Popular theory on right-side brain activity holds that the right brain is primarily responsible for the intuitive understanding of visual and spatial relationships. Designed to improve the way people see and record objects on paper, a set of visual exercises helps build the ability to draw. If you doubt your artistic ability or were told as a child that you could not draw, this is your opportunity to challenge that perception.
Even though I have an art background, this course has proven to be a successful challenge and enhancer. It never came across to me as an art educator and artist that I would forget how to draw. Before entering college I was never taught ‘how to draw’ besides my one and only art class in high school. My first drawing class EVER was in college. This Smithsonian Associates course taught me more than what I learned in my first college drawing course.
On the first day of class, we started with an activity that illustrated the mental conflict that occurs between the L-mode and R-mode of our brain. When doing this activity my mind was tricked – this famous optical illusion drawing, titled “Vase/Faces” allowed me to see either a symmetrical vase in the center or two facing profiles. My task was ultimately to see and complete the second profile, which inadvertently completes the symmetrical vase in the center. Shahin Shikhaliyev was our instructor for the course — he knows his stuff! He warned me, that since I already had a background in drawing I needed to put that in the back of my mind and act as if I had never taken a class.
This course had me becoming best friends with the right side of my brain – some evenings were a success and others left me with a splitting headache. I realized after the second class, that when taking this course one has to center his or her chi in order to utilize the right side. I had to let go of everything that was going on around me and literally see what shapes made the object versus what the object was. My mind kept telling me this is a stool or this is a nose but I had to let go.
I highly recommend taking this course! This course is for beginners who have zero drawing experience - like the majority of my classmates - to people with art degrees like myself. I’m not saying it’s an easy class, but it’s not necessarily difficult — it requires effort and outside dedication/practice.
Drawing can be such a hard skill to learn, but one benefit from learning how to draw and taking this course is getting to know your own brain a little bit better. Check out our photo album for images of this course.
The course I took was, “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brian” on Fridays, July 13-August 17 from 6 – 8:30pm.