I’ve put together a few sentences about how we read a painting or drawing from left to right. As a left-handed (keggy wifter) printmaker, who very often gets left and right mixed up, I’ve been giving this some thought.
I (try to) speak and write English. The script runs from left to right on the page as it does in many European languages. I think this has a huge influence on how we ‘read’ an image. I'm definitely not the first to notice this.
A lot of my printed work is of the local wildlife here in south Wales. Often there is one main animal within the image and they are usually are facing the left or the right.
So if the Fox is heading towards the left, he is coming towards you. I tend to read this as ‘Oh Mr. Fox, what a surprise’ as he runs past.
If the fox is heading towards the right hand side of the picture you are travelling in the same direction. Now it’s more, ‘hallo Mr. Fox, where are we going together?’
During the process of lino printing the image is reversed on the block. I tend to design an image for printing and then reverse it, before tracing it onto the lino for cutting.
I’ve noticed some designs have a very different impact and meaning when they are reversed. Often the image on the lino just seems 'wrong'.
It must influence the way we perceive the work and intentions of artist from different cultures. The direction of reading affects the narrative within the image.
Am I being oversensitive artyfarty here?
I’m sure someone will correct me if you think I’m wrong. What else is the internet for?