Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Heart messages

Drawing of a man II
charcoal on drawing paper
9 x 12 inches
Barbara Muir © 2009

How many times have you been told to follow your heart,
not your head? Apparently as artists sitting squarely in the
right brain, we "sense" the reality around us, in a more
profound, less logical way, than people who are more
left brain, or able to call on both hemispheres at once.
I am thinking about the woman -- Jill Bolte Taylor,
who you can watch on TED TV talk about her experience
of having a stroke. She noticed that her left, logical brain
shut down rather quickly after her stroke, and that her
right brain was both fascinating and spacey.

Put me there. Fascinating and spacey, and trying with
all my might to summon logic. And I have not had a stroke.
Does this mean that if we operate more from the heart,
laugh and cry more easily, we are doomed to illogic?
Hold on a minute. Here's the twist. The writer part of me,
(here we go again into splits and conflicts) is apparently left brain,
from all reports. So perhaps that's why I can talk to my
subjects when I'm painting them. Make that, that's why
I love to talk to my sitters when I'm painting them.

But in my mental travels today I remembered Lindsay,
a Biology Prof at school telling me about a book
Female Brain, and today watched a You Tube video
of the author, Louann Brizendine, who according to
Lindsay, (no offense here please guys) says that
women have a larger corpus collosum
connecting the two hemispheres of the brain, although
(naturally) there seems to be some debate about this.
So perhaps even when we are mostly right brained,
women have an easier time pulling in the left. I'm
distinctly hoping this is true. Need it. Order, logic -- all
of those qualities I admire so much in my more
left brained friends.

I've been working today on a big commission and
doing critical research, (not this brain stuff -- don't
worry), but instead I think I'll show you another
drawing of a man. This time I've used charcoal.
It was a quick study.

Have an-enjoying-both-sides-of-your-brain day.


Melinda said...

Another wonderful post, Barbara. Full of feeling and intellect. I've heard that about the female brain. I concur. My field studies have documented quite consistently that the female brain can "contain multitudes" next to the male brain. ;)

Loved Jill Bolte Taylor's talks. I can so relate to her...that, well, this artist cannot talk while painting or playing the guitar.

This drawing REALLY looks like the fabulous Colbert. Well done!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

Do you really think so? I was just drawing a guy -- and what do you know?

The female brain lady is interesting too, from all points of view, and she's now working on a book on the Male Brain. I'll be wanting a copy of that because my family is all male except for the cat and the dog.

Thanks so much for liking my drawing.


laura said...

My left brain definitely rules the roost--I'm amazed I can create art at all. I think I've just become adept at turning it off, or rather lowering the volume ... but I am always pushing against it!
Enjoying your b&w drawings!!

L.Holm said...

Great drawing, and fantastic post, Barbara. I've found when I'm really immersed in R. brain activities, my speech centers shut down. Inconvenient when demoing! Admire your ability to talk and draw/paint at once!

Barbara Muir said...

Hi Laura,

You're a left brainer -- well that explains the incredible love of words and the gift of all that superb poetry for your readers. But I beg to defer. Your glorious, wet, ideal, loose, amazing drawings and watercolours come from your right brain which is in excellent condition.

We have evidence.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Take care,


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Liz,

Well of course I have experienced that phenomenon. You can't be an artist and not lose speech from time to time. When I have a client here,
I sometimes think my conversations are a bit like a mobius loop, and I notice their faces go slack, then
I laugh and hope they'll talk instead of me.

Take care,


Portrait Artist

My photo
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: barbara.muir@sympatico.ca
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!