Years ago there was a book published called “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”. It posited, no–reported that persons with no artistic bent could replicate an image were they to copy it while viewing it upside down. This process disconnects the over-thinker left brain and engages the right brain. Upside down the brain does not identify the object being copied as a recognized whole, as pictorial, and so the brain switches on its analytic left brain to just copy lines and curves rather than an identifiable image one would see looking at the image right-side up. I use this technique regularly in my painting, usually in the painting of faces. Any icon painter, or any artist will tell you that faces are the most challenging to complete so that they appear realistic. In the case of icon painting where one works with a prototype that has been condensed to a line drawing, the painter’s task is to then recreate the realistic image from only those spartan lines giving the data for recreating this complex image. One can work for days on only the face, only to scrape off one’s work to begin again because something is not quite right. Taking regular breaks from the painting helps one to identify areas needing shadows, larger eyes, a more sculpted mouth. But when all else fails, I turn the prototype and the painting I am working on upside down.
Any professor of literature will tell you that. And eventually a trained artist begins to see that as well. It is a law of the universe that one must follow; a sort of microcosmic, quantum view of the minutiae that one must get right to remain true to an image. Einstein said “God is in the details”, and Einstein was right. Viewing a prototype upside down is now a technique I employ regularly when I paint an icon.
Life teaches us the same lessons again and again. The laws remain the same, regardless of discipline. And life follows the same laws as well. In this case, the law of opposites–the yin and the yang, the male and the female, the logic and the imagination. All you have to do is welcome a new perspective.