My brain and hand are having fun.
It’s been a long time that I allowed myself to have that sort of playful fun with my creativity. Recently, everything has been serious, being a professional artist has meant doing a lot of administrative work, and other not so fun things. In my last post, I mentioned how for nine months straight I was focused on producing just one solo exhibition. As much as that has its own fulfillment, I missed the playful creativity.
Getting Back to Studio Work
In the past couple weeks as I returned to my studio, the first thing that seemed to take shape was a little doodle I started. Initially, it was just something to do to get my brain moving when I found myself stuck on whatever I was working on. It started as one small shape and now it’s mushroomed into something really interesting. I guess the mind has a way of making its way back to what it enjoys.
I’ve shared portions of it in my Instagram stories with my followers. As I was doodling, sometimes, I’ll remember to stop, take a short video, or a photo and share it.
However, the more I returned to the doodle, the more I wondered about what was going on. Because let me tell you. I returned to that doodle a lot. For whatever reason, my brain was finding comfort there. Getting back into the rhythm of studio work again after a break wasn’t going as fast as I’d hoped. And the doodle was helping me not get up and leave. Whenever I felt like leaving, I’ll turn to the doodle. Then after a while of doodling, I’ll get some more ideas for the work I was typing up.
I kept doing this brain and hand dance repeatedly until I got to a point where I could pick myself up and keep going without needing to get back to my doodle. That’s how I was able to get started again creating after a long break. So, like I was saying, I thought this occurrence was interesting. And you know this curious mind of mine. I had to find out more. So, I went to research it.
Researching this Brain and Hand Dance
That’s when I came across an article in Psychology Today, and the story is so similar to mine, you’ll think we’d talked to each other about our experiences. The author, Dr. Susan Biali Haas writes about the same experience where she discovered that using her hands for various activities helped her brain. She explains that “when we use our hands on a task that doesn’t demand much cognitively, it gives the mind a chance to relax and rest”. As a result,
It’s not uncommon for people to have breakthrough ideas while mindlessly working on something with their hands.Dr. Susan Biali
The thing is the mind can get exhausted. It needs to rest. Using your hands gives your brain the chance to rest, while at the same time allowing your brain to continue problem solving in the background without so much pressure. This is not exclusive to drawing. It works when you use your hands for activities like gardening, knitting or even cleaning.
Also, I found an article that talks about how the hand activates the brain and therefore makes you more creative. I previously discussed this in relationship to journaling and handwriting. When I wrote that previous article, I linked to another one that also talks about the benefits of writing by hand especially cursive writing because it is similar to drawing.
I really believe writing with your hand generates more creative thoughts than typing. I’ve seen it happen over and over again in my life. Yes, sometimes I use my digital notepad for writing down ideas but it’s never the same as mark making with my hands. The quality and quantity of ideas I get from writing with my hand far exceeds what I get when I type. The digital pad is only convenient because of its ability to organize and keep track of changes.
So, when I really need to generate ideas, I always go for paper. Because I’ve learned that my brain and hand love to work together. One takes the lead and allows the other some respite, then they switch places. Like a beautifully choreographed dance, they anticipate each others next move and needs. The result? A creative work of art.
How do you get yourself unstuck? Share your thoughts below.