Saturday, October 17, 2009

Art, Creativity, Lateralization, and Neuroscience

I decide to get a little clever before my next visit to the occupational therapists at A Total Approach. Since they want me to do a self-portrait and all I can do is a very simple composition composed of simple symbols, I decided I was going to learn to draw. So, I ordered a number of art books. One of the books I ordered, "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" is very interesting because it integrates the neuroscience of the brain's left and right hemisphere with visual studies.

The key organizing principle in the book is: drawing is the global or "whole" skill requiring only a limited set of basic components. Skills required are not drawing skills, they are perceptual skills: the perception of edges, the perception of spaces, the perception of relationships, the perception of lights and shadows, and the perception of the whole, or gestalt. There are two more basic skills that are required for imaginative, expressive drawing that leads to heart. These are two skills: drawing from memory and drawing from imagination. The final scale, the perception of the whole is neither taught nor learned that seems to emerge as the result of a acquiring the other four skills.

The logical progression for a person starting out in artistic expression is: from line to value to color to painting.

As a side note, facial recognition is a function belonging to the right hemisphere.

The mode of processing used by the right brain is rapid, complex, whole -- pattern, spatial, and perceptual. The mode of the left hemisphere is verbal and analytic, while that of the right is nonverbal and global. Inside each of our skulls we have a double brain with two ways of knowing. In visual mode, we see how things exist in space and how the parts go together to make up the whole. Using the right hemisphere, we understand metaphors, we dream, we create new combinations of five years. Betty Edwards' students report that learning to draw makes them feel more artistic and therefore more creative. The right hemisphere is not good at sequencing.
I am going to see what happens with all of this as my vision improves.
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