Saturday, December 17, 2016

The Artist's Brain

      I just read an interesting article on the artist's brain. Rebecca Chamberlain, KU Leuven, Belgium was reporting on a study to see if artists brains are structurally different.  Using a scanning method- vaxel-based morphometry, it was found that there was more grey matter in the region of the brain used in visual imagery. It was also found that hose better at drawing had more grey and white matter in the cerebellum and in the related supplementary motor area involved in fine muscle control. Studies also showed that more work at drawing resulted in better work - so there is certainly something to the "10,000 hours" idea. However, the "right brain,left brain" idea didn't seem to hold true as improvement showed on both sides of the brain.
     I still think, however, that there is value to be had in going through the exercises in "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" - maybe especially if a person has been away from it for awhile and needs to power-up the creative workings. Most artists feel that Life Drawing is like playing scales - it keeps the skills up even if a lot of what is produced ends up in the recycling bin.... well, we don't want to be buried in overwhelming piles of paper! For our Long Poses every other Friday, I have been taking a mixed-media approach - drawing first in charcoal on watercolour paper, giving that a wash of acrylic,  drying that, and then applying acrylic medium for pastels (to give the paper "tooth"), drying it again and then completing the work in pastel. It is an interesting approach and I'm still exploring the possibilities.
    I'm  interested in light effects and I hope to do more city night scenes . "Five-fifteen". above. is the first one- based on a black and white newspaper photo - but I now have more references and will get at this idea after Christmas. I'm certainly well-past my 10,000 hours but there is always something new to try, some different ideas and approaches to play with, and some skills to keep up. There is lots to keep an artist's brain busy.

No comments: