Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Left Brain/Right Brain: Art Needs Both

My good friend Ruth Armitage ( recommended the book "Expressive Drawing" by Steven Aimone, so, of course I bought it. He talks briefly about the use of the left and right parts of your brain in drawing. I started thinking about my recent "fire inspired graphic art" pieces and how each side of the brain is used in creating these pieces.

I begin with an idea of shapes: trees, limbs, birds, leaves, owls. The left brain then takes the shapes and applies my knowledge of composition and arranges them on the paper. In this piece I was thinking of a circular connection for the owl and the vine maple. Do you see it?

After adding my charred tree shape, I switch to the right side of brain. I start filling in the shapes with line work that is not based on any reality. I allow myself to do something you might call doodling within the shapes. This is my own method of mark making. To me this changes the piece from drawing to art.

After all the mark making, I look to see where I might add color to add to the message of the piece. In "Fall Flight" I knew ahead that I would be using orange and red on the maple leaves and owl's eyes. I added more lines to create the feeling of a burned forest. The final touch was adding the orb, one of my favorite shapes when broken up behind the trees and owl. I guess this part of the process is using both sides of the brain; having emotional response to the piece as well as logically applying additional lines. Do you have an emotional response to this piece?

Fall Flight
9" x 12"
Pen and Ink & Watercolor

I will be sharing my graphic art making at the Oregon Society of Artists in Portland, Oregon on Dec. 1, 2021. This one-day workshop (Black, White and Red All Over) will be fun and relaxing while exercising both sides of your brain!
Hope to see some art making friends--open to all levels of experience. 

Register at or call 503-228-0706.