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.

To praise the divine, to overcome the dullness of routine

By far, my life hasn’t been a fairy-tale, but rather continuous attempt to prove that our powers exceed the known limits we have put ourselves within.  I believe that talk solves nothing. I am deeply convinced that too much fake positivism and superficial “everything is fine” statements can actually cause harm. When our intentions remain only as to-do-lists, there is no result. There is huge gap between the real action and intent.

We often hear that life is not fair. Well, life as such is fair and fine, it is humans who make things become unfair and unfavorable for others.

Therefore, I wish there was much less pretending that everything is fine and much more doing in order it was like that.

For me, praising the divine does not mean unstoppable talking about it. That means bringing the beauty to people and making them understand how little, in fact, we need to experience the most valuable things on this Earth. There would be much less suffering if one day we had opened our eyes and started calling things their correct names. Becoming realistic is not a bad start.

The daily routine is absorbing plenty of time and taking large amounts of energy. People who are not rich have to deal with this whether they are happy with it or not.  Even though, I could do so many useful and exciting things instead of cleaning up and washing dishes or cooking, that is not going to change. I do everything fast, and I have a prevention system in place: to avoid general cleaning, I do not allow any dirt or messes to accumulate. I spend 12 hours or more a day quite often on medical writing. That is the job I make my living with. I wish I earned my living with teaching and doing art, but that is a bit of unreal idea at the moment.

The other energy drainer is my health conditions. Thankfully, I have a huge medical knowledge, so I can realistically access my options. I deal with that, too, as good as I can, and I do not pretend these conditions are going away or disappearing, because they are not. Not all wounds can be healed with good intentions and positive attitude: some take surgeries and some take long treatments. However, I refuse to be completely limited or defined by these conditions. Whining or crying is not going to help, so I am a realist and I am setting for me reasonable goals. This does not mean having a negative attitude; this is just honestly evaluating the situation and having it under control.

I have inherited love to the nature and all Gods creations from my great grandparents, grandparents and my parents. I strongly believe that family either makes one creative and resourceful or completely ignores this necessity by not appreciating the great experiences and benefits creativity has to offer, although, this does not always mean any financial benefits. I am genuinely thankful I have all skills and knowledge to dress myself, sew and design my clothes and outfits, to grow my own garden plants , flowers and vegetables, to cook fantastic meals with little efforts, to decorate my living space and create all necessary items for that and so on and so forth. This is all because of my family. Somebody might call me workaholic, but I hate simply sitting around and doing nothing. I cannot recall any single episode of my childhood or earlier years when I had to admit I was bored. I was always busy. Trying to make something from nothing. That is a great way to, a great way to live since I am seeing some opportunity just about everywhere.

Spring flowers for greeting cards

I am sending flowers to my mom every time whenever there is some important day or some celebration because I know she appreciates and loves them. We are far away, the Ocean is between us, but we can talk on Skype. My husband gives me flowers on every occasion, not only when there’s a celebration or birthday, but just for pleasure, as well. I have always fresh flowers around me, many are potted. I believe he does this because he knows how I am talking to plants and how much I enjoy them. They respond with adorable blooms and never-ending beauty.

Apple blossoms and butterflies for greeting cards

I feel that my duty is to teach other people to enjoy things which are not that costly, but rather a true source of happiness, pleasure and satisfaction. It would be tough going through life without art and beauty. The importance of brain fitness is completely ignored, but I am trying to make everybody aware how this can be achieved with simple sketching and drawing on a daily basis. If one can escape the age related dementia and loss of brain functionality just doing some visual art exercises, why don’t they do that? That’s a good question because physical body is always put first and mental and spiritual well-being is supposed to occur automatically which is absolutely and totally wrong.

I hope I’m doing my part and creating art pieces for our eyes to enjoy. To me, this means praising the divine every single moment not only in words, but with doing.

Robin nest Easter card

Robins nest: a greeting card, poster, art print, and wall art

Spring art prints flower wall art

View on the table of my paintings, originals are 16 x 12 inches each

Wall art for spring decoration

I struggled a lot to get the right colors on photos, some came out ok, some not that much

Butterflies and birds spring watercolor paintings

These are the new images for spring cards, Mother’s Day cards and cheerful prints to decorate our living space for warmer and lighter season. They look excellent as pillows, too, I cannot enjoy enough. Everything is available through Fine Art America at very moderate prices (link on the right side).

Pink rose watercolor painting Orange rose watercolor painting

Apple blossoms and butterfliesSpring tulips

Happy Easter and sunny spring for those who do not celebrate Easter!