Select Page

Artist statement  – Mind Drawing

A Mind Drawing is a detailed picture in which lines can be read in more than one way. This may cause two people looking at the same work to give totally different answers when asked what they see.

The term, ‘Mind Drawing’, describes the artist while creating the art and it also applies to the viewer when regarding the finished picture. It is a lot like seeing shapes and pictures in clouds or on bathroom walls or floors.


Each view and interpretation of the marks is valid. How could it not be? It’s what the individual sees. Each of us finds our own meanings in what we perceive in the world around us. And it is through differences in how people see that misunderstandings may arise.

Oftentimes people are not aware that others may not actually see as they do. This is where Mind Drawings are extremely valuable. They provide opportunities to show people we don’t all see the same way. Once we are aware of that possibility, we can use our words to more effectively improve communication.

When I began making Mind Drawings, I was exploring the effect context, scale and orientation had on how we see. I had been playing with this in another style that I called, ‘Boxed Art’, which uses displacement, rearrangement and photography.

boxed-art-2 boxed-artI was interested in lines formed from the juxtaposition of objects. Through drawing, I was able to explore this further and to look at new textures and shading that were created, but were seen better from different distances. I want to explore this further and to gain more control over   my development and placement of these effects to create layered images within the same picture.

Image result for jennilivins

I was also fascinated by the use of minimal and often incomplete lines that the mind completed to create a picture; and especially interested in forming two pictures from a single line, with each being apparent as you focused on one side of the line or another.

Mind Drawing 2 faces from 1 line + book

This developed to creating several pictures on different planes that shared the same lines. Anyone who has seen my Mind Drawings will know that the shapes that most often appear in these lines are faces, though my Mind Drawings are also known for the four-leafed clover that I hide in each completed Mind Drawing, just before I sign it.

Image result for jennilivins

This inclusion has probably been influenced by seeking Jeff Hook’s hidden hook in his cartoons in The Sun when I was in grade 5. (Thank you, Mr Ewan Pollock, for bringing your newspaper into the class room each morning.)

I did not set out to produce the ambiguous effects of negative and positive spaces that first showed me the differences in how people see, but it is something I am trying to recreate in my new works; however, I have found the resulting images can look a bit contrived or a little distorted and strange. I look forward to working on this and maybe mastering it.


I say maybe, because I’m not entirely sure I want to be in control of all the marks I make. It seems counter to the whole Mind Drawing process where much of the image is produced in a happenstance fashion.

Therein lies part of the challenge for me, as I embark on any collection of works on a particular theme. I need to represent the subjects, icons and issues of the theme, while allowing my hand to make the subconscious marks in which I shall find the shapes I need to embellish. It’s a bit like being simultaneously awake and asleep. I have been known to sleepwalk and to act out my dreams, so I suppose that shouldn’t be too hard for me!