Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Drawing: "Contour Drawing"

Okay, I have to confess that this was the first of the drawing exercises that completely lost me. All right, the second, both of which came today.

In this particular exercise, you have to squeeze up your non-drawing hand to create a lot of lines on your palm. Then you take a pencil and, WITHOUT LOOKING AT THE PENCIL OR PAPER, try to sketch the contours of the lines on the palm of your hand for five minutes.

It really wasn't clear to me whether your pencil is supposed to leave the paper as you draw or if it should stay in contact both times. I tried it both ways, and keeping the pencil in constant contact seemed to produce a better result.

Yeah, it's pretty underwhelming, isn't it? The process is supposed to free up your Right Brain from Left Brain constraints. Now, I liked the upside-down drawing. That was interesting. So was drawing my own hand and the self-portrait and the drawing from memory. All challenging stuff.

This activity was really, really boring for me. I struggled both times to make it through the entire five minutes. I didn't feel anxious or frozen while drawing. I just ran out of lines on my hand that I felt interested in drawing after several minutes. I don't mind the resulting scrawl, but it doesn't move me in any particular way.

The earlier activity today involved drawing your "childhood landscape," defined as the picture that you drew over and over again as a kid in early elementary school. My wife recalled a couple such drawings. Most of the ones in the book had a house in them: hers didn't because she moved around a lot.

I cannot recall any sort of landscape that I drew with any kind of regularity or that would begin to come back to me in the form of remembered details after I started. I tried but to no avail--I was clearly just making a childlike drawing of the house I lived in on White Sands Missile Range as a kid, not tapping into any recalled symbols. Anyway, the result did not represent what it was supposed to, so I didn't post it here.

Betty Edwards says that about 10% of her adult students fail to recall anything when they attempt this exercise. So I guess I'm special!

All in all, a bit frustrating today, but some setbacks are to be expected along the way.

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