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Tuesday 21st February 2012

Are you a left or right brained thinker?

 "The great pleasure and feeling in my right brain is more than my left brain can find the words to tell you." — Nobel Laureate Roger Sperry.

We know that the two sides of our brain work differently.  They have their own way of operating and most of us rely more heavily on one side than the other. 

The right side is usually associated with creativity and emotion.  The left side belongs to the world of language, fact and analysis.  While you are probably more at home with one side than the other, we work best when we combine the two.

You might think that all great artworks sprang out of the artist’s right brain but that isn’t true. What you probably see is the result of the imaginative right brain idea being shaped by left brain logic. Even the soft, romantic paintings of the Impressionists were a blend of imagination and science as painters like Monet analysed the spectrum of light and its effect on colour.

As an artist, you would benefit by being able to use each side of the brain ‘on demand.’  Think back over your recent drawings.  How often have you started out with inspiration and flair only to find the critical part of your mind creeping in and pointing out the flaws?  That is left brain logic showing itself and, while it’s essential to be able to critique your work, wouldn’t it be great if you could turn it off until you needed it?

If you could draw what your eyes saw without it being interpreted by logic, how creative might your art become?  That series of shapes and lines could be anything, couldn’t it?  When we look at a painting by Picasso, most of us try to work out what it is and to see the logical form within the work.  Picasso learnt to control his left brain so that he could paint what he saw with his emotion and imagination.

You can find out which side of your brain is dominant by doing a simple observation test.   Then, with a little practice, you can learn to control the hemispheres of your brain and call on them when you need them. 

If you can turn off the left brain critic and let your right brain artist work uninhibited, how much better might your work be?