Using innovative techniques and mixed media, artist Judy Gardner creates sculptural nature-themed images. See more by visiting her website.
My childhood was an excellent hatching ground for a budding artist. My mother was a painter and my grandmother had been a successful book illustrator who moved to California in the 1930’s to work for Disney. I always had good quality art materials. Even my earliest work was treated to intelligent critique.
By the time I was seven or eight, one of my favorite projects was drawing stacks of books set at all sorts of angles to see if I could get the multi-point perspective right. Did I mention that I’m also a little obsessive compulsive?
Fast forward thirty years or so. After finishing up a Masters degree in Fine Art, I suddenly found myself a single mom with three small children to support. I needed a job. In high school, Mom had suggested, “if you learn to type, you’ll always be able to get a job.” I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh Mom, that’s SO 19th Century sexist!” but I took typing anyway.
Turns out, mom was right. I got a job as a typist in a forensic engineering firm. Over the next year, I wrangled that into a position doing computer animation of car accidents for court room exhibits. This may have seemed like an irrelevant diversion from my Fine Art degree, but the universe knows what it’s doing. The programming skills learned in that job provided a major stepping stone for the computer modeling skills needed to make art with a 3D printer—when I got my grubby mitts on one twenty years later.
I once took a test that purported to show if one was dominantly left or right brained. I scored absolutely dead center down the middle. You’d think that this would indicate a brain perfectly in balance. On the contrary, what was going on was a war of epic proportions.
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There were two brains vying for control—one artistic and one analytical. Both were very much aware of each other, and did not like each other in the least.
Left Brain would take control, and there would be a series of tight, photorealistic pencil renderings with scientific accuracy. Then Right Brain would seize the helm, and there would be a series of giant abstract canvasses painted in bright colors with huge sweeping strokes.
Right Brain thought Left Brain’s work was “technically good, but boring.” Left Brain thought Right Brain’s work was “energetic but meaningless.” I was my own worst critic and self-saboteur.
Claudine Jeanrenaud, a dear friend and fellow artist is also a Jungian analyst. One day we were discussing this conundrum and she said, “You’ve collaborated successfully with many artists whose style and work is very different from your own. What would it look like if you collaborated with yourself?”
That question resonated deeply in my soul. It has turned out to be the driving impetus for my work ever since. When you get the technical Left Brain and the impressionistic Right Brain to collaborate, this is what it looks like.
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