“Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time. ” ~ Thomas Merton
Art has the ability to uplift you every time you look at it. Choosing the right artwork can give you the perspective of ‘everything is alright’ and the feeling of being secure. Why? Because you get to choose what you like and most art is static, and you see what you see from your perspective.
With all the negativity out there in the world from newspapers, to TV, and the internet you do have the choice to view what you like in your home or office for artwork. Maybe it’s a beautiful landscape, or images of happy times or colors that give you a good feeling.
Everyone has a unique preference and my personal tastes flow toward the scenes of the ocean with aqua-marine colors. That gorgeous blue-green that makes you want to climb into the picture and rub your toes in the sand.
I also love nature images of lush green forests that inspire me to breathe deep and feel calm and relaxed. Or maybe it’s an eagle soaring. That’s truly mesmerizing.
Art can be like a mini-vacation. It’s a getaway from the streaming information cluttering your mind. Art provides a much needed break to replenish your energy. Art is for the soul, nurturing and satisfying.
What we are doing is giving scientific truth to what has been known for a long time — that beautiful paintings make us feel much better. Professor Semir Zeki
University College of London
A number of studies have been done on the power of art and its ability to provide a positive feeling in the viewer. In one study had their brains scanned in an MRI while being shown pieces of art from the world’s greatest artists. Monet, Rembrandt, Cezanne were shown every 10 seconds and what was discovered even astounded the scientists.
“What we are doing is giving scientific truth to what has been known for a long time — that beautiful paintings make us feel much better.” Professor Semir Zeki, who conducted the study at the University College of London told the Telegraph. “But what we didn’t realise until we did these studies is just how powerful the effect on the brain is.”
What the study found was an immediate reaction in the brain. Blood flow increased in the part of the brain associated with pleasure and desire each time the study subject saw a beautiful painting.
But it isn’t just immediate pleasure responses to art that scientists are noticing. A study done at the University of Toronto Scarborough discovered art has a beneficial impact on a much deeper level.
“The coolest thing we found is that areas of the brain involved in processing emotion and those that activate our pleasure and reward systems are also being engaged,” says study leader adjunct professor Oshin Vartanian. “Areas associated with more contemplative responses are being triggered automatically when people view art even if they don’t have instructions to judge or think about it critically.”
This means the brain is processing the art at a much deeper level where people are contemplating what the art means to them. Art isn’t just about the beauty of the picture depicted but it is about the emotional attachment one can put on a piece. This is why an ocean or nature scene is so relaxing to me while you may find a portrait or still life that gives you that same emotion. Art is intensely personal and that is why it has the power to boost your well-being.