Art and Learning

lao body partsI’ve been studying the Lao language, and found drawing diagrams like this has helped me learn vocabulary.  Hearing a word once or reading from a list usually isn’t enough to make a word stick in my head.  It helps if I have an experience based around a new word or phrase to anchor the word in my memory.  Taking the time to draw and label a picture makes me focus on the words for longer and creates a more substantial memory.  Labeling the picture with only the Lao word helps to skip the translation step in my head.  Hopefully this is creates a quicker path to fluency, but at the very least it makes studying into a more enjoyable, creative process and let’s me practice drawing too.

On a similar note, I just watched this TED short video, about how analyzing art could be good practice for developing analytical skills in more practical areas.



My sister is big into bicycling and she just moved to the Northwest and they are big into bicycling, but it’s super rainy there in the winter so everyone bicycles indoors.  I imagine she gets a little bored of staring at the wall while riding for long periods of time.  Gotta make it interesting somehow.

Time spent


I have been attending a loosely structured, weekly drawing group, and I have been impressed by how genuinely nice everyone involved is.  Part of it is just that they are mature people getting together to be social and they are on their best behavior in public.  I also think there is a beneficial, meditative quality to drawing that makes those artists more patient and thoughtful people.

Part of it is flow.  Drawing takes full mental focus to create a good product.  Trying to draw without flow ends within fifteen minutes with a few squiggles on a crumpled piece of paper.  Drawing with flow results in the loss of a few hours, an aching back, and a finished product of a quality that can even surprise the artist.  That amount of focus pushes normal thoughts and stresses out of the mind and something that would normally be boring becomes extremely satisfying.

There’s also something to the progression of the work.  Beginning with a plan, searching for a subject, analyzing the details, and then all the painstaking work of representing an image on paper develops a set of mental skills and consideration that I think are valuable in life.