NOW THAT I AM 85: Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain On The Bus

NOW THAT I AM 85: Drawing On The Right Side of The Brain On The Bus

This is a true story.  My “little husband” stories are not true.  They are made up.

If you do not like true stories, do not read any further.

A few years ago was the first time I read the book DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN, by Betty Edwards.

I hope that if you have not read it, you will, because it helps everyone to draw things if they want to.

For instance, if you take a photo of a person’s face, and turn it upside down and then  commence to draw that face, you will see its features so much more clearly than if the photo were right-side up.

Why is this?  Apparently it is because when we see the face right-side up, we tend to draw it according to our preconceived ideas of what a face ought to look like.  After all, we have seen a thousand faces, and we should know!

But when we turn the picture upside down, we can see that the face, its contours, its lines and bulbations were previously unknown to us.  (“Bulbations” is a neologism I just made, but probably its meaning is obvious to you.)

Now we see that this person’s eyebrows are close together in the middle of the face.  Moving outward from there, they lift slightly about half an inch from their outer edges, and then hurtle back down.  The left concurrence of the lips curls upward, while the right is an abrupt straight line.  The nostrils are not as interestingly modeled as we had thought.  The upside-down trick yields many surprises!

Also, if you concentrate hard on the “negative space” around, say, a spoon or a seated squirrel, suddenly you will be able to really, really see the spoon or the squirrel!

What does Ms. Edwards mean by “negative space”?  Well, just put the silver spoon down on a dark surface, and focus intently on everything around the spoon that is NOT the spoon.  See the lines and curves that separate the spoon from the not-spoon.  It takes a while, but it can be done.  (If I have failed to make myself clear, read the book; it is in practically every library in the whole world because it is so popular.   Also, it has a lot of pictures.)

But here is the serious part, and a warning.  She says that when you see someone’s face – not quickly passing on the street, but on the bus or train where you can look for a while – if you concentrate hard on the “negative space” around that face, at some point the face will become beautiful.  Every single one, she says, will appear that way to you, no matter how ordinary or even ugly it may have seemed at first.

So I tried concentrating hard and often, and it was true!

Every single face.

But the warning is this:

(“This is too wonderful for me…”)

On one bus, one day, I was focusing on one randomly-chosen face.  The person may have been middle-aged, old, young, clean, dirty – I don’t remember.

All I know is that at some point that face began to radiate, in an incomprehensible, unearthly brightness, a beauty that was, quite truly, unbearable.


I have never ever dared to do this practice again.

I still ride the bus every day, though, and look, idly, at the faces.
(My next shlog is entitled: My Little Husband and the New Year’s Eve Happening)

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