Sunday, 31 October 2010

Sinister goings on, or to put it another way, are you a South-paw?

Credit: Alex Zonis (Pencil Scribbles)
An interesting fact, which I did not know, is the word 'sinister' comes from the Latin sinestra which means left handed - as it was considered evil back in ancient times to be left handed.  Once upon a time in Japan being a left handed wife was grounds for divorce - although wouldn't the husband have noticed that before he married her?? Also if I'd been born in the middle ages chances are I would have been burnt at the stake or drowned for being a witch. 

Driving home the other evening, I was listening to BBC Radio 2 (I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm officially too old to listen to Radio 1 any longer - it's just all noise!).  Anyway, Chris McManus, a psychologist who has written a book called Left Hand Right Hand was on talking about about whether genetics determine if you will be left or right handed and the fact that although in the minority, there are enough left handed people (of which I am one) around to indicate that it is something more than just random (as otherwise we should all have died out along the way from natural selection as opposed to being accused of witchcraft!)
Anyway, he went on to say that studies showed that left handed people appear to have an affinity for mathematics. Well, I had to resit my maths O'level so either I'm the exception to the rule or it really is just a matter of chance and nothing to do with what hand we write with.  He also said that the notion that left handed people had a greater propensity for genius was something put about by left handers and not actually based in reality!

However an American scientist, Dr Alan Searleman back in 2000 stated that "Left-handers have a higher 'fluid' intelligence and better vocabulary than the majority of the population. This is perhaps why there are more of them in creative professions, such as music, art and writing." - Now that's more like it.  Although he did also say we tend to be more forgetful, clumsy and have a shorter life span!

I had heard before that left handers were supposed to be more creative and finally I'll get to the point of this post - just out of interest I wondered how many of the other arty crafty people who read this blog (or may stumble upon it by chance) might be left handed.

It was also a good opportunity to use the amazing picture above which I found recently when I came across Alex Zonis who is a fellow artist also taking part in the Sketchbook Project.  The theme she picked is 'A day in the life' and her sketches (a totally inadequate word when you actually see these amazing drawings) are of different people in her neighbourhood.  They are absolutely outstanding and you can pop over to Alex's blog, Pencil Scribbles to have a look for yourself. 

I saw this painting of the hands on her blog and at first I genuinely thought it was a photograph. I think it is amazingly detailed and just stunning.  So I asked Alex if she would mind me using it as an illustration to this post and she kindly said yes.  Oh, and Alex is right handed - which probably blows my left-handed artist theory right out of the water!!

So, just out of interest I'd love to know - are you a leftie or a righty?? 


  1. I'm a lefty too!!!!
    I do believe everything they say about how left-handed brains work differently from right-handed brains. It makes sense, if your brain can make one hand more dominant than the other, it can also make certain areas more dominant. (in our case areas like creativity and sensitivity.)
    By the way: I thought the hands picture was a photograph too! If that's a painting... it's absolutely the most realistic painting I've ever seen!

  2. Hi Katherine - yay, you're clearly outstandingly artistic and articulate so that's one for the lefties!!

  3. My ears are burning here, you made me sound like a real professional artist... The painting of hands did come out better than I expected. It is titled "To love and to hold", BTW. In its reduced for the blog size it hides the tell-tails of watercolor, but when enlarged to near its real size the brush marks are visible.

    I am honored you have found my piece interesting enough to illustrate your thoughts here. Hugs!

  4. I'm a righty, but I hang out with a lot of lefties. When my husband's grandmother was growing up, her teacher made her switch writing hands because she was left handed. She is no longer "sinister," she is ambidextrous!

    Amazing sketch. I totally thought it was a photo too!

  5. I'm a righty. But I do think lefties are more creative. My brother-in-law was a lefty, but he too, had to switch in school. The nuns would yell at him if he tried to use his left hand!

  6. fascinating! I'm not left handed but I'm raising a lefty and I think he's a math guy. And so's my lefty brother and lefty father-in-law. hmmm...

  7. I'm a lefty trapped in a righty's body...I think. I'm more creative and I'm a thinker(although I'm no genius).

    I will go and check Alex's blog now.

    Have a good night!

  8. Howdy,

    I'm both! Ambidexterous, that is...I'm classified as right-handed but I do almost everything with my left hand except:

    eating with chopsticks
    sewing and needlework

    I write and print with both hands, golf with both hands (I use lefty and righty golf clubs)paint with both hands.

    I also use both sides of my brain equally - I love science, math(algebra), music and literature/poetry, but I'm also an artist, musician and enjoy designing with geometric shapes! I love working with beads in my jewelry!

    Like your post - you've inspired me to take a poll, too - Righty, Lefty of Ambi?


Your comments always colour me happy! Thank you for popping by.


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