The Other Hand

“You over-analyze everything,” one friend said recently.

“Do you think you are over-complicating this?” my therapist asks regularly.

“You’re a bit too deep for me sometimes,” says another friend.

And my best friend Jon sums it all up with one succinct phrase… every time I start over-thinking, questioning, getting into the weeds, he simply says “Life with Louise!”

They’re all good reminders of something I only became aware of recently – namely that most other people don’t think the way I do … this way of seeing the world isn’t universal … and therefore, I may be able to rewire and start seeing things differently.

I was reminded of it again tonight at life drawing class. My last few drawings have been disappointing and I have become quite frustrated.

“Try drawing with your left hand,” suggested our teacher Helen, “you’re over-thinking and it will get you out of your head and free you up.”

I can’t do that,” I said. “I’m rubbish with that hand,”

“Do it anyway,” she said, “you will love me by the end of the session.”

And would you believe it – the minute I switched hands, the drawing was transformed. The lines became more interesting and I quickly captured an accurate likeness.  I am genuinely proud of the piece I produced. Helen was right. I had been over-thinking and lost all spontaneity and natural expressiveness.

I’m realizing that in art, just as in life, you can only get what you want if you stop trying to control exactly how you get there.

Here’s the drawing from tonight’s class

IMG_3771.jpg

And in honour of Helen, tonight’s selfie is entirely left-handed.

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