Thursday, August 6, 2009

Right Brain / Left Brain Quiz for Artists

Psychobiologists tell us the brain is composed of a left and a right hemisphere, which can result in to very different ways of creative thinking.

If so, is it relevant to artists if they are right-brained, left-brained, or whole-brained?

The left half of the brain is verbal and processes information in an analytical and sequential way. This left hemisphere ability is the predominant focus in schools and society.

The right brain is visual and processes information in an intuitive and simultaneous way. It is also able to recognize holistic patterns and similarities and combines those elements into new forms.

For some reason, our right and left hemispheres control the “opposite” side of our bodies.

No, hand dominance does not indicate brain dominance. Just like you don’t do everything with only one hand, so your brain doesn’t do everything with only one side.

The notion that left-handed people are more creative than right-handers is an old belief, kept alive mainly by lefthanders. However, a number of famous artists were indeed southpaws, including Michelangelo, Klee, Durer, Escher and da Vinci (right hand paralyzed?).

How is Right Brain / Left Brain thinking relevant to artists?
When we start a painting with a mental image of the final painting, the right brain is working on several things simultaneously -- choosing the compositional elements, colors, shadows and highlights, etc. But at the same time the left brain is taking a critical, analytical look at what we’re doing. Supposedly, there is a kind of “dialog” between the two hemispheres of our brain.

Some say, by learning whether your thinking is dominated by your right or left brain, you might be able to deliberately adjust your way of thinking while painting, with surprising results.

Others are skeptical -- they argue the entire concept is wrong-headed, pop-psychology.

An interesting approach to using and controlling the right side of the brain is found in “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” by Dr. Betty Edwards. An artist, painter and educator, Edwards uses the findings of brain research as an organizing principle to enable millions of people around the world to learn to draw. Her book is used as a standard text in many art schools.

Take the Right Brain/Left Brain Test for Artists to find out if you are right-brained, left-brained or whole-brained.

1. Is your painting studio or painting area:
a. Neatly organized, with everything having a place
b. Chaotic and disorganized, though you probably know where most things are

NOTE: The test is posted for the sole purpose of intellectual stimulation, general information and entertainment.

Visit the BINDERS website at!

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