Drawing is an act of observation, 
not coordination.

-- Lindsay Hinckley

 self-portrait drawn with left hand,  by Lindsay Hinckley

These wise words come from the girl who draws like this with her wrong (left) hand, while simultaneously being a gifted wearer of hats.  She is also highly coordinated, and is the master of anything on wheels.  This means at age 28 I still can't take her to the store, because she rides the shopping carts.  But you can forgive a lot in someone who can "observe" as well as she can.

What this quote says to me is that my right hand is obviously much less observant than my left (which must not be terribly observant either.)  

Anyway, that's the thing I've been trying hardest to practice in my drawing (with either hand):

The fine art of seeing.

I'm a trained noticer.

-- Barney Fife

One of my favorite lines by a TV character ever.  Because all visual or written art is really 9/10ths observation.  You must see the truth to be able to commit it to paper, and if there is no truth of some kind in the art, it will never resonate with those who read/look at/absorb it.

Lindsay only had to watch me draw for a moment to identify my first problem.  "You're drawing what your brain thinks it should look like instead of how it actually is.  Stop using your brain," she said, "and use your eyes. Really look at it."

Ouch.  Stinging words to someone who considers herself to be a professional noticer, but absolutely bang on.  Worth much more than I paid for the lesson. Because it's changing the way I see. Slowly, but I'm starting to feel it.

I guess in truth, my ears are trained noticers but my eyes are lazy ones. A real "aha", for which I can never thank my Lindsay enough.

It's almost as if I was afraid to 
actually try to see before, 
and she has somehow suddenly
given me permission to do so. 

Crazy, I know.


So if you've been waiting for someone to give you permission to become an all-seeing, all-hearing, Barney-level Practitioner of the Observation Arts, I hereby grant it. 

We'll see if my eyes catch up to my ears in one year or not.  My guess is, not a chance.  And I also have a hunch that I may be lacking a bit of necessary coordination (no matter how much I love her quote -- I'm not as gifted on roller blades as she is, either.  Just sayin'.)

Happy Weekend!


Leenie said...

Raising brilliant children is such a two-edged sword. What a source of pride and what a source of humility! Not only a gifted wearer of hats and rider of shopping carts, but she's figured out how to tap into that right brain and can channel it to either hand. And she's so generous with her observations. wow

If you can get your hands on "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain" by Betty Edwards you'll find some great ways to shut down all the step by step and let more of the Noticing out.

P.S. Thanks for your kind words about my poem. You were the only commenter who not only "got" the design but appreciated the words as well.

susan m hinckley said...

I was surprised by that, actually -- that's why I wondered if the words were yours -- they were so great, but no one seemed to notice!

And I've owned that book for many years...now I might finally be ready for it.

luanne said...

Perhaps it's easier to downplay the importance of coordination when you've obviously got lots of it! (Which I definitely do not... the fact that you're a runner puts you way ahead of me.)

But the seeing with your EYES vs your brain is really true.

Some years ago when I took a botanical drawing class, we had to start with an exercise where we put pencil to paper and drew for 5 minutes, never looking at our drawing but only at the subject. The idea was to engage the seeing brain and disengage the thinking. It really did seem to help while I did it regularly.

Thanks for the dose of Barney!

Pam said...

Have only just got around to visiting my favourite blogs, so have only just caught up with your surgery and the creative output of your very talented daughter.
What a talented family you are!! Your delightful works of art, and hers, show such a sense of fun and enthusiasm. I need a bit of a push in that direction so will take you up on the offer of permission to experiment more with the all-seeing, all-hearing practice of Observation Arts. Ta muchly!

Allie said...

She's right! I also recommend Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It will really help you see. Although I already think you're quite talented - you have your own style and I love it!

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