Monday, August 27, 2007

left hand plays

It wasn't hot enough for me to bother swimming, but I trucked my read and the sketchbook with the bag of oil pastels to the lakeside beach. The child/youths all swam while I settled myself on a beach chair and wriggled my toes in the sand. For awhile, it looked like we'd have the beach to ourselves ~ a rarity. I flopped the sketchbook open to the blank page and waited for words and inspiration to strike. I like to write words in my visual journal first ~ the words that need to be hidden get lost in the art, but at least they've been expressed.

With thoughts put down in legible English, no haiku, I waited again for something to flicker. After awhile, my left hand, the one I don't usually use to draw or write with, idly fingered through the bag of oil pastels. I began sketching with the first color it grabbed. When I got tired of that color, I'd reach in for another without looking and sketch. I continued moodling this way, layering color on color for a good hour. Aside from the writing, it was pure left-hand processing.

What's interesting is the colors my left hand chose. Normally, I overlook those olives, grays and browns, heading straight for the brazen oranges, magenta or acid greens. My left hand wanted quiet, easy tones. And the shapes were different too. I let them meander. No radial splashes, zig-zags or spirals, the visual toys I usually play with. All in all, Lefty and I had a lovely afternoon at the beach. I recommend it highly.

I guess, in this way, drawing can be like yoga. One doesn't just practice asanas on one side of the body, it makes for an unbalanced human. So drawing with the non-dominant hand balances one. That other side of the brain gets to play and call the shots. That other hand gets to feel what the other hand is usually doing. It was a different thing cleaning pastel from my left hand.

1 comment:

Ruth said...

I see storm clouds through the leaves of ancient trees when I look at that oil pastel piece.