I am looking for an altered satate.
I suspect all artists are looking for such a state. Chick Takaha says when is drawing well he feels "very buoyant". Others describe states that seem more meditative. Says John Goodman, "Time drops away so you draw for twenty minuts and you feel there's no time there. You're really in the work." At such times, says Goodman, there may be ten other people in the room but he is not at all conscious of their presence. At its best, he says, "It's a very mindless state. When I get done with the thing, I'm very spent, and I don't know what I've done. I look at the drawing and I don't know how I've gotten there."
Artist frecuently compare the way they feel when they're drawing to the sense of heightened awareness reported by practitioners of Yogic meditation or to the "high" runners experience. Jim Smyth, who has taught drawing for twenty years, says, "I believe the drawing process produces serotonine and endorphins in certain individuals. I see people who are not aware of his arthritis pain when they are drawing. When they are not drawing, it comes back." Smyth once let someone monitor his brain-wave activity while he drew. "When I was drawing, I would get alpha waves," he reports.
Alpha waves are electrical impulses in the brain that are associated with calm and focused attention. Studies of the wave-waves patterns in meditating yogis have shown increased alpha, theta (associated with reverie, imagination and creativity) and beta (associated with highly focusing attention) waves. Meditation has also been shown to increase production of serotonine, a neurotransmitter, the lack of wich is associated with depression, insomnia and migraine. (An excess of serotonine can lead to hallucinations.)
The Undressed Art - Why We Draw
Vintage Books - Random House
New York 2005