Left-Handedness and How It Impacts One's Painting Process

**I would be interested in hearing from others who are left-handed, and how it affects them as a painter.**

It's amazing to me after just returning to painting with education via video's to realize the added difficulty I've run into following right-handed painters and applying it to my process. I don't think this occurred to me when I was at our local college learning initially, years ago, for we were pretty much left to our own devices.

People read right to left, and artists paint their flow/motion right to left, with right handed folks, it is natural. For me it has been a struggle that I just identified.

***For instance I tend to paint from left to right. Why? Think about it...Right handed brush wielders can visual see where they are going and it is natural and comfortable to move to the right, as well. A brush in the right hand is relaxed. A brush in the left-hand "pushes" instead of glides while painting/writing, right to left. Consequently, I intuitively want to "see" where I'm going, and have flow from the brush. Try it, you will see what I mean. We lefties adapt, many times without even knowing it.

The problem is sometimes the work doesn't "read" correctly. Sort of reversed in some way. Since this enters my thoughts every time I'm painting now, especially while following video teaching, thought I would put it out there for discussion.




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Comment by Eddie Morris on October 9, 2013 at 16:29

I am left handed and paint in pastels and oils.  I never really gave any thought other than my strokes went in the opposite direction of most paintings where the brush strokes are evident.  I tend to paint right to left without much of an issue.  For small bare branches, I like to lift the brush at the end of the stroke.  For branches on the right, starting at the tip of the branch and moving inward presents a challenge.  I have learned how to do this, but it took me a long time to get the right amount of paint and pressure.  Sometimes I finish these little branches by turning the canvas upside down or sideways.  With my pastels, I have learned to use both hands on certain strokes in order to see what I am doing.  I don't understand what you mean by reading properly.  I have never thought about that as it just the way I paint.  My brushstrokes and pastel strokes tend to move along the contours of the object anyway.  My shading in pencil work is a uniform hatching technique that is opposite a righty.

Over the years, I have moved back on the brush, pencil and pastel, mostly working as far back on the handle as possible.  I can see everything and I like the uniqueness and delicacy of brushwork I have.

Don't worry so much about it and make it part of who you are in your painting style.

Happy painting.

Comment by Ann Turner on October 7, 2013 at 18:08

Thank you for bringing up this topic. I have a sweet lady in my class that is a lefty and it helps her to sit not with the class on a diagonal toward the front but instead she faces the side of the class and looks to the left. I have a hard time helping her with painting corrections because of the backwards slop to the strokes. Any suggestions that would help with the frustration are welcome


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