Friday, July 24, 2015

Line drawing and brain musings

From my previous posts and photos you may have gathered that I enjoy color. And I tend to think more is more. I Pauline Agnew called Flower Power. She introduced the class to Ellsworth Kelly and his simple botanical line drawings. Now normally this wouldn't be something that would interest me much. But she had such enthusiasm for him I took a closer look. I particularly like these.
saturate the heck out of photos. I'm generally not a fan of the subtle. But... I've found myself spending a bunch of time lately just doing plain old line drawings and really appreciating this practice. I'm taking a great e-course right now with

So I've been working on my own line drawing, sometimes filling in with some colored ink but often just enjoying and appreciating line drawing. And mostly with my non dominant hand. Seriously, sitting out in the garden and drawing with my non dominant hand is like instant anti anxiety medication. Try it.  I stop thinking and begin seeing. Maybe this is related to the language center being on the left side of the brain. When I start lighting up the right side of my brain, by using my left hand, all the words in my head stop. Therefore the worrying stops, the thinking about the past and future stop and I find myself in the present just breathing and drawing. Here are some examples:

Speaking of the brain, I did a little more research after my blog post "Strange Appearances." In that post I wrote about how I see figures and animals in random painting and mark making and that is often how my paintings evolve. The 25 cent word for this is pareidolia- referring to how the mind perceives a face where none exists. This explains seeing faces or figures in clouds,  seeing the virgin mary on a grilled cheese sandwich that gets sold on ebay for some crazy sum ($28.000 in 2004), seeing the man on the moon, and seeing figures in rock outcroppings. Apophenia is a more general term for seeing patterns, not just faces, in random data.  Although tell me this isn't an elephant. 

 Leonardo Da Vinci wrote about this phenomena. From wikipedia, 

"In his notebooks, Leonardo da Vinci wrote of pareidolia as a device for painters, writing "if you look at any walls spotted with various stains or with a mixture of different kinds of stones, if you are about to invent some scene you will be able to see in it a resemblance to various different landscapes adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, plains, wide valleys, and various groups of hills. You will also be able to see divers combats and figures in quick movement, and strange expressions of faces, and outlandish costumes, and an infinite number of things which you can then reduce into separate and well conceived forms."

Stephen Sondheim, the composer says, "Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos." My feeling is good art does this and then throws a little chaos back in. 

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