Boots ~~


JafaBrit's Art said...

WElcome to the blogging world :)

I will add your link to my blog roll and look forward to popping back now and again and seeing how things are going.

all the best with your artistic journey

Robin said...

Looking forward to more of your musings...and best wishes for your blog. May it inspire you! Robin Zebley

José said...


Now I know where it is !
Are you going to do that with scrambled eggs ? :-)

Kind regards,


sarahelizabeth said...

Yes--I love that TED clip. I am also a big fan of Betty Edwards and learned a lot from that book back in the day :) Welcome to blogging!

stuart said...

What a great start for your blog :) You obviously have a talent for writing down your thoughts as well as art. Well done. Keep it up, and many thanks for adding to your blogroll.