Making art and the Brain

Why does making art make me feel so good?

After a painting session, I feel wonderfully stimulated and as if parts of my brain that have been snarled and snagged have become untangled.

Making visual art involves the use of multiple areas of the brain to process and create meaning from visual information. The primary visual cortex, located in the occipital lobe at the back of the brain, is responsible for processing basic visual information such as color, shape, and movement. The posterior parietal cortex, located just behind the primary visual cortex, helps to integrate this visual information with other senses, such as touch and movement, to create a cohesive perception of the world.

The temporal lobe, located on the sides of the brain, plays a role in the recognition of objects and faces, as well as the processing of visual memories. The amygdala, located within the temporal lobe, is involved in the processing of emotions and the formation of memories and can influence the way we perceive and respond to visual art. The insula, located deep within the brain, is also involved in the processing of sensory information, including visual art, and is involved in the regulation of emotions and the experience of pleasure.

In addition to these areas, the frontal lobe, located at the front of the brain, is crucial in the creation of visual art. The frontal lobe is involved in decision-making, problem-solving, and planning, as well as the control of movement and the execution of complex tasks. This makes it essential for the planning and execution of a visual art piece, whether it be a drawing, painting, or other forms of visual expression.

The process of creating visual art involves both the analysis and interpretation of visual information, as well as the expression of personal ideas and emotions through that interpretation. This requires the integration of multiple brain functions, including perception, memory, emotion, and higher-level cognitive processes such as planning and decision-making.

For example, when creating a drawing, the artist must first observe and interpret the subject, using the primary visual cortex to process the visual information and the posterior parietal cortex to integrate this information with other senses. The artist then uses the frontal lobe to plan the composition of the drawing and the movements required to create it. As the artist works, the temporal lobe helps to process and recognize patterns and shapes, while the amygdala and insula may influence the emotional content and aesthetic choices made in the piece.

Overall, the process of creating visual art involves the use of multiple areas of the brain, each contributing to the perception, interpretation, and expression of visual information. Whether it be through the use of line, color, form, or other visual elements, the brain plays a crucial role in the creation of visual art.

It’s such a fantastic workout! I hope it keeps my brain young for the rest of this life!