Edwards begins the chapter with clarifying how most people learn about drawing — only through understanding of the identified object they are drawing. What is also taught, but seldom practiced is the awareness of the negative spaces with the identified object. For example, say a chair. The spaces around the chair are just as important in obtaining the perspective of the object as well as the object itself. It is with this second component of drawing — the negative spaces, she devotes to the reader with three exercises. The first one focuses attention to drawing as one reviews the object, only to become aware of the labeling of the object. Edwards reminds the reader, “it’s much easier to draw what you don’t know than to draw what you know.” The second exercise is focused on a distortion of the labeled image, to give a practice of the reader to notice the reactions one has to the object. Noticing if the observations about the object interfere with the drawing. The third exercise allows the reader to prepare for different modes of perception, and how these may change with the use of questioning.
In chapter 16, Edwards highlights how the one has perceived ideas about how to interpret what they see. She points to how the left brain influences what a person sees and gives the example of one of her students drawing the flag on the wall. The student drew what he perceived as a flag - lines, rectangles, and dots representing stars. Edwards instructed the student to draw the flag two other times, and with each drawing the student’s ability to see the lines, and shapes progressed, from a flat surface to one that had dimension and shadow. She elaborates with other drawing exercises on how the left brain continues with giving optical illusions, as one perceives an image, yet the brain jumps to a conclusion about how something is supposed to be. The author closes the chapter with an example of how the brain “tampers with visual information” which she identifies as “concept consistency.” The figure 16-19, identifies four figures, all the same size, yet when displayed across the page, from one closer to the viewer is smaller, and the one farther away seems larger. She indicates how the brain “decides what to see” even though conceptually, and with the images the same size, the brain perceives the images as different. She suggests to the reader, there will be times when one has to ignore what the brain shares about the evidence one is receiving.
I encourage you to buy a copy of Drawing on the Artist Within for a better understanding of your own creative process. Whether you're a master artist or beginning artist, this is an excellent book.