A Reader Sees the World with a New Perspective

I recently received an email from a reader who lives in Germany, which I am happy to share here. 

Message:

Dear Dr. Edwards,

At the end of 2016 when my baby son was one year old I started to draw. Luckily, I found your book and leaned according to your instructions and philosophy. It really helped me to see and to draw.

With full respect and high appreciation I wrote about you and your book in my Blog: Hui Portrait. I will also translate it into German and I really hope that everyone finds out about you and your books. You didn’t only teach me to draw but also gave me the chance to see the world with a totally new perspective!

Thank you! I really hope to meet you in person one day. In the meantime, I hope I can at least spread your philosophy!

Your Student, Hui W-S

The Benefits of Art Therapy for Cancer Patients

"Therapy can be an important way to talk about how it feels to have cancer, to express negative emotions, and to learn comping strategies. Art therapy is particularly useful for expressing emotions that are tough to verbalize. The creative process can be a healing process, especially when led by a trained and professional art therapist." ... Read more.

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The Resilience of Art and Artists

This is an inspiring story from the Los Angeles Times, of an artist who lost most of his life’s work in the recent California fires:  Artist John Wullbrandt, Carpinteria.  Here is a link to his own website: http://www.wullbrandt.com/

The artist at work in 2010.

After so much loss, he told the reporter: "Gone, all of this gone," he says, sweeping his hand across the landscape depicted in the painting.

But with loss comes new life.

"It really will be like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes, the rebirth," Wullbrandt says. "It will be so much more beautiful once it starts to rejuvenate. We're gonna see wildflowers we haven't seen in 100 years."  Then Wullbrandt gazes up at a mountain ridge in the distance, now a thin, ash-gray paint stroke on the horizon.

"The spring — just wait. As an artist, I can't wait to paint it."

We wish him all the best as he starts anew to paint what he sees.

Why Can't Drawing Skills Be Part of a Medical Education?

As the article below describes, there is a new trend at leading university medical schools, including Harvard, Yale, Penn State, Columbia, and the University of Texas at Austin.  They are incorporating art classes into medical education.  Since skill in perception—seeing what is ailing in patients—is universally recognized as important in medical analysis and treatment, this is a welcome development. 

Students from Dr. Michael Flanagan's class "Impressionism and the Art of Communication" at Penn State College of Medicine.

What is curious about the trend is that the rock-bottom, basic entry skill in perceptual training—that is, drawing—is completely ignored and excluded.  Instead, medical students gather in museums to observe and analyze paintings, try reproducing famous paintings from only a verbal description, develop verbal hypotheses about an artist’s intent in a given painting, and learn how to do comics to develop storytelling skills.

If the goal is as stated—that doctors need to develop observational skills as well as bias awareness and empathy—then why not just teach them how to draw?  Years ago, I gave a presentation to a national group of plastic surgeons, hoping to convince them that drawing portraits of their patients before and after surgery would have positive effects on their craft.  Alas, for the most part I failed to convince them, and to this day, at least to my knowledge, plastic surgeons are not required to learn perceptual skills through drawing.  What a shame!

~  Betty Edwards

The following article is from The Artsy Podcast No. 47, August 21, 2017:  Medical Schools & Art Classes

Seeing the World Through a Different Lens

This month, my son, Brian Bomeisler, taught a 5-day intensive drawing workshop in La Jolla. Michael K. MacNeill and Caroline MacNeill Hall, participated, and later posted about it on their blog,  Life Reinspired.  

Brian reported: "Not only was the view spectacular from the top floor of the hotel overlooking La Jolla Shores beach, but the group did spectacularly well in the drawing workshop.  Often my groups personally bond through the experience of learning to draw, but that was even more true with this group."

You can read about their experience in Michael's charming post: Seeing the World Through a Different Lens.  Thank you, Michael and Caroline, for contributing to another great 5-Day DRSB Workshop!  We are so glad you gained so much from the experience.

~ Betty Edwards

How to Find the Best Drawing Pencil

For those of our readers who may find art supply stores baffling in their complex offerings, a British reader of our blog, Olivier Jennes, has generously allowed us to publish the link to his detailed and valuable research on pencils.  This blog article by Jennes provides succinct descriptions and evaluations of a variety of pencil brands and manufacturers.  This information can save you endless time and lots of money in seeking the brand of pencil that is right for you, and, conversely avoiding buying the wrong brand.

Olivier's review of pencils is based on feedback from artists around the world, and I personally agree with his descriptions of the pencils with which I am familiar.

~ Betty Edwards

P.S.  If you need drawing supplies, click HERE to see what we have to offer in our DRSB Store.  Pencils and more!

 

 

Before-and-After Drawings from an Artist in Costa Rica

One of the special pleasures of this blog is the chance to communicate with people around the world.  Janid Alfaro from Costa Rica wrote to me recently, and sent some impressive before-and-after drawings.  With her permission, I reproduce them here, and our correspondence.  ~ Betty

Date: Friday, May 19, 2017
Subject: Before and After, Janid Alfaro

Hello!  My name is Janid Alfaro and I live in Costa Rica (Central America). Many years ago (in the 1990s), I improved my skills in drawing using the Betty Edwards method “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” when I took my classes at college.  I studied graphic design. 20 years later, I am an experienced graphic designer, but never practiced my drawing again and I really missed it.  So a year ago, I bought the 4th Edition of the book and decided that I will learn to draw again.  I followed the method, step-by-step, and it took me some time, but I finished it a few days ago; so, I would like to share the result with you … 

I am really thankful to Mrs. Edwards, because I think she is a really smart and committed person and her method helped me to find myself again in one of the most beautiful and gratifying activities of my life since I have memory, because I used to draw and use coloring books all the time since I was a little girl.

As you can see in the attachments, I need to practice more (obviously), but I think the improvement is evident.

Best regards from Costa Rica and God bless you all!

P.S. My English writing is limited, so I hope you forgive me for any mistakes!

El 20 may. 2017, Betty Edwards  escribió:

Dear Janid,

Thank you so much for sending me your email and your “before and after” drawings.  It makes me so happy to see how much your drawing skills improved from working through the exercises in my book.  Drawings 2 and 3 show such an ease in drawing your perceptions, especially in fine details of eyes, nose and mouth, but, moreover, excellent understanding of the relationships in size and placement of these features.  Furthermore, it is clear that you have really worked on your perceptions of lights and shadows—they are quite beautiful.

Being able to learn (or in your case, to improve) drawing skills by following instructions in a book is often regarded as difficult: many people really need a teacher to guide them through the exercises.  But every once in a while, I hear from someone like you, Janid, who manages to learn directly from my book, and I am just charmed by that.

I would love to post your letter and your drawings on our blog, www.drawright.com, if that would be OK with you.  I feel sure others would be encouraged by your experience, and also, it is such fun to receive a letter from Costa Rica.  I have seen many photos of Costa Rica, but have never visited your beautiful country.

With every best wish,

Betty Edwards

 

Sent: Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dear Mrs. Edwards: 

I am SO HAPPY that you answer me, and so soon!  I admire you SO MUCH!!!!  You´re not seeing me right now, but I have a big smile in my face and my heart is beating sooo fast.  I would feel really honored if you post my letter and drawings on your blog, of course, because I would love to share my experience with others.

I hope you can visit Costa Rica some time, because you have at least a fan here (me!), so, if you like, I would be happy to meet you and take you to know some places (like a volcano) and/or share a cup of our coffee, of course ;) You´ll be always welcome here and I promise you´ll have a lot of fun, because we are a really friendly country.

Now I´m working with your book “Color”, it will take me some time, because I just started to read two days ago, but when I finish it I´ll share my results with you, too.

Thank you so much for take your time and respond my email, I can´t tell you how much I appreciate it and means to me. 

God bless you always.  Janid Alfaro 

 

Sent: Sunday, May 21, 2017

Dear Janid,

Your email gives me such pleasure—I, too, have a big smile on my face.  Thank you for letting us put your letter and drawings on our blog.  Yours is my first communication from Costa Rica.  I would so love to visit, but I’m afraid my traveling days are over.  Thank you for your hospitable invitation.  Next time I fix myself a cup of coffee, I’ll think of you.

Do let me know if any questions come up about color.  It’s pretty complicated, but I have tried to be clear in my book.  Taking it step-by-step is the best way.

With cordial regards,

Betty Edwards