June 8, 2010

Right Brain vs. Left Brain


Leo- the Laboring Artist…..He’s been drawing and painting since he was a child. He’s become quite good, as it so happens the work that really sells is what bores him to make. It’s a juggling act, does he paint the things that pay the bills or does he paint what makes him happy? He’s not complaining, he makes time for the things that matter and he’s got a plan.

Some articles suggest that before we enter school, our left brain and right brain functions are more even. That school plays to the more left brain ways of learning. I think in school that is the way it has to be if you’ve got a class of 30 or so students. I don’t think we lose our “right brain” activity, I think we stop trusting it. It’s always there in the background. There are exercises you can do to get your “right brain” more involved, which may help in getting over a block.

1981- Roger Sperry (Nobel Prize winner) suggested that the two halves of the brain actually house two different realms of consciousness. It’s been suggested that people, in general, are primarily either right brain thinkers or left brain thinkers.

  • Left Brain: Doctors, Scientists, Lawyers, Mathematicians
  • Right Brain: Artists, Dancers, Musicians, Architects
The main theme to emerge... is that there appear to be two modes of thinking, verbal and nonverbal, represented rather separately in left and right hemispheres respectively and that our education system, as well as science in general, tends to neglect the nonverbal form of intellect. What it comes down to is that modern society discriminates against the right hemisphere.

-Roger Sperry (1973)

uses logic uses feeling
detail oriented “big picture” oriented
facts rule imagination rules
words and language symbols and images
present and past present and future
math and science philosophy & religion
can comprehend can “get it” (i.e. meaning)
knowing believes
acknowledges appreciates
order/pattern perception spatial perception
knows object name know object function
reality based fantasy based
forms strategies presents possibilities
practical impetuous
safe risk taking

So if I'm Left-Handed, Does This Mean My Right Brain is Dominant?
No, hand dominance is not directly related to brain dominance. And, remember, just like you don't do everything with only the one hand, so your brain doesn't do everything with one side, although there is generally a preference. However, a significant number of artists have been and are left-handed, more than would be suggested by the one-in-ten occurrence of left-handedness in the population. While those who are left handed do exhibit a greater propensity for right-brain dominance, being right handed does not preclude your right brain from dominating. (From this article)

Our right brain is visual, intuitive, playful, subjective, emotional, timeless, spontaneous. It deals with humor, imagery, physical activity, art, music, and dance. It is passive whereas the left side is aggressive. I think the more “right brain” activity I can bring into my life, the better. As long as I can keep my female emotional side in check! LOL!!

Another sign of hope for us beginner's is that we can learn to tune into our Right Brain (see book Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain). When kids are about 10-11 yrs old, they enter the “stage of realism” where the child wants to draw something that looks real. Some kids are able to make the transition into the right brain thinking and tap into that part which helps them “see” what they are trying to draw. While many other kids get frustrated and give up. Later, when these kids are adults and want to draw again, their art will resume right where it left off, at the “stage of realism” level. This book helps make the conversion into Right brain thinking.

This book also talks about:

  • Upside Down Drawing
  • Negative Space Drawing
  • Crossing Over: Experiencing the shift from Left to Right

I may just have to dig around in my basement for my copy!

What about you? Are you more right brain dominant or left? What tricks have you learned to compensate for your right or left brain dominance?

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Anonymous said...

I am definitely "right brain"

Janet said...

After reading the list, I have some of each. I think Leo should paint what he loves....if he puts his heart into it people will see that and they'll love it, too.

Shannon said...

Great, fun, super cool post! I'm definitely right-brain dominate but somehow I've been able to merge the two worlds and feel pretty darn balanced. I always heard playing the piano as a young person helps with this. Hmm... Thanks for stopping by for a visit today. Your blog is so delightful.

ScrapGirls Ro said...

What a great post, Eden! I'm such a mess of left brain and right brain attributes that I confuse everyone - and myself.

I love the art you've used in this post. Perfection.

Our Little Finch Flock said...

I really love your stuff,your drawings, bright colors and attitude!

Leslie said...

Sometimes I feel like Leo - so I'm dying to know, what *is* his plan?

Eileen Bergen said...

I struggle to stay in my right mind. lol. When I try to let go and doodle or paint something abstract I get pulled back by my left brain and my doodle looks like a palm tree or a flower - not a doodle at all.

Great post and little drawings.

Ro, thanks for telling us about Eden's blog.

Eden said...

Leslie, so glad you asked.....Leo's making Dinner plans, vacation plans, and book deals......all he need to do now is just sell a few more paintings! :D

Randi Oh said...

thank you, Ro for turning me onto this blog - LOVE it, Eden! I am a definte right brainer.. wait, left.. i am both but i am more into the right... i just go with my art and whatever happens, happens. i have the book you talked about and when i feel less creative or have lost my mojo i draw with my left hand. thanks for this post and the paintings. Leo sounds so busy :)

Anonymous said...

hello! it's nice to meet you! i have found you via the art linky link!
your art makes me smile..it's so fun and whimsical and humourous! well done!

come by and visit with me as well, if you are so inclined!

ciao bella
creative carmelina

rhomany said...

Hi Eden, I found you through the artist bloghop. Loving your doodles, they're so colourful. I was just watching a program on Matisse and your colour choices remind me a lot of his work.

pammyjo said...

OMGosh ... I love your artsy doodles. They are great. Thanks for dropping by my blog and your kind words. I look forward to visiting more and seeing more of your work too. I don't have a Flickr account. Maybe looking into it soon, I'm overflowing with photos. LOL Have a great rest of the week. :)

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By day...I work in the Healthcare field, where every .. i.. has to be dotted and every ..t.. has to be crossed. This blog is the place where I can let myself go and have some fun. I am on a journey. A journey I started a long time ago, but it has been a bit sidetracked with Navy Wife relocations and raising kids. I finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I have got some time for me. No, I will not be one of those moms walking around the house with Empty Nest Syndrome, I have got way too much to do, to learn, to create. Sure, once the kids are gone I will miss them....but hey, there is always the phone, the email, the texting and the Plane tickets! I love my life and my family and It is fun moving into this new stage. I am into Digital Scrapbooking, photography, journaling, Art Journaling and Drawing. I am a do-it-yourselfer and I am trying to teach myself to draw. I am finding that it takes a lot of patience, lots of practice and a good eraser! And if you're really curious there's a 3 part Interview by Eileen: HERE All the best, Eden