Creative Inspirations

Switching Gears: left brain/right brain

Analytical thought vs perceptual intuition. Linear vs abstract. Bookkeeping/emails vs art making.  Because these opposites require the use of different sides of the brain to formulate, it has always been a tug of war for me managing the “responsible” activities in my artist’s life while keeping the creative juices flowing.  It literally feels like I have to pull a lever to switch gears.  Imagine an Oliver Twist-type character in a dark factory with huge-toothed cog wheels near his head while pulling on a steel arm larger than he is tall.  It’s like that.

It is so much so for me that I designate separate days for right brain and for left brain activities allowing the sleep in-between to help the gear switching process.  And since I am my best person when operating from the right side of my brain, I have to routinely deprive myself of creative inspiration on certain days so I can accomplish what feels like the mundane, those left brain life essentials.


In the last several months I have used my paint brush on stretched canvas  rather than sewing cloth to paint more literally rather than abstract.  In doing so, I revisited the concepts of drawing on the right side of the brain. In the classic book of this same title, author Betty Edwards sites the research of psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry. Turns out that the activities of reading, writing and math are left brained and are what is required to post to this blog or any social media for that fact. 

All this highly analytical thought to say that perhaps this is why I have not posted in a while and why I got off most social media.   “They” tell us that the social media programming of intentional interruption is bad for our concentration.  Duh.  But an AH HA Moment occurred for me when I thought of it in terms of the effort required for a right brained person to continually switch the gears back and forth.  This explains a lot.

Words are powerful though and something I still set time aside for.  To speak out loud my inner thoughts is in itself a form of creativity.

NOTE: the left part of our brain is the dominate side where most of the world resides.  Using the right side of the brain requires training and practice which is why it is hard to get there and stay there.

Abstract paint on canvas
Abstract quilting with tiny piecing and even tinier stitching plus felting.
Having fun with folk art paint on canvas

10 thoughts on “Switching Gears: left brain/right brain”

  1. Your first blog to me. I think I appreciate the effort and creativity that has come from both sides of your brain.

  2. What an inspiration you are, Jane! I’m blown away by your prodigious creative and generative force, as well as the beauty of your work, and quality of your writing. Wish I lived closer to be able to come to your Open HouseI
    Sending love, Leslie

  3. Hi Jane! Your right brain/left brain stuff made me slightly dizzy. However, I was glad to know that most of what I do is on the dominant side. I especially liked the lower of your two abstract fabric paintings. I saw a Halloween reference in it even if one was not specifically intended or was it? I continue to get stronger every day and am grateful for that. Happy Fall!!! Walter

    1. Hi Walter! I am pleased that you of all people took the time to read through my piece because you are, indeed, a VERY gifted left brain person! That cat was just out-of-my-head with no intended purpose but, I agree, he looks like he belongs on All Hallows Eve! Glad you are mending…ox Jane

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