Thursday, April 19, 2012

What (really) keeps me from drawing / painting

Following my last post "Does someone can tell me...??? " and the few comments that I received (mostly on a forum), I was able to put some ideas at the right place.

First things first: thanks to the ones who took the time to leave me a comment. It did help me to put those ideas in place! =)

1) Accessing the "artistic mode"
When I'm working on visual art, I need to "build a bubble" around me in which I can escape. I often called that state of mind a "bubble" or "being in an artistic trance". Since I have read "Drawing on the right side of the brain », from Dr Betty Edwards", I have understood that in fact, I need to "shut my left cerebral hemisphere up" (side of logic, maths, language...) in order to let the right side (intuitive, creative, visual, artistic side...) take ALL the commands.

This is essential for visual art, because, according to the author Betty Edwards, the art is a very rare discipline that requires exclusively the right cerebral hemisphere (the majority, say almost all the other tasks needs a certain balance between both right and left side... not to mention all the tasks that requires mostly the left side. According to her, the main reason why so many can't "draw well": we live in a society which educates mostly the left side (logic, language, maths...) and let aside the right side...

This is surely the reason why I have the impression that I can't work my art in the presence of my daughter. She is young, she still needs a lot of attention and doesn't understand well that mommy works for a long time (that is to say for several hours in a row) on the same thing, while she gets disinterested most of the time after 10 to 15 minutes, like any child of her age. So I can't "build my bubble" in her presence (I need to remind that I have no sibling and as a child, I spent many solitary hours with all my time and the tranquility to release my artistic creativity, in visual art and writing alike).

2) Share art with my daughter
From "Custer" commentary (that you can read next to the same last post "here"):
"(...) Or make it a game with your daughter, get her to suggest something you should draw for her..."
Yes, this is a game we do for some time now. Among other things, it helps in her language development. Though she doesn't yet speak with as many vocabulary as the other girls of her age, she is interested with letters and sometimes asks us to write the words under the drawing we do for her.

I also started last fall to initiate her to painting (with gouache), a thing that I came to realize that many mommies fear to do or at least, don't know how to do this with a child that young (fear of making a mess, staining clothing, etc.)

Each time that I do these activities, I have as much pleasure to do it with my daughter than I feel some bitterness... First, she gets tired (too) quickly (for my taste), but as I was mentioning, it's normal at her age. Then, almost everything I do with her will end up "disappearing". Which calls for a third point.

Here's two example (my favorites) of painting my daughter did, with me.

3) The result of Art
In my last post ("Does someone can tell me...??? "), I was mentioning music. Music is one form of artistic expression that can be played and each new interpretation of a piece becomes unique (left aside that since more or less a century, we can henceforth record it and make it play to the infinity, which is recent in the history of humanity). Visual art for its part, likewise literature, are art forms that needs to be lay down on a support, paper or other and stay there.

I don't know if it's the fact that I have chosen those two form of art, visual and written... but I have this habit of caring about keeping the result of my art. Whether its a sketch, a study, something experimental, or a finished work worth being hang on the wall, I like to keep everything I do. This also applies for writing: all the planing, the research, parts of texts, the written questioning about a project, I keep everything (it's even easier in literature with the hard disk storage ; it's another thing when it comes to the visual art storage...)

So, though I love to share this initiation to painting with my daughter (and I even started to think about how to keep her experimentation into home-made portfolio), I don't have the time to express myself (since the goal is to show HER how to express herself! and she does it in a very short time).

All of this will change in time as she will grow up and that we'll be able to work side by side; I'll teach her how to use other medium than gouache and when she'll have more autonomy. This is only a matter of time.

Until then, I have about two hours a day (and still) of free time, when she sleeps and I'm not. I could use that time for personal projects (like at this moment, I'm using it to write this post). But because I already tried, there's not much I can do in two hours : either I take more than two hours late in the evening (which it's not recommended at five weeks away to give birth, to get too tired) ;o)  either she wakes up when I just start having fun.

There's one last option though that comes in mind as I write those lines : spring is here and it's often nice outside. I could try bringing some sketchbook or something at the park (normally, I bring a book and / or something to write). Last summer, I brought my water-painting at the swimming pool. My daughter came to draw by my side and when she was getting bored, she had to pool and all the kids to play around). I could try something alike, at the park. =)
(Wow! And like in a movie with arranged with the photography director, I get to this conclusion and I have the sunlight that falls on my face from the window!) =P


  1. You're giving a restrictive view of Art. I think than Mathematics can also be an Art, and used as a tool to create arts as well.
    For example I've seen many creations made of mathematical imagination, with a combination of unique self created formulas to generate very interesting artworks.

    Language as well, unless you think poems are not artworks, because the beauty of a poem is not only its meaning but also the way it plays with the language. Same goes for songs.

    I guess than if one focus only on "one side" of his brain, he may limit himself. Would it not be better to train oneself to better access his right side without attempting to shutting off his left side ?

    As for for the situation you describe with your daughter. It just seems like she is a distraction preventing you to let your spirit roam free.

    1. Yes, I was meaning "Art" as "visual art" only. All the other kinds of arts, written, music, 3D computer graphics even (because of the technical side) uses both side of the brain, the creative and the logical side.

      It is hard for me to resume half of the book into few lines. Yes, it could seem "limiting" to totally shut one side and let free the other. Of course, best way to work, would be to found an equilibrium of the two. But depending of the task, one or the other can take over.

      For example, did you ever got to a point where, someone say something or something happens in front of you and... You have a strong feeling about what you think about that, but you remain speechless. That's a manifestation of your "right side mode".

      Or, you do a long drive alone in a car, and you start thinking (not necessarily with words, but you still understand yourself) and you keep driving without being dangerous, by automatism, and when you get to destination, you don't have a feeling of having spent all that time in the car, you don't "really remember having crossed that bridge", etc.? That would also be another kind of manifestation of the "right side mode" (lost track of time).

      For more input in the matter of "right / left side modes", you can check the works of Roger W. Sperry, on which Dr Betty Edwards based her work of "how to draw with the right side of the brain"; you'll find many more example of "conflicts" between the right and left side mode, which each sees the world very differently. :)

    2. Yes, that happens to me just by walking, or playing certain videogames. It's always fun to realize that when you get back out of deep thoughts. :p
      It looks like a good way to be multitasking. Maybe I should try to train to be able to trigger the "dual-brain" mode on wish :p

    3. So there!
      You understand what I mean by "building a bubble", loose track of time and just "work on art"... which I can't if ever minute, I have to interact with someone who needs attention! ;o)

    4. Well as a mom, I guess there is a lot less opportunity to live in your self-bubble :p

      Maybe you need to arrange things so you can have real personal time once in a while. And I think it's healthier too anyway.

    5. Yes, it was a temporary situation where my daughter is here 100% of the time. After all the changes (we moved last year, new town, new babysitter, etc.), she blocked in her whole development; she almost completely stop talking too. The changes where too many for her and I could take the time to take her back home with me, to "root" herself, find self-confidence, self-esteem, etc.

      If I wasn't that close to give birth, I would have tried the babysitter again, but now I'll wait until the end of the summer (I don't want her to think that the baby is taking her place and that I send her there to get ride of her...) And since she'll be 4 in fall, maybe I'll be able to go for the preschool kind of kindergarten instead; she would prefer to be with "older kids" than babies like it would in a day care. Just to mention it, since I know you're from France and you guys start school at 3... here, we start at 5, and because my daughter is after a certain birthday, she'll have to wait until almost 6 (unless she could pass some tests and start one year earlier, we'll see...).

  2. PS: Too bad I can't edit my text once posted.. So big grammatical errors (even for me) will live on :p