Friday, May 20, 2011
My amygdala made me do it!
On my channel surfing safari the other night, I came upon a program about the brain. I learned all this stuff in Psych 1A, most of which is now in the personal trash basket somewhere in the nether regions of my being, but I did remember feeling particularly sympatico with the amygdala. It is part of the reptile brain, the one underneath all that superb frontal and prefrontal cortex that is our species organ. In it live the emotions. Yes, I love my amygdala, because it lets me feel so magnificently. Why, only yesterday, I was in tears over Rachmaninoff's 2nd Piano Concerto, a piece of music I first heard over 50 years ago. Yet I can still be moved. Of course, my amygdala has also gotten me into lots of trouble over the years, especially when the higher functions of my brain are restrained by a whole big bunch of booze. And wouldn't you know it, it was that stinking amygdala I was trying to shut down! Whatever is going on in there today, I am pretty sure the amygdala is no longer in charge of my actions. Unless I am working at my art. It may be a poor little weinie talent, but it lives at the core of my emotions. When I am there, higher functions do not serve me. In fact, they make things too neat, so that I cannot love them. My heart loves a big colorful mess of a painting, with just enough explaining to make sense of what I want to portray. Perhaps the day will come when higher functions will not even need that. Ah, I think I am on to something here. Meanwhile, the bird opus continues. I am aiming for a dozen bird paintings, and will probably need to do twenty to get the twelve I will like. This is number seven, still in the works. New paper, more tooth, interesting effects. Lots of fun. Have learned that I need to unwrap and break up my sticks of pastel so I can scrape the color on with the side. They are not precious objects, my pastel sticks. They are tools.