I lived awhile, and learned to draw
And then I learned, that I could not.
Years and years have wasted, slipped right out the door
And then I learned that I ‘can draw’.
A whole new way of seeing, it’s not a gifted few
Embarrass and frustration are ceasing to be true.
I learned at school to read and write, and other things as well
I learned and crammed, and crammed and learned between that ding dong bell
But this whole new way of seeing, it’s not a gifted few
Never came from schooling, it came right out the blue.
I’ve lived and learned, and learned and lived, and lived and learned again
But not till now did I ever know, the right side of my brain
A whole new way of seeing, that bloody gifted few
Only ever had, a right brain kind of view!
Brett Dorron 1/3/2000
This poem was inspired by Betty Edwards’ book, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”, and an elective drawing unit at Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, first semester, 2000. Edwards’ book opened my mind to the possibility (belief) that, I ‘could’ learn to draw. The lecturers, the practical experience, and the opportunities (the models), did the rest.
As young children, we learn to draw symbols. We learn to draw (or represent) visual symbols for eyes, a face, a house, a tree, a bird, a cat, just as we learn the verbal and linguistic symbols (signs/sounds/words) for the same. We learn to construct larger visual narratives where the visual signs relate, like words, to become descriptive sentences. The persons become the family, the trees and flowers become the garden, the house becomes the center piece – the family home, and the bright yellow sun, and the clouds and birds, become the signs for peace and happiness.
Later on, about our teenage years, some people, those seen as inspired or gifted artists, accidentally, or otherwise, learn or discover a more mature (realistic) way to draw. But, most do not. We get stuck, through left brain dominance (schooling – academia), in an endless cycle of repetition. The repetition of signs – this stands for (means) this – that does not.
Edwards’ book, and the simple exercises within, aim to confront the left brain with tasks only suitable to right brain modes, and thus to consciously tap the creative abilities available within us all. With practice, you can actually feel or sense the shift. If you find yourself thinking or asking – ‘how do I draw (or represent) that?’ – you are in a left brain mode, and will be offered a sign (a substitute/symbolic). The right brain does not usually ask, it already knows what’s needed (automatic).
Brett Dorron 8/10/2001