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Art Lessons
by Donna Flood
Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Introduction: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain

Drawing on the right site of your brain

A quote says, "They have ears, but they cannot hear. They have eyes but they cannot see."

Following this line of thinking these five skills are listed in order to help us learn to see or perceive.

These are not drawing skills. They are skills to teach us to see.

1. Learn to SEE edges

2. Learn to SEE spaces

3. Learn to SEE relationship of objects

4. Learn to SEE light and shadow

5. Learn to SEE the whole or gestalt (the unified whole, in this case picture)

The left brain is dominant and has been "educated" to see what it believes to be correct. It often decides without our conscious awareness; it alters, and changes, even trashes, some of the raw data that hits the retina. This editing can be put on hold by using tricks to put the right brain into action. These are the exercises following the above five steps, remembering the fifth step grows out of having learned the first four steps.

Over the years in teaching art, the greatest reward is not seeing the student's accomplishment, but knowing the student has come to a greater understanding and appreciation of the world around them. They often for the first time actually are able to see and this alone reduces many insecurities. They must acknowledge they have gone through every day not having actually seen the beauty and the richness of life around them. Time passage, awareness passes away, the artist is alert, free of anxiety. The endeavor is pleasant and there is almost a mystical activation of the mind. The artist at work has a mind centered to see things, they, even as an artist, might not have seen before. Some artists feel transported, "at one with their work," seeing things and grasping that which could not have been opened up before. It is by conscious volition this going "to the right side of the brain." Once you become skilled at shifting into this right mode you will be able to consciously control this. It is a wonderful freedom. There is nothing to compare as to the use of the mind.

There are deep mysteries about the brain. These above five things I myself have just learned in the past few years, although I, probably, being self taught, have always used these methods. Even without having the advantages of formal teaching, I simply taught my students as I had learned and many of them have done great things with their art, far greater than I have done.

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