I got back yesterday from my trip to Spokane for the Leadership and Imagination course I mentioned a few days ago. Our first session, and Art scared the hell out of everyone in the course right from the start. Apparently, we are all left-brain thinkers, relying on logic, checklists, organization, language, and structure to make our respective ways through life. Our instructor, though, was determined to show us how to trigger our right-brain, the artistically creative hemisphere of our brains, into action. We began by viewing a line drawing upside down, and attempting to replicate the drawing in 25 minutes.
My first thought was, “OK. No big deal. I can certainly copy a drawing, even if I can’t draw anything from my imagination worth a damn.” How wrong I was! Viewing the image upside down shattered our ability to make sense of the lines. I started at the bottom, because the lines there seemed much less daunting than those that made up this odd-looking man’s head. Here is what I ended up with after 25 minutes of painstaking sketching (couldn’t turn off my perfectionist drive).
While I think I was on my way to a passable copy, the most interesting part of the exercise is how difficult it was to make any progress quickly simply because the image was upside down, and our brains couldn’t “name” the parts of the picture instantly, like they would if the picture were right-side up.
The next exercise we did was to draw an image of our non-writing hands, curled up in some fashion, so it didn’t look like a kindergarten turkey. To do this, we had to turn our bodies completely away from the table, hold our hands in the air in front of us, and write, almost behind us, so our left-brains would be a bit less tempted to cheat and look at the drawing. I expected to see a mess of scribbles that looked like the wires behind so many people’s computer desks. Imagine how shocked I was to see this!
I may always view myself as the worst possible visual artist that walked the earth, but these exercises were interesting, in that, they force your brain to respond differently, and can serve to “prime the pump,” as our instructor said, when it comes to helping push people into a more creative space. Unfortunately, I did not think to take a picture of the clay sculpture I made of Gollum (which was supposed to be my adorable cat).