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Learning to See by Learning to Draw

After spending several months focusing on revising my novel, I figured I needed a break. As luck would have it, I completed my revisions in time to take advantage of the Honolulu Museum of  Art School’s fall semester. I’ve signed up for a Drawing class. I know, what on earth does drawing have to do with writing? Well, a few months ago, on a visit to my local used books store, I came across a book titled, “Drawing on the Artist Within,” by Betty Edwards. Back in 1979 Betty Edwards wrote another book titled, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain,” a huge bestseller, it’s still in print today. It was one of the first books to discuss the whole right brain/left brain dynamic. In her book she offers ways to trick the left brain from criticizing the right brain’s efforts when it comes to drawing.

In 1986 she came out with “Drawing on the Artist Within: An Inspirational and Practical Guide to Increasing Your Creative Powers.” She says she wrote the book with an idea “that visual perception, drawing, and creativity might somehow be linked.” As she progressed in her research she discovered a “confirmation of my belief that direct perception, a different kind of “seeing,” is an integral part of thinking – and hence the creative process.” What is this different kind of seeing? She found it in the language of drawing.

As this blog is about celebrating the creative process, I thought I might share some of the work we have been doing in the drawing class. It’s being taught by Anthony Lee. Our first assignment was to go out and find three different leaves, bring them back and arrange them in a composition. I chose leaves that had different shades of green, with very different shapes. I thought this would make them easier to draw.

My first subjects....
My first subjects….

We were not given much instruction, I think the idea was to just give it a try, so the instructor could asses our skill levels. I started the drawing and found that I had already gotten things out of proportion, so I ended up running off of one page on to the next:

drawing class day one

And the instructor pointed it out to the other students to go where the drawing takes you. I thought that while I worked on the drawing that my mind would wander and I’d think about my novel and other writing that I want to do. But I found that you really need to concentrate on what you are looking at, that drawing took a lot more mental focus than I had originally thought.

After that we put all of our drawings together to see how everyone did:

A very talented group
A very talented group

I’m very excited about this class, it is a lot of fun, and it gets me out of my regular routine, and it feels good to be learning something new. I’ll be posting more drawings as the class goes on.

So, I’d love to hear from you, how do you “fill the well” when your creativity runs dry? Have you ever explored a new art form for the fun of it. Thanks so much for stopping by, I look forward to seeing you here again soon.