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.