Why is Water Blue?
installation of book

Art Out of Crisis: Left Brain Mode of Being and Constructivism

This book was created during the week of wild fires that ravaged Southern California in the Fall of 2003. This is not the first time I have felt so compelled to make art during a time of crisis. Is it therapy? Perhaps. Clearly, it s a response to the intensity of emotions I was experiencing. During a discussion with my sister, we talked of the advantage of right brain activity in problem solving. The theory of the structure and functions of the mind suggests that the two different sides of the brain control two different “modes” of thinking.

The left brain is logical, rational, analytical and looks at parts. The right brain is random, intuitive, holistic and looks at the whole. When we experience intense emotions an activity that is a right brain “mode of being” can give us a new perspective; some detachment from a difficult issue. Sis related her love of drawing to this concept. She said, like meditation, it can give you a calmer look at emotional issues.

It may be that the intensity of my creative process was also related to the need to “do something” as I observed the devastation of the fires on the people and environment of Southern California. My intense feelings were fueled by the media coverage. I began by working on the images about water. I visualized water and rain to counteract the fires. One evening early in that week, I asked the question, “Why is water blue?”

I believe this book demonstrates Constructivism as a philosophy of learning. It is founded on the premise that, by reflecting on our experiences, we construct our own understanding of the world we live in. Each of us generates our own "rules" and "mental models," which we use to make sense of our experiences.

Peggy Ann Jones

strip of water


Concerning the Content:

A majority of the photographs existed before the making of this book. The photographs of manhole covers and the relief rubbings were created in Sakamoto, Japan in 1996. The fire photographs, titled “ Fire Water” were of light reflecting on my pond in March of 2001. Long exposures and a tungsten light source produced the warm, monochromatic colors. The photographs of water were made from my tv screen.

Text sources for Why is Water Blue?