What the Right Hand is Doing

Friday, 17th December 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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blind contour drawingI started reading and doing the exercises in Betty Edward's Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain in July. Over a few days I got as far as the blind contour drawing which demands 20 minutes of uninterrupted time so it was at that stage that I had to put the book down. I've picked it up again this morning.

I set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes and drew my left hand without turning to see how my right hand was getting on with the drawing. I'd got the A4 cartridge paper taped to my desktop drawing board.

I did look round just once, very briefly, when I realised that I had gone off the drawing altogether with my 4B pencil and ended up on the perspex surface of the drawing board.

I drew the fingers first, probably a bit too quickly for the purposes of the exercise because I then found myself short of edges (no shading allowed in this drawing) to include and I went onto veins and minute crinkles on the back of my hand.


30 minutes

I've got as far as chapter 6, Getting Around Your Symbol System: Meeting Edges and Contours. The next blind contour exercise is to draw a complex flower. The only flowers we have about at the moment are those of the cyclamen, which has been flowering continuously since August.

The drawing looks free and gestural but I drew it slowly, flower by flower. I'm surprised just how many of the flowers ended up drawn on top of each other. There are lines from drawing stems below and a single leaf, with perforated edges, on the right.


fossiliferous limestone 25 minutes

The next exercise is to draw a natural inanimate object such as a shell, a piece of driftwood or a rock; in my case, this piece of limestone studded with conical fossil shells that my friends Rheba and Farris brought me from their ranch in western Texas.

I feel as if I've crawled over that small patch of prehistoric sea bed. Since the cyclamen flowers ended up all in one place I made efforts to move my arm about the board as I drew but it was aching by the time I'd finished; it's almost like drawing with your hand behind your back. Next Page


Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk

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