Ha.  Well, I do want to be younger - re: the outside look though, honestly.  I 
think I'm pretty young still on the inside - maybe this exercise will help me 
grow up!  Son House....love this.  Have a good one, gotta go...


> From: curtisdeltablues <curtisdeltabl...@yahoo.com>
>To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 
>Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 12:03 PM
>Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: When I stopped believing my own lie…
>--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Emily Reyn  wrote:
>> I think I will give this a try...I don't have that particular natural 
>> affinity either, but it would be an excellent exercise for my brain in 
>> exploring its capacity for communicating different perspectives, if only to 
>> myself. 
>Exactly, it is a neuronal challenge that makes us younger inside. 
>< We haven't all internalized great pitch, however; I think that is skill is 
>inherent to how the brain HEARS and differs between people.  I had a good 
>friend in band, years ago, who always played flat...she couldn't hear the 
>note. We went to go see a Peter, Paul, and Mary concert and she sang every 
>tune with them, out of key.  Drove me crazy! Ha. >
>Yes you have a point.  I am not sure if some people are the exception or if 
>she was just not being directed to pay attention to the right thing.  But I 
>still maintain that poor student performance comes back to the teacher.  And 
>of course there are exceptions to every rule.  But for most of us we have 
>everything we need to play music or draw.  One great line from one of my books 
>is that if you have the ability to notice that a picture in hanging crookedly 
>on the wall, you have what you need to draw.  As I continue to refine my 
>pictures, adjusting a little here and there I really get what they mean. The 
>process is simple, but you have to isolate what to pay attention to for it to 
>be relevant.  That is where the instructional techniques come in. 
>I have taken a photo of Son House and put him in a plastic sleeve that I drew 
>1 inch squares on.  Then I made a light pencil line grid on my drawing paper.  
>This guide is helping me SEE the simple shapes I need to focus on to draw this 
>picture so much better.  It gives me a reference frame to compare the simple 
>shapes in each square to.
>One of my goals is to fill my walls with my sketches of the bluesmen and 
>women.  It is a great modest, yet challenging level to work toward.  
>Everything I draw now has a slight hinkiness to it.  But as I learn to settle 
>down and take time to compare what I have drawn with what is in front of me 
>and adjust it, I can see that it is possible, if just beyond my reach yet.
>A perfect kick my brain's ass challenge for this decade of my life!
>> >________________________________
>> > From: curtisdeltablues 
>> >To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 
>> >Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 11:27 AM
>> >Subject: [FairfieldLife] Re: When I stopped believing my own lie…
>> > 
>> >
>> >  
>> >Thanks for responding.  The great thing the Right Side of the Brain book 
>> >does is apply techniques to help us see things differently.  For example 
>> >she uses a small pane of glass (8X10 photo glass works great) with cross 
>> >lines drawn in to help your vision translate 3D images into 2 dimensions on 
>> >the plane of the screen.  I guess some people have a natural affinity for 
>> >this but I sure don't.
>> >
>> >I'll bet you have a much more developed artistic eye than you are giving 
>> >yourself credit for if you love and notice art.  I like to tell people who 
>> >are dubious about my "you can play guitar" spiel that if I am off one half 
>> >step on a note they will notice because we have all internalized great 
>> >pitch from listening to music.  So the trick is to translate that into our 
>> >bodies, more athletic than artistic.
>> >
>> >For drawing it seems to be a little trickier because some of our distorted 
>> >perceptions are actually important survival mechanisms.  So to SEE 
>> >perspective clearly enough we may need some counter-intuitive help.  
>> >Betty's book is excellent at this.
>> >
>> >--- In FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com, Emily Reyn  wrote:
>> >>
>> >> Interesting story.  I am not a visual artist, and in fact, have issues 
>> >> with spatial translation.  I cannot draw at all, but have, like you, 
>> >> attempted to follow the lines or learn the lines of simple things.  In 
>> >> looking at a tree, for example, I can follow the lines, but often the 
>> >> dimensions are off when it translates to paper.  I can bring up a 
>> >> visual of a fox, but cannot translate the image on paper.  I see this 
>> >> as a brain issue; I cannot SEE to translating image on paper.  I could 
>> >> never be an architect, but once the drawing is visualized for me, I can 
>> >> describe it in space.  I love art however; it communicates so much in 
>> >> ways that words do not.  One of my children has a more natural talent 
>> >> of "seeing" visually; the other is like me and is reduced to elementary 
>> >> drawings replete with stick figures.  My last art class was in 9th 
>> >> grade - I found that, for me, I am better at
 geometric shapes, abstract translations at best.  
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> 
>> >> >________________________________
>> >> > From: curtisdeltablues 
>> >> >To: FairfieldLife@yahoogroups.com 
>> >> >Sent: Saturday, January 26, 2013 10:21 AM
>> >> >Subject: [FairfieldLife] When I stopped believing my own lie…
>> >> > 
>> >> >
>> >> >  
>> >> >I know, a little "Man Bites Dog" headline, huh?  But since you are here 
>> >> >anyway…
>> >> >
>> >> >I was lying to some little kids again.  I mean not lying, lying but 
>> >> >tossing some bullshit that all of a sudden I began to smell.  I was in a 
>> >> >Title One school (poorest kids in their county) teaching them to write a 
>> >> >blues song to help them understand the difference between character 
>> >> >traits and feelings, which for a first grader is at the top of their 
>> >> >cognitive limits.  (Feelings change in the story, but character traits 
>> >> >persist to define how a character will behave in the story. Hopefully 
>> >> >character traits can also change through education, or we are all kinda 
>> >> >screwed, but you see the simple difference right?) 
>> >> >
>> >> >I was drawing a picture web of ideas using characters from their story 
>> >> >about a fox and a mouse and was drawing a really, really shitty fox.  I 
>> >> >mean worse than cave man on cave wall shitty. (No offense to our 
>> >> >ancestors meant some of them drew better than I did.)  I told the kids 
>> >> >that as a musician I tend to pay more attention to my ears so I practice 
>> >> >music but not drawing.  All this is sort of true, but what was a 
>> >> >stinking lie was the implication that somehow this preference defined my 
>> >> >character trait as a musician guy who can't draw.  It sent me into 
>> >> >introspection on my long drive home.
>> >> >
>> >> >WTF?  Why was I shitty at drawing and was it really based on my sensory 
>> >> >preference?  Or was it something that had just been overlooked in my 
>> >> >education, cast aside as something adults don't need to know how to do? 
>> >> >What other area of knowledge is it acceptable for adults to perform at a 
>> >> >first grade level? (Oh sorry that is a two digit number and I don't do 
>> >> >math that high!)
>> >> >
>> >> >As I reflected on my art classes I remember being taught how to use 
>> >> >certain mediums, but never having anyone show me how to draw.  It seemed 
>> >> >to be accepted that some kids were "talented" (I am beginning to hate 
>> >> >that word as a total cop-out in art.) and they could do this magical 
>> >> >thing called drawing.  And then there was me, a special Ed artist to 
>> >> >this day.  Was this just a limit I needed to accept, or had my 
>> >> >educational system failed me?
>> >> >
>> >> >I needed to know, so I went to the library and took out a big stack of 
>> >> >how-to-draw books including one on drawing animal cartoons.  In a few 
>> >> >moments I knew I had been selling myself and others a bill of goods 
>> >> >about me being able to draw as a limit.  With some simple instructions I 
>> >> >could draw a very passible fox for my class the next day, as well as a 
>> >> >very cute but simple mouse.  I had just never been shown how to draw 
>> >> >one, and some of it was counter-intuitive.  So I still sucked at drawing 
>> >> >in general but in the specific I could pull off a fox and a mouse.  And 
>> >> >it was still magical how they went from a real picture of these animals 
>> >> >to the stylized few lines that defined them, so I had even more 
>> >> >questions now.  How did the guy (or doll, I'm still in my Film Noir 
>> >> >phase) first discover how to SEE what lines mattered most?
>> >> >
>> >> >Relevant side discussion:  If you come up to me after my blues show and 
>> >> >tell me you like my music, I will thank you and then ask if you play an 
>> >> >instrument.  If you tell me you have no musical talent but would love to 
>> >> >play guitar I will tell you that anyone can learn to play simple chords 
>> >> >on a guitar and have a blast playing most of your favorite music.  My 
>> >> >practiced spiel includes the fact that I have taught many people to play 
>> >> >guitar who never thought they could, and it is a simple matter of having 
>> >> >someone show you where to put your fingers (Youtube) and then putting 
>> >> >your fingers on strings for 15 minutes every day till you groove it in. 
>> >> >Some go away inspired, some go away dubious, and some just go away.  But 
>> >> >some actually do what I suggest and write me glowing thank-you emails.  
>> >> >So for music I believe that talent is overrated as far as personal 
>> >> >satisfaction is concerned.  We may never have the raw talent of Jimi 
>> >> >Hendrix, but he was a legendary
>> >>  practicer too, so it is still up in the air concerning this 
>> >> Natureâ€"Nurture balance.
>> >> >
>> >> >But I had never applied my own theory to myself with drawing till now.
>> >> >
>> >> >Back to the main story:
>> >> >
>> >> >We have all probably owned this book, I know I did, but never worked 
>> >> >through it: Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards.  I 
>> >> >got the latest edition from Amazon and let her guide me.  Within two 
>> >> >chapters I was drawing so far above what I thought I could ever do.  I 
>> >> >realized that this is a huge gap in education, and an amazing 
>> >> >opportunity to understand altered states of brain functioning. (more on 
>> >> >that later.) Now don't get me wrong, I am a beginner and am still on the 
>> >> >"suck" continuum in my final products. But now I see where I need to go, 
>> >> >I see the path before me.  It will take time, but the time spent is so 
>> >> >enjoyable I am sorry I didn't discover this before.
>> >> >
>> >> >In a nutshell, what my girl Betty (Now THAT is a noir-chick name!) 
>> >> >turned me on to were some critical concepts about how people SEE in 
>> >> >order to draw accurately.  It turns out that most of us draw through the 
>> >> >filter of our conceptions because we don't know how to tell our 
>> >> >hyper-verbal brain functions to chill the F out while we try to actually 
>> >> >SEE something that may not make conceptual sense, but happens to be the 
>> >> >way things look from that angle.  If we see a cube we KNOW that each 
>> >> >side is equal, but if you draw it that way it will suck because it does 
>> >> >not appear that way to our eyes.  When drawing faces we really go into 
>> >> >hyper-drive with our conceptions because we are so focused on getting 
>> >> >information from people's faces.  (We naturally suck at eye placement 
>> >> >because it is actually in the exact middle of our faces and we all think 
>> >> >it is about one third down from our hairline, and we all place ears too 
>> >> >far forward on a profile as well as lopping off
>>  most
>> >>  of the top of people's heads in sketches. Our intuition betrays us.)
>> >> >
>> >> >So brilliant Betty had me draw from a picture that was upside down so I 
>> >> >only saw shapes, or draw the spaces and shapes around and inside a chair 
>> >> >instead of the thing itself, to let my perception have a chance to shift 
>> >> >into less concept laden seeing.  And the results have been a revelation. 
>> >> > I actually drew a cool chair this way, as well as the corner of my 
>> >> >room. (I even got the counter-intuitive perspective lines right-ish.)
>> >> >
>> >> >One of the coolest parts of the book was a quote from Van Gogh pissing 
>> >> >and moaning about how hard it was to draw as he was teaching himself, 
>> >> >and even some examples of what he drew when HE sucked!  (Yes, Van Gogh 
>> >> >sucked at first just like some of us do, even though he may have been 
>> >> >able to take that ball and run with it much further than I can once he 
>> >> >got going.)
>> >> >
>> >> >Which brings up my current perspective on art.  We have been betrayed by 
>> >> >our educational system if we can't bang out chords on guitar or piano to 
>> >> >delight ourselves if we want to, or draw an accurate representative 
>> >> >likeness of something we see.  Those are the basics, and it is within 
>> >> >everyone's ability to master that.  What makes art become ART is what we 
>> >> >do with that foundation.  How can we use those chords to move someone's 
>> >> >emotions, or represent not just the surface of how a person looks, but 
>> >> >how they feel to us on a deeper level in a picture.  (Think Picasso's 
>> >> >brilliant insight drawing single eyed women because that is how their 
>> >> >eyes fuse into one when we are leaning in for a kiss.) 
>> >> >
>> >> >So now drawing through my art book lessons (I have a stack) is a part of 
>> >> >every day, and I relish the state of non-verbal thinking that it shifts 
>> >> >me into.  It is truly a meditative, restorative state that I crave.  It 
>> >> >is different from the flow state I am in when I play music, but I can't 
>> >> >articulate how yet.  It has some similarities in the time distortion and 
>> >> >expansion of awareness feelings, but It is definitely running different 
>> >> >brain software.  How it fits into the model of how we alter our minds 
>> >> >through meditation is anyone's guess.
>> >> >So I hope Marek is lurking, but I will send him this if he isn't.  I 
>> >> >would love to hear his take on this since he is so developed both as a 
>> >> >visual artist as well as a verbally expressive thinker.
>> >> >
>> >> >Anyone who is a visual artist or anyone who wants to share experiences 
>> >> >about their relationship with art are most welcome.   This has so many 
>> >> >profound implications about how we approach education for me, especially 
>> >> >concerning non-verbal intelligence,but I have bent your eyes (ears?) 
>> >> >long enough.
>> >> >
>> >> >Thanks for being a place to send such a piece. I'll hang out for any 
>> >> >responses. 
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >> > 
>> >> >
>> >> >
>> >>
>> >
>> >
>> > 
>> >
>> >

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