Crossing Over: using both sides of your body & brain
A couple of week ago we went to my son’s high school for back to school night. We wandered the halls and had brief (very brief) presentations from each of Ivan’s 6 teachers. Most were informative and some were lively and compelling but the last one really got me excited. You might not be surprised to find out the class that most intrigued me was art. There art teacher talked about his philosophy of how people learn to be artists, and his approach had me nodding in agreement. What really peeked my interest though was a challenge he had given his art class that week. It was a challenge I had done before but with a twist. Each table set up a still life to draw and contour drawing of. A contour drawing is one in which you follow the edges of the scene with your eyes while your pen draws the lines on the paper (no peeking at the paper). The idea is keep your eyes on the subject and not look at your paper. I have done this before and it is always an interesting exercise. To add a challenge the art teacher suggested they do the same scene with their non-dominant hand, then with their right foot holding the pen between toes and then the left! What the exercise does is takes you off of autopilot, forcing you to concentrate your mind and muscle. I happen to be extremely right handed, I can barely blow my nose left-handed let alone draw. But the point, of course, is not to create a masterwork but to become aware of what you are doing. To turn a routine task on it’s head, to put you in the moment, to really attend to what you are doing. So I took the challenge, and felt my unease grow as I moved from right hand to left hand then on to the feet. It took all my concentration all my will power, all my focus to draw that left foot drawing. So do something this week that pushes your body and brain to be fully tuned in, whether it’s writing or drawing, stirring a pot or flipping a pancake try it with your opposite hand (I don’t recommend flipping a pancake left footed) feel free to write a comment about what you tried. Here are my efforts drawing a feather.
See art from previous blog posts for sale at my website http://lisathorpe.com/.