The sinister side (Class drawing and learning Uncategorised)

This week we continued working with our wrong hands. Jon pointed out that the word Sinister is the Latin word for left-handed. What evolution of meaning turned left-handed into evil and threatening?

Historically, the left side, and subsequently left-handedness, was considered negative in many cultures. The Latin word sinistra originally meant “left” but took on meanings of “evil” or “unlucky” by the Classical Latin era, and this double meaning survives in European derivatives of Latin, and in the English word “sinister”.

Meanings gradually developed from use of these terms in the ancient languages. In many modern European languages, including English, the word for the direction “right” also means “correct” or “proper”, and also stands for authority and justice. In most Slavic languages the root prav is used in words carrying meanings of correctness or justice.

Of course I wasn’t asking people to draw with their left hand but to draw with their non dominant hand, which in this case happened to be everyone’s left.

There were some nervy starts but by the end of the 2 hour session there was a real sense of change and confidence towards the new skill.

Here are the results


Jon’s first drawing of an old blow torch.

IMG_1735 IMG_1734

Barbara’s interpretation of the fish vase.


John P’s surreal sea of coffee pots.


Mary’s bottle, tea-pot and small portrait of me.


And Jenny’s cobblers last.

All very accomplished and hats off to the endeavour. No one complained or protested, they took the bull by the horns and ran with it.

Barbara said she felt liberated by this process echoing something John had said the week previous.

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