Out of My Mind Again! Art- My Favorite Drug of Choice

By September 18, 2013Uncategorized

Have you ever had an out of body experience?  I just did.  I passed a very long 9 hour flight without the need to sleep despite getting up at 3 AM in Athens.  I’m a little fatigued, but during the flight I completed a few small watercolor sketches in my travel journal, and did some writing.  So fun! I was really “in the zone”.  Either that, or once again,  I was out of my mind!


Octopus on the line…Scala Sykaminia
Remembering Manh Manh Restaurant in Athens…OHPAH!!
Note to self: sketching is probably best done on smooth paper…
this one done on rough paper is an illustration of why =)

Windmills of Chios- a must see!  You can eat dinner there as the sun sets…just lovely!

If you’re as old as I am, you may remember that old Calgon Bath commercial.  The catch phrase was,  “Calgon, take me away….!” Good old Calgon Bath products never had that effect on me, though if I had enjoyed them this way, perhaps they might have!  

If you’re old enough to remember that commercial, you may also remember the natural child-birth technique called Lamaze.  Breathing was at the heart of the Lamaze method and I relied on for all 4 of our children’s births.  It really worked.  

That was the first time I remember being transported mentally in a remarkable way without chemical assistance.  I always thought of Lamaze as self-hypnosis, and a way of going “somewhere else” in your head while all hell was breaking loose with your body.  

That feeling is not just available through chemicals or hypnosis.  Music can also transport me.  Playing music can be a quick way to lose a few hours once I settle in and get engaged.  

Sports can also take me there.  Being an athlete all my life, I’ve had times when I’ve played “out of my mind”.  My hand and eye were incredibly connected.  When this happened my entire being was on fire and I was doing things I could not believe possible.  Everything worked and was in sync. I was in the zone.  It was the best!  If you’re an athlete, you may have also experienced something similar.  I don’t think I’m that special…I just think it’s part of the human experience.  

Those times are incredible, and sometimes I feel myself in that same kind of head space while “in the zone” doing art.  Every artist who has seriously spent time focused on their artwork has felt some version of this phenomena.  Time slips away, you’re focused and ideas are flowing.  You see more and more clearly, perceive more and more discerningly.  Associations come, ideas flow, and you may even forget to eat, drink, or sleep.  Concentration is keen, and yet you are not on edge.  It’s a calm and centered mental place to dwell.  In her book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards calls this mental state, Right-Brain Mode.

Having grown up in the generation before the “just say No” era, I confess to having personally had a motto of “just say Yes” to a whole lot of things that would prevent me from running for political office.  Having sampled a few wares of the legal and illegal sort,  I can report to those of you who may have made other choices, that nothing compares to the “high” I feel from art. ART is my new drug of choice.  

I have had conversations with a few of my friends who write as their means of expression.  They report a similar feeling when they are focused and feeling especially creative.  Betty Edwards encourages writers to do a sketch prior to writing as a means of focusing their creative centers and starting up that sense of flow.  The idea is, that once you begin the Right-Brain Mode, you can transition to writing and ride the wave of creativity a little more easily. 

Have any of you had this feeling?  I’d love to hear about your experiences..comment here if you would like to share.

Rebecca Zdybel
Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
Art Lessons in all media
Myrtle Beach, SC

Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art!

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Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at http://www.artmyrtlebeach.com/

Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at ArtMyrtleBeach.com.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Eileen Gillepie says:

    Hi Becky…I experienced the "in the zone" feeling you describe each time I began preparing my classroom and lessons, when I was teaching Kindergarten…Alone, in the quiet of my empty classroom, I felt as though I were both director and choreographer, creating an awesome daily, weekly, and monthly "open ended" play for the children and I to be part of…

  • rzdybel says:

    Eileen, Thanks for your comment…I can absolutely imagine your creative juices flowing as you planned your days in the classroom. I think that's why so many teachers find their way to art later in life. Teachers are inherently creative, and have to be to survive!! Have you ever tried painting as an outlet, or tried any other art as a means of tapping into your creative self?