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Friday, March 13, 2009

Artistic Shift

On Wednesday afternoon, while enjoying a quick coffee & a journal session, I flicked through the latest Art Jewelry magazine, the issue dedicated to education. One of the articles was from a teacher about bringing an element of surprise into the classroom. I had a little giggle, but did the suggested pointless exercise "before you read any further." The author, Robert Dancik, explained how this encouraged students to make an artistic shift, helping them learn & to think outside the box more readily.

There is quite a following for the right & left brain theory as far as artistic expression goes. I tend to think there is something in it. I recall an experience I had several years ago while sitting to paint a simple watercolour of a pot on a corner of a high wall. Somewhere during the experience I went off into some kind of zone. Nothing else existed but the brush, the paint and the paper. At some point I came to realise the painting was done. While it dried I tried to write in my journal, but it was like words wouldn't form, or something.

I was also surprised to see how much time had passed. To me it had only been fleeting moments, but more than an hour had gone without me being aware. Instead of fighting the shift my brain had made, I simply sat and doodled over my page and was eventually able to make a note type entry by the end about what I'd just experienced.

Surely, this is the kind of artistic shift we can pursue while creating whatever it is we create. I have also experienced this shift with writing, but have been well able to continue to form words. So, perhaps there are different parts of the brain to access for various art forms.

What do you think about right & left brain theories? Spend some time writing in your journal about artistic shifts. Have you experienced anything like the artistic shift I've mentioned? If not, why do you think you haven't? Write about any time you've experienced this shift. What did it teach you about your creativity?

I hope you enjoy this journal writing challenge. Please leave comments in the section below.

Photo is my own


  1. Getting into a zone that like is wonderful. I've experienced it with writing and drawing, as well as highly analytical tasks. It seems to be a matter of focus driven by extreme interest in the present task.

    I recently read of a study where two groups of volunteers were told to listen to a 3-minute tape which was a random listing of names. They were challenged to remember 8 names of people who went to a party from the tape.

    Only one group was also told to doodle while they listened (though not why). The doodlers did significantly better. The theory is that the doodling occupied the artistic right brain so that it wouldn't distract and interrupt the logical left brain.

  2. Hi Eileen,
    Lol, so cool that you know what that zone feels like. I actually blogged about that study you've mentioned in my old blog. I got a cool link in the comment, which I will have to find now, to a guy who uses doodling to help children recover, sort of like therapy, which is very interesting, too. Thanks so much for your comment. ;-)