The obvious and unarguable benefits of engaging in an art class

I have been mentioning in my articles for numerous times how huge the gain from learning drawing, sketching and painting is. I noticed that people rarely paid attention to that, and most of them are still convinced that drawing and painting is only for those who want to be artists or already are involved in creative activities.

However, there is more and more proof that learning and doing arts is a unique activity which boosts brain activity and development of new neurons and their connections that there is no doubt:  drawing, sketching and painting is the best exercise to keep our brain fit, thus, preventing early memory loss and age-related dementia.

I recently read about a new brain fitness trial which was carried out at the Newcastle University in a population of 30 volunteers divided in 3 groups for 8 weeks. One group was walking for 3 hours a week, the second doing puzzles and crosswords, and the third group took part in art class 3 hours a week. All participants were tested before and after their respective activities.

Reference: What’s the best way to fight memory loss?

The best results undoubtedly showed the art group, which is no surprise to me because I’ve observed that during all years of teaching. I would like to just mention that I have been working with student groups of 5-30 people for almost 35 years, and those who did arts quite often excelled in ANY area of their life.

Is everybody able to draw? Yes, everybody is able to draw, but in order to do so they have to learn seeing and processing the object of interest in their brain so that the hand knows what it should be doing.

Along with maintenance of good brain health and memory, it is a fantastic, rewarding leisure activity.

Once one knows how to draw, they can forget about camera, image processing on computer, they can forget about copying photos.

Well, those who want to master drawing from life, must count on 10,000 hours, at least that’s the estimated time frame to learn drawing flawlessly and effortlessly.

Although, the benefits are so obvious, we all know that majority of people will admit they cannot draw. In fact, the truth is they don’t know how to look at something, how to pay attention and how to abstract oneself from other parts and surroundings while drawing one part of an object. The ability to draw is based on our visual ability to process the visual information and to make our brain move the hand with pencil. Basically, the visual perception is the key to drawing.

Therefore, before we draw, we have to learn pay attention and notice relationships between parts of an object, its layout, size and to reproduce this all on a correct scale. That means, most people see things, but they never focus enough to memorize what they see to the extent they could draw this from memory.

What are the usual problems when starting out with drawing, sketching and painting? Well, it depends on whether one is at the class only for the result, or for the process. Process is good for everybody, but results are evident after some longer time. I have sometimes people who want to achieve excellent results right away, in 1 workshop or 1 class, or they think, it’s not worth continuing. While we get better, we can still enjoy a lot and give our brain the necessary exercise.

drawing still life

Here: drawing still life

Detailed drawing which I made much darker in order it was visible

value sketch for watercolor

Rough value sketch for watercolor

floral detail sketch

Floral detail sketch: when my paper is too small, I do drawing on separate sheets and adjust them on the main painting

The entire drawing

The entire drawing: full sheet watercolor paper, 22 x 30 inches

First washes

First washes

More watercolor applied

More watercolor applied

Second: watch, learn seeing and exercise focusing ability.

Third: drawing is not the same what copying photos, transferring images from photos or printing off outlines, etc. Once one gets used to flat objects in a photo, they will have much harder times to ever learn drawing in reality. Reproducing photos also does not facilitate the brain activity as drawing for real does.

All people who wanted to participate in drawing and sketching classes noticed soon that they are seeing everything in a different way.

Would you like to boost your memory and have some pleasurable pastime? Join the club. We are starting out next week.

I’m sharing some pictures which show different types of drawing.

We usually draw with very light lines for watercolor painting.

We can sketch out main values if the reference object can go bad or disappear soon.

Sketch in pencil

Creating a drawing or sketch library is a good thing because we can reuse our drawing when we need it again.

Vegetables: sketch

Vegetables: sketch for painting

Outline drawing for watercolor

Outline drawing for watercolor

In my opinion, the only way to draw is using real objects, real setups or ask somebody to be a model. Everything else is reproducing photos. Some do this very creatively, some not that much, but only drawing for real makes one free and allows not to depend on any devices.

Please check out my new Life School blog!

Backyard strawberries

I finally started my new Life School blog!

I hoped some of the followers of this blog would in reality click on the link.

Please have a look, and I hope you will like it and possibly follow:

http://inesepogalifeschool.com/

It’s brand new, and I believe there will be something useful for everybody!

Some backyard ideas and my most favorite herbs: the first post of my new blog

backyard flowers

The New Year is here, it’s a good time to add some color to our life!

The New Year is here. We have welcomed it with all kinds of arrangements, we have new goals and new intentions, and we definitely should not forget the main person: the central figure which is I MYSELF. When we are exhausted, tired, burnt out or otherwise fed up with many routine things, bad outcomes, lack of energy, there is still something we can do in order to relieve these bad conditions which most often attack people during the cold and dark season. Well, the Sun has started to raise higher up in the sky, but days won’t be noticeably longer for a while yet.

While festivities are just yesterday’s experiences, it is fine. As we move along the winter’s path into February, the lack of bright sunlight, dullness of sky, freezing, cold, gusty winds, snow piles or icy sidewalks start to get on our nerves. Lucky people who are not tied up by their business duties or family issues go away to warm places. Not everyone can do that for many reasons, and so we just have to be in the middle of winter and go through it with hopefully good mood, excellent or tolerable health and smile.

Blog NEW YEAR is for making life brighter

We have tested one remedy and discovered how well it works. Immersing ourselves into color is such a blessing! It can be very tough sometimes to get ourselves up and going, but once we do, the pleasure about achievements and the feeling of not wasting time definitely outweighs the initial resistance and fear.

The effects of color and environment are much neglected, yet they play a huge role in our life! Small spaces, dark spaces and cold spaces, especially when the indoors temperature is fairly low, need to have some warn accents, warm and light wall colors. We can definitely fight the blues and upset moods with sunny and energetic colors. So, that’s why this year, hopefully in February I will introduce ADD SOME COLOR TO YOUR DAY artistic sessions. That will include working with colors, shapes and images either intentionally or unintentionally in order to achieve one goal: to improve our mood, recharge with fresh energy which we create straight on a sheet of paper or canvas, and to give ourselves the much-needed time for smelling the roses and getting lost in distant meadows of imagination where is only pleasant whether, the sky in color of our thoughts and the flowers of our dreams are blossoming. This does not take much, but gives plenty. Even to people who suffer from depressive or upset moods, anxiety and different mental disorders which have not reached the clinical grade yet.

Unlike other activities, there are no restrictions: people can paint at any age and any health conditions benefit from painting or drawing. Paper or canvas does not care how one looks like or how well one is dressed. Artistic activities take care of balance within us. They go even beyond that and help fighting cravings for food, alcohol and smoking. They keep one away from mobile devices and computers. Well, that is what art is: pure essence of us in a creative state. Once we fall in love with art, it never lets us down.

Fun painting Friends events

Our Holiday Fun and Pleasure afternoon

Fun and pleasure painting workshop

The interesting part is that except one lady (she is on the left) nobody else had painted before

Acrylic painting classes for adults

We were working from a sketch and following the steps

Poppy painting class

We painted a lot of poppies this past fall, but the demo version is not done yet, meaning, I had to go over and over the first layers for all groups, and I had no time to bring it to completion so far

Rose with her painting

This is getting close to finishing stage

Poppy painting sessions were very well attended

Poppy painting turned out to be one of the best painting sessions in 2014

Poppy acrylic painting session

Gwen working on her painting

Many pictures from classes did not get into last year’s posts; I simply was sometimes too busy. So, I’m adding some of pictures from the most recent classes and workshops now.

New students joined us

New students joined us, as well, and so their absolutely first paintings came out good

Connie and her poppy painting version

Connie and her poppy painting version

Our teen group loved painting poppies

Our teen group loved painting poppies, too

Adult acrylic painting class

Bev’s version was never published yet

Bhumika's second painting

I would say this is very good for somebody who just started out

Acrylic painting class for adults

Connie’s poppies

Acrylic painting workshop Whitby Ontario

Birch painting on sunset background was our number 2 taking into account finished paintings and participants evaluation

Sunset fun and pleasure afternoon

Four people just started painting recently, and it seems they enjoy it a lot

Close view on our creations

Close view on our creations

Calia's painting

Calia is our youngest artist, she attends workshops together with more mature artists, and gets very good results

Winter painting events

Number 3 was the winter scenes, everybody got great results and also liked the scenes we were working from

The not-ready demo version for birch painting project

The not-ready demo version for birch painting project

The pretty much finished version for acrylic fun afternoon

The pretty much finished version for acrylic fun afternoon

Regular classes resume next week, on January 6 and January 7.

Happy New Year everybody!  Pick up your brushes, sharpen pencils and open your paint tubes! We are about to get to painting again!

Opening the first page of the new calendar

Let the river of time take away our troubles and worries!

Winter night: the last light

The New Year is standing at our doorstep; we should welcome it with a great meal, candle light and warm thoughts.

Let’s look up to the sky: maybe some nice surprise is waiting for us, maybe the New Year’s inspiration will take us to new heights and allow more dreams to come true.

Winter sky: the path to eternity

Candle lights are alive, and the bad energies are destroyed in fire. As we look at this light, we should imagine all great things we would like to happen, and they just might come true. At least during this wonderful holiday season and at the moment of entering the New Year, we should have only positive thoughts, provide the encouragement to the sad and care for the sick, wish more good things to everybody, not only ourselves.

The New Year’s color is blue, I’m sure we can find something blue in our closet.

The more candles we have lightened up at midnight, the more chances we have our wishes are fulfilled. We can write one of our wishes on paper straight before midnight, this should be a very definite wish for some particular thing, and we burn it afterwards, and scatter the ashes outdoors so they’d go with the wind.

Happy New Year! Warm hearts and shelters, good health and abundance of things you need, true love and lots of honestly earned money!

Happy New Year 2014!

We are about to open the first page of the New Year’s calendar. Let’s hope all following pages are filled with events, results and achievements we wished for.

Happy Mother’s Day to Every Mom on the Globe

I’m on one side of this globe, my mom is on the other. We talk on the phone, and we meet in person every two years. The distance does not scare me as long as I know, I will hear her happy voice on the other end when calling. The best thing is to know that my mom IS THERE. She is going to be 82 this fall, and I hope to meet her around that time.

My mom: 80th birthday

We have one celebration in Latvia, that I’m missing here, in Canada. This day is called Angel’s day or Name’s day. My mom’s name is Irena, and her Name’s day falls together with Mother’s day this year. So, this is a nice reason for double greetings.

The older I’m getting, the more I have started to understand and appreciate my mother and everything she has done for me. I notice more and more features we have in common. I sometimes catch myself acting exactly the way she always is.

There are 2 grandmothers, 3 mothers, 2 daughters and 3 granchildren in this family. How do you think, how many are we? (Answer at the end)

My daughter, my mom and me during their stay in Canada

Too bad, we are never expressing and showing enough love, respect and appreciation to some person while that person is still around. I am never regretting things I have done, things I haven’t done, money I have spent, time I have wasted, but I will always regret I did not say my dad how much I cared about him and how much I loved him while it was still possible. He has passed away now, and there won’t be any more opportunities to do that.

That’s why I’m calling my mom as often as I can, I’m saying her all the best words I am able to find, and I’m showing her how much I care.

White lilies are my mom’s most favorite flowers. I was painting this pastel, and many memories came to my mind, and many good thoughts were implemented in this painting.

This for you, mom!

Happy Mother’s day!

I wish, every mother on this planet experienced some time how much loved, appreciated and honoured she is.

Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers!

Answer to question: We are 5: my mom, me, my daughter, and 2 grandchildren