Switched at Birth

Yes, I sometimes do joke about being “switched at birth”, but not in the way people usually use that term. And for me, the “switch” came a bit later. If you’ve been following me here and have read the post about “making my mark“, you already know what I’m talking about. If not, I’ll give a quick explanation. As a child, I was “switched” from using my left hand to using my right.

I’m guessing that this switching process started the first time I reached for a toy and my concerned grandfather noticed which hand I was using. Being a product of another time, he truly believed that being left-handed was a sign of something very bad. I would, he explained, grow up to become a criminal and would spend my life in jail if I kept using my left hand. I know how crazy that sounds today, but he truly believed this.

Enough said.

The end result was that I do write with my right hand. Consequently when I began learning to draw, I picked up a pencil and drew with my right hand. But from time to time, I do switch and draw a few things with my left. The same with painting.

Dawn, from Brush of Dawn Oil Paintings recently asked me if I might switch over and start painting entirely with my left hand now.  Vicki Hutchins asked the same thing. I do think my brain is too muddled between right and left to make a permanent switch, but at the same time I know it does feel comfortable to hold a brush in my left hand. So I’ll just keep going on as I have, back and forth, painting right-handed one day, left-handed the next.

For what it’s worth, here is one of my “southpaw” paintings:

Another SPP

So, will I be painting left-handed? Yes. Will I be painting right-handed? Yes. It depends on what I’m working on, how I’m feeling, and what medium I’m using.

I’m curious now, though. Are there any other artists out there reading this blog whose experiences are similar to mine? Does anyone else switch back and forth? Who are the “southpaws” among us?

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About Judith

Author, artist, and an independent consultant for Perfectly Posh. I enjoy sharing my thoughts and interests through blogging and invite you to visit my sites.

56 comments

  1. How clever that you can paint with both! I love the fact that the medium and your mood dictate your painting mode.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I like that painting! Well done, Judith! As in most things, I’m a weirdo. I’m the youngest of nine and was born a lefty. The two youngest in our family are lefties. I write and draw and paint with my left hand and do everything else with my right. I married a leftie and our daughter is right handed. Go figure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful paintings with either paws! I would imagine it would be difficult switching hands when you’ve used your right most of the times. All the more reason to applaud your work, amazing!😎

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have heard of such things about being forced to switch 😦 so sorry about that! But….on the happy note, here you have the ability to paint with either hand! cool…..I am only a right handed painter. In our family there is a south paw and she is very artistic. Very interesting…..are you aware of approaching your painting differently when you do paint with your left?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting question, Margaret. No, I don’t feel that my approach is any different, really, although sometimes I think I feel a little less “inhibited” when I’m painting left-handed. I think I’m “looser” and more willing to let the paint do its own thing instead of trying to control it. My husband mentioned this morning that maybe I should just put a brush in each hand. I haven’t tried doing two brushes at once. Now, that might get interesting! I might have to do that when I’m playing around with abstract paintings.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I was born a lefty, however, everyone in my family was right handed. I do everything with my right hand except eat and write/paint. 🙂 I like how you can paint with both.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Fun fact: I am a lefty.

    It does tend to be aggravating at times (you get lead on your hand sometimes while writing, for example). But hey, part of the ten percent that way!

    Liked by 1 person

    • And using a fountain pen is almost out of the question! All in all, I’m glad I’m able to write with my right-hand for all the “convenience” that offers, but trying to do anything else right-handed is really awkward. Don’t you think lefties tend to be creative individuals? Especially in art. I do see a lot of left-handed artists.

      Liked by 1 person

      • There do seem to be lots of left-handed artists! Some of them were famous ones! (Like Picasso and da Vinci)

        I myself do try to do some art, but anything I’ve painted or drawn looks rather flat or lifeless. I don’t know if that’s just my style, or if I need some classes…

        Liked by 1 person

      • I could never draw. And then last summer I decided I was going to teach myself how. I’ve come a long way in a year. There are some great “how-to” books, so if you have a desire to create art, just jump in and join me on the journey!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. dawnmarie

    Ummm…I don’t know if you want to hear this or not…but your south paw versions look like it came natural to you. The flow is different than usual. I don’t know if it is because you have been practicing with water colors in general and everything is just clicking or if it is the hand, at any rate, great job.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m a leftie all the way! Can’t do a dang thing with my right hand 🙂 Your painting is so lovely Judith! Keep on painting south paw!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice painting. I am left handed too, but I play squash with my right hand. The other night I was painting a gesso coat onto board and suddenly realized I was using my right hand!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beautiful, beautiful landscape! What a neat skill to be able to paint ambidextrously. I’m a righty all the way, but I play piano, so I feel like my left hand is strong in a lot of ways. This makes me want to try painting with my left to see what happens! Lovely work!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow, this is fascinating. I am not a lefty, but I do use my left hand to draw sometimes. Reading this post makes me realize that I haven’t done so in a while so maybe it’s time to switch. If it feels natural to use your left hand, or as you do it more often you find that you are regaining a sense of your natural handedness, you may find that it sharpens your visual sense given that visual cognition is weighted toward the right hemisphere.

    That was the reason why I began drawing with my left hand; it was to purposely involve the visual cortex “more.” I have been drawing a long time and am a very visual person by now, but I do still notice a difference. Also because the left is my non-dominant hand, I find that I grant myself more latitude when I draw with it. I have less fine motor control with the left hand anyway, so I figure why not just “have at it.” I’m consequently more forgiving in left-hand drawings and therefore less prickly about them, etc. It all wends toward freedom and that’s a good thing overall.

    Being left handed suggests that you have some natural advantages in art. I hope that you are able to discover and enjoy them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes it seems like a blessing, other times it seems like a clumsy curse to be more-or-less ambidextrous now. I’m sure my brain is mixed-up, so I do whatever “feels right” at any given moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think everybody’s brain gets mixed up sometimes. I know mine does. For me, nothing mixes me up more than math. I am practically innumerate.

        Liked by 1 person

      • For me, it’s mostly geography. I do all right in math, although I really don’t like geometry. That’s been a big problem in trying to do any sort of architectural drawing. I get frustrated when I have to worry about angles and precise measurements.

        Like

      • You have outlined the problem in your description — the worry. Eliminate that and it goes more smoothly.

        I never learned perspective — that is one area of art I have never explored. For certain kinds of things, perspective is essential too. Vermeer’s floor tiles are created through perspective drawing. Mine are more akin to Pierre Bonnard’s tiles.
        But even in drawing buildings, which I have done a little though rarely, there’s a lot that you can get via freehand drawing. For that extra precision that comes from perspective, I just figure that’s not my thing!
        For freehand drawing — for the kind of cognition that’s about “I see it/I draw it” you probably have some natural ability via the left handedness. So isn’t that terrific?! Many things ahead to explore.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, that’s why I love art. I’ll never run out of things to learn and explore. I’ve discovered that what I really enjoy most is figure drawing — something I never expected. I’m studying art anatomy now and loving it. I like doing landscapes, too, as long as they don’t include buildings. Like you, I know having that extra precision just isn’t “my thing”. I spent the first six months of my learning working only in black and white. I was really excited when I first started doing colored pencil drawings and then learned about oil and soft pastels. I’m discovering now how much there is to know about color theory. I love Pierre Bonnard’s art, by the way. Now, he’s shown the world some beautiful colors. What I’m finding most odd, though, is that the things I like in other people’s art don’t necessarily reflect things I want in my own art. Of course, I’m still too new to have any real style of my own or even know exactly what I want to do as an artist, but I’m figuring it out bit by bit, and that’s all part of the journey, too. Yes, there’s a lot to explore, and that’s a great thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. I was trying to draw my front door once years ago and having a lot of trouble. So I whipped out one of my books on Bonnard and looked at how he made the door in one of his Le Cannet pictures. After I looked at Bonnard’s picture I was able to draw my door. It wasn’t perspective that I needed (the door I drew is out of square no doubt): it was a sense about how the whole structure of the door as drawing functioned in relation to the color and to the page. I knew I wanted about as much door as Bonnard had provided so it was a question of figuring out how he was thinking about it via his painting. Stuff like that can help enormously. Other artist’s works teach you things about what to notice, what to ignore relative to a particular situation, relative to what you want.

    I was comparing his door with my actual door. Then I drew it easily.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good way to learn. I’ll remember that. I did a door-drawing project a while back, and what a headache I got. I finally drew the door — with correct proportions — but I don’t ever want to go through that much frustration again, especially not for something as (relatively) simple as a door!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Love the painting Judith! And hooray for being about the use both hands for drawing and painting. Its such a special gift! I’m primarily right handed but can legibly write with my left. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My FIL got switched at birth so he wrote with his right and used his left for everything else. So glad people don’t do kids that way now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I’m glad people are more accepting of “lefties” these days. I still write with my right hand, but that’s about the only thing I can do.

      Like

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