Wonky Selfie

“The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, / Gang aft agley”.  Robert Burns might as well have been writing about my summer.  We pulled off the travel plans but all my other schemes either went totally pear-shaped or just entirely withered on the vine.  I do a sort of homeschooling, educating by stealth, summer project with my kids ever summer – have done since my oldest was a preschooler – but this summer the project had to be abandoned because pretty much everything else got derailed by so many stupid things plus my flipping awful oral pain.  Anyway, in early June I had this whole vision that I would have so much art time – so very much art time – over the summer break.  Ha!  Yeah.  Didn’t happen.  In fact, I have probably spent less time on art this summer than in previous summers.  Sigh.

For that reason, I desperately had to eke out whatever art time I could to make sure I don’t rust up to the point of my creative joints being totally seized up.  I wanted to do something really loose.  There was an Art Journal Adventure prompt from a couple of weeks ago about “doodling”.  I thought that would be the perfect thing to do for some super-quick art time in my art journal.  Determined to be loose and not fuss about perfection, I decided to draw with my non-dominant hand (which is my left) and – for a bit more challenge – using the blind contour technique.  I opted for a self-portrait because I figured I would be familiar with the shapes, forms, and proportions of my own face so that the drawing didn’t get too abstract and crazy.

I used pencil just to avoid making a total mess while not looking at my page but I did not erase a single mark.  What I did was go over those pencil marks with microns in three different sizes, just for a bit of variety and interest.  Then I added watercolour and – to keep the challenges coming – I painted with my left hand.  I am actually stunned by how well I painted with my non-dominant hand.  Certainly I achieved keeping things looser than normal.  For other people, this drawing probably is not remotely loose but, believe me, for me this is loose.

34 - Self-Portrait- Blind Contour & Non-dominant hand

16 thoughts on “Wonky Selfie

  1. Wow. That is amazing, Laura. By coincidence, two days ago I decided to try to learn to write with my left hand. I figure that it will take a month or so before a pen or pencil feels comfortable in my left hand. For the moment, lines are misshapen and crooked, which makes me even more impressed by your confident lines. Your portrait might not look exactly like you, but it is a wonderful work of which you can be proud.

    • Thanks, Mike. I was actually fairly ambidextrous as a child, having been taught to write by my Granddad who was fully ambidextrous. I was forced to settle for my right hand when I started school but I still do lots of things with either hand – and drive my husband crazy by setting the table incorrectly because I use my knife and fork the “wrong” way around. I’m, therefore, not too bad with my left hand and that’s why I threw the blind contour in there too as an additional challenge. I’d never painted before with my left hand though so that was new and actually felt pretty easy – though I don’t think I could handle anything more precise than the broad washes I used.

  2. I’m even more stunned than the other flabbergasted commenters– that is a fantastic bit of work! The watercolor effect in particular is superb– I love it. The left-handed business defies belief– amazing. You’re definitely much more attractive, but it’s a great essential capture. I am mightily impressed, Laura, and I couldn’t be more sincere. Take a bow, and I do hope your oral pain has been successfully resolved.

    • Thank you so much, Mark! I have to admit that I am impressed with myself when it comes to the painting bit. I thought I would be far more sloppy with the watercolour but I mostly managed to stay within the lines (I did switch back to my right hand to paint in the iris colour and the pendant). Thank you for asking about my oral pain. I am doing so much better now. I would say mild discomfort that I can mostly forget about until I try to eat something very crunchy.

  3. Wow, I’m always so amazed by your non-dominant-hand pieces… And this one is no exception! I love how angular it is – it makes for a great stylised portrait! Nice one! Plus I hope you get a chance to squeeze in a bit more art time before everyone’s back to school!

    • Thanks, Helen. Today is the last day of summer break. The kids go back to school tomorrow but I’m not officially back to work until Thursday so I’m hoping to squeeze in some art time before then.

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