Creating art lets the left brain rest

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Kris Haas is having another artist reception to sell her art and raise funds for her USA Projects fundraiser on June 22nd. I’ll be in Olympia with the crew filming Dani for the documentary. I hope everyone reading this who can get there will go! Details on this public Facebook event page.

Abstract paintings on displayon the wall, resting on a table, or stacked. Images show rich, dark colors, vibrant lines and spheres, and splashes.

Lynn Keating and I met in school to become speech therapists. She actually got to do it for a few years, and I never got to start. It’s wonderful how she uses her role as a teacher in the field to raise awareness of disability justice. That is a major goal of my art and the presentations I give. Go team! Check out snippets below of a gorgeous conversation between Kris and Lynn meeting for the first time at Kris’s receptin on June 9th.

Two women in profile are talking. Between them are abstract paintings on the wall. One woman has a dark hat pulled down over her eyes.

Lynn: So one of my goals also is to make people with disabilities more visible, more out there and show that we have strengths as well. And we contribute to the diversity of society and make it interesting and offer different points of view.

Kris: We want people to see us now. I know I have this disability, but let’s get rid of the “dis” cuz I have this ability to do this. It may not be in society’s norm, but it’s still valuable.

Lynn: I was a speech pathologist, and I teach classes now at Portland State University after sustaining a head injury. And so I have a unique opportunity to talk to students about the experience before they become speech pathologists and help them see us as not just the disability. Cuz you know sometimes as people interested in rehabilitation, we get so focused on the disorder and rehab and what to do. I really want people to see us as people with strengths. With some accommodations, we can do many, many things.

Kris: That’s true. And I think Cheryl’s actually been, I’ll hear her say something close to that, and I’ll remember it. It’s like, yeah. That’s true. This is actually more valuable than the work I did selling doors and windows. Yeah, it has more value to a community. And it’s because of the brain injury that I can’t do the other. So now I’ve got this. And so yeah, we need a few things here, help. But give us a chance. I know I’ve got all these things to do, and I can’t, I can only get, my mind can only get to like one or two. But there’s probably like ten more. And I just sometimes get so frustrated. It’s like, OK, I can’t do it. Before, I’d be oh, no problem. You know, I could be little miss Energizer Bunny and working the job, doing the artwork.

Lynn: Yeah. Aw, it’s so frustrating.

Kris: Yeah, but I’m getting there. I remember once Dr. Erb making a comment, if your brain is really hurting, and your symptoms are severe and you can’t lie down cuz it’s so severe, go down and paint. Cuz I told her I must’ve done that one time. I remember doing that just to get my mind off of it. And I would notice.

And actually Cheryl one time when she came over within the last couple months, she was starting to get tired. And then but at one point, you know, OK, you’re gonna paint now. But her energy came back up. You’re not using that left brain. You’re not using the analytical. You’re not having to remember. You’ve got this piece of paper and these paints in front of you and just let it go. It’s a different kind of language. It’s a visual language.

Lynn: Oh, so when you’re painting, you say you’re using your right brain. So your left brain can rest, and its–Oh, that’s so cool.

Kris: I don’t have to think about anything.

Lynn: Yeah.

Kris: I’m focused on just this thing right here. And it’s like everything else kinda seems just to melt away. And then I, oh, 30 minutes later? I mean, the symptoms are still there, but they’ve calmed down, definitely. That was the cool thing that I realized and understood about the creating, and I’ve got something to show for it.

Lynn: I know, I need to find something like that.

Kris: Well! We can have her over to my studio!

Lynn: We’re such a left-brain culture, and I, in particular, am more left brain than the typical person in our culture.

Kris: That’s why it would be good to have her over in the studio!

Lynn: I would love to come.

Kris: Because there are no rules, except for don’t squirt all the paint on the floor!

Lynn: I could do that.