Re-train That Brain

by Kathleen Huebener in Quote for the Day

Many have asked me what methods I am using to re-train my brain to paint depth aptly. Remember that movie about Helen Keller, the famous American author and lecturer, who was deaf and blind? In the movie, there is a famous scene where Helen’s teacher Anne Sullivan and Helen are wrestling at the water pump vigorously pumping water together.

Anne Sullivan is alternately holding Helen’s hand into the outpouring water and then spells “water” in sign language (finger spelling) into Helen’s hand. Anne is desperately trying to make Helen realize that water and the sign language for water are the same thing. Luckily, for Helen, the realization that the two are one suddenly clicks in her brain and a completely new world opens up for Helen. Praise God, what a moment through the sense of touch!

Now I am not deaf, however, I have found that, since my eye surgery, my brain is still translating my sight to paint flat. It is very irritating, to say the least, to paint flat when I now can see depth. My hands and sight are not working together. I have a plan. To help my sense of sight regain depth, I have added the sense of touch.

I bought some modeling clay and started out with molding ridges. There is a warning for the following photos: they are definitely not pretty to look at and I do not consider them art. Nevertheless, they do show the “depths” (sorry, I just had to say that) I will go to get back my depth perception in my paintings.

Through the clay, I am reshaping the way I see things.
Using what I created in clay, I then painted a depth study.
It turned out – Praise God! I will not post this painting at this time,
because I want to report on methods I am implementing
and not on my painting studies themselves.

After flattening out all the ridges, I proceeded to stack clay plates.
To aid more finite depth vision, I add tiny rocks and indentations.
Again, I painted a depth study.
There is definite success in studying with the solid clay.
To change the drift and keep the learning progressing,
I turned to another texture -sand.
I have not added water yet to the sand.
That probably will be the next step in formulating another depth study.
I am encouraged to know I am on the right path, going in the right direction.
Going in the right direction is important.
Perhaps you too have felt there is something holding you back from
accomplishing what you want to accomplish in your art.

Do not give up. Create a plan to solve this problem.

If you make your mind up to do it, you will do it.

As it has stated in a quote about painting:

“Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful.

Yet there will stretch out before you

an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path.

You know you will never get to the end of the journey.

But this, so far from discouraging,

only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

Winston Churchill