As an art therapist, I work with many people who find the act of making art unapproachable and intimidating.
I can relate to feeling daunted by a blank piece of paper…and not knowing where to begin.
The non-dominant hand technique is a great way to get started, loosen up and let go of your inhibitions.
Using the non-dominant hand taps into an unconscious place within us—it engages the opposite side of the brain that is normally used for tasks as writing and drawing. When we tap into unfamiliar territory, the mind’s defenses are often lifted, decreasing self-censoring and control. This unraveling of defenses creates access to deeply rooted feelings, memories and experiences.
Since humans’ sense of sight develops long before our understanding of language, we store many early memories as images; the art making process can be a powerful means towards learning about and exploring our deepest sense of self.
Listen to this song (or any song that inspires you) while drawing something with your non-dominant hand. If you are a righty, use your left hand and vice versa. Use a pencil.
Let the music inspire your hand to move with a sense of ease and freedom, without thinking too much.
After a minute or so of drawing with your non-dominant hand, stop and put the pencil down.
Rotate the drawing and study it from all angles until you find an image within your lines that you connect to.
Using whatever materials and colors you’d like, embellish and develop the image that you find. Feel free to erase or cover up pencil lines that are not part of your image.
When you are done with your drawing, take a few moments to observe it. Write down whatever comes to mind with the intention of learning more about yourself. If a memory or feeling is sparked, write about it. Feel free to ask your artwork questions and have a dialogue with your image.
FYI: About 85 percent of the population is right-handed. The right hand, when writing and drawing, stimulates the left side of the brain, which is characterized as linear, logical and task-oriented. On the other hand, (quite literally), lefties activate the right side of the brain, which is known for abstract thinking, creativity and expressiveness.
Jessie Groveman has a true passion for healing and all things life enhancing. She is living proof that living a healthy, holistic and balanced life does not mean sacrificing fun, glamour and adventure. Jessie feels that one’s life and body is a work of art that deserves to be nurtured, loved and catered to. With a masters degree in art therapy from NYU, a yoga teaching certification from Kripalu, and an Urban Zen Integrative Therapy certification, Jessie combines her passion for creative arts with yoga, aromatherapy, meditation and various healing modalities to create a unique wellness session that nurtures the mind, body and spirit. Check out her website to learn more.
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Ed: Bryonie Wise