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What are the advantages of painting?

Author: Helen

Mar. 07, 2024

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Tags: Chemicals

Hobbies are an important part of maintaining your mental health and well-being. They are something that instantly spark joy and give you something to be passionate about, as well as giving you something to focus on instead of your daily worries and stresses.

We’ve noticed that many people come home from our painting holidays feeling recharged and refreshed, and it got us wondering about the emotional and psychological benefits of painting.

Being in Italy for a week, doing something you love, enjoying fantastic food in beautiful surroundings with fun, like-minded people – it’s bound to put a spring in your step. But is there maybe more to it than that – could painting in and of itself improve your mental and emotional well-being?

Well, we’ve put our research caps on and looked into it for you!

 

One interesting study by a psychologist and neuroscientist, Kelly Lambert, suggests that painting may actually alleviate depression and anxiety by stimulating parts of the brain affected by depression. Other psychologists liken the experience of complete concentration and absorption that you get while painting to mindfulness practices such as meditation and yoga,

Read on to find out the top 7 ways that painting can positively impact your well-being!

 

1. Painting develops your creativity

This may sound obvious enough, but what might not be obvious is that painting stimulates both the right and left sides of the brain.

In painting, we use the left side of the brain to tackle rational, logical challenges – how to structure the painting, for example – while the left side of the brain is used for more creative challenges, helping the painter visualise their work before they even set up their easel.

Even as a beginner, learning how to paint will strengthen your mind as you try our new techniques and master new skills!

Painting is an all-brain exercise, strengthening the mind and triggering dopamine activity in the brain. So spending time indulging your creative spirit is basically aerobics for your brain!

 

 

2. Painting supports your emotional wellbeing

They say a picture says a thousand words, and painting can be a hugely cathartic experience, allowing you to access feelings buried deep within your subconscious.

Painting can also help us deal with those feelings by giving them a physical shape, removing the anguish involved when keeping feelings hidden. This is why psychologists often prescribe art therapy for patients who have suffered psychological trauma: it helps to release emotions in a safe, non-threatening environment.

By learning to better express yourself, through the medium of art, painting can be an act of self-care that supports your emotional well-being.

 

 

3. Builds your problem-solving skills

Although we try our best, sometimes our paintings rarely turn out as originally planned! Changes in the light, the limitations of your palette, and just plain old lack of experience and technique mean that what you start out trying to achieve sometimes doesn’t come to life the way that you expected.

Although this can be frustrating and disappointing, it turns out that this can actually be good for you! Unexpected results have two benefits: for starters, you pretty quickly learn to deal with disappointment, and in time (often through repeated error) to realise that when one door closes, another opens. You quickly learn to adapt and come up with creative solutions to the problems the painting presents, and this means that thinking outside the box becomes second nature to the painter!

Creative problem-solving skills are incredibly useful in daily life and mean you’re more likely to be able to quickly come up with a solution when a problem arises.

 

 

4. Improves memory and concentration

Your brain is essentially working out whenever you paint, which means that painting boosts memory function and sharpens the mind. In particular, painters exercise the parts of their brain responsible for memory and concentration.

People who regularly practice creative activities such as painting are shown to have less chance of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. So not only is your painting hobby sparking joy and making you feel better, but it’s also looking after your health and safeguarding your brain functions for the future!

 

 

5. Painting can develop communication skills

Painting helps you tap into your subconscious and allows you to communicate your feelings to yourself and the outside world through the pieces you create. Not only this, but it also, in simple terms, acts as an ice-breaker – giving you a shared interest with thousands of other artists and art appreciators around the world!

Our painting holidays are pretty social affairs, and inevitably you end up discussing each other’s art. Little wonder that many come back from our holidays not just with a portfolio of paintings, but also an address book full of new friends!

 

 

6. Spending time painting relieves stress

Painters enter a world of their own as they create, and this allows them – albeit unconsciously – to separate themselves from the stresses and strains of everyday life. No mortgage, no office politics – just colour and shade, and “how on earth do I do justice to those incredible poppies and that terracotta rooftop?”, instead.

Painting allows us to escape our daily struggles, and it lifts us. By focusing on our painting, we achieve what art critic and philosopher, Arthur Danto, calls “transfiguration of the commonplace,” as our painting becomes imbued with meanings that go well beyond their literal worth.

In other words, your painting may not turn out like you thought it would, but somehow just by contemplating it, and studying it, you feel lifted by its beauty.

 

7. You can practice mindfulness through painting

You may struggle to capture the full beauty of that hilltop town or cypress-studded skyline, but just trying can have a hugely positive impact. Painting is a meditative act – it takes you out of yourself, freeing yourself from your physical limitations. This means you are only focusing on the present and on the artwork in front of you as you paint, freeing your mind from worries and intrusive thoughts.

Art can be a healing act, a balm for the soul and the mind. There are also cases where art has helped with physical rehabilitation as well. For instance, Renoir and Gauguin are two famous examples of artists, who through painting’s transcendental bliss, were able to move atrophied hands, experiencing a remarkable temporary healing.

 

 

As it turns out, not only is painting a generally enjoyable activity, but it’s incredibly good for your mental health and wellbeing! The psychological benefits are astounding, even though you might not notice them whilst you’re painting your own masterpiece. So, now it’s time to dig out the sketchbook and paintbrushes, and embrace your creativity! Go on – it’s good for you!

 

Have you been considering learning to paint, or do you have a painting party in your future? Painting isn’t just fun, but it also provides a variety of health benefits. From sparking your own creative growth to unlocking better mental and emotional wellness, here are 10 benefits of painting you won’t want to miss.

1. Painting Promotes Creative Growth

Nobel Prize winner and psychobiologist Roger W. Sperry theorized that people think and perform tasks using either the right side or left side of their brain. He believed that right-brain thinkers were more visual and creative, while left-brain thinkers were more logical and analytical. 

The reality is that both sides of the brain work in harmony for creative work, and painting helps you enhance both sets of skills. When painting, your creativity will expand as you draw inspiration from different sources, brainstorm ideas, plan your piece, test out techniques, and learn to work with colors and materials to make something unique. 

2. Painting Enhances

Problem-Solving Skills

How can you paint a joyful painting using a dark color palette? How do you make a flower look more realistic? When you drip a drop of paint on the wrong part of your canvas, how will you fix it? 

Problem-solving is front and center in painting and it’s a natural part of the creative process. By painting, you hone those skills and improve your creative mind while also developing critical-thinking abilities. 

3. Painting Improves

Fine Motor Skills

Painting also helps develop fine motor skills, which is when you use the small muscles in your hands and wrists to make delicate or precise movements. These activities are especially important for young children, but adults benefit from strengthening these muscles too. 

The University of St. Augustine theorizes that visual arts (like painting) helps older adults maintain and even improve their fine motor skills. Every time you pick up a paintbrush, you’re building muscle and neural connections that are crucial for daily activities like typing, cooking, tying shoelaces, and more. 

4. Painting Encourages Positivity and Offers

Stress Relief

Everyday life leads to quite a bit of mental strain and can generate negative emotions, but painting has been shown to reduce stress levels. This is especially true for group painting activities. Not only will you be socializing and receiving positive feedback from the other people painting with you, but you will be creating something beautiful that you can take pride in.

Painting allows for emotional release because it stimulates the creative side of your mind while focusing your attention in one place, which can lower anxiety. In this way, the creative outlet improves your mental health significantly.

5. Painting Bolsters Memory, Concentration, and Spatial Awareness

When you paint, your mind has to visualize a concept or idea and then recreate it as you paint, tapping into and building your memory skills. It also helps develop your sense of spatial awareness as you mentally evaluate the shape, size, texture, and color of the item you’re painting. 

In 2015, Neurology Magazine released a study outlining factors that may increase or decrease an elderly person’s risk of developing memory loss illnesses like Alzheimer's disease. Among other benefits, the study found that people in middle or older age who painted or participated in other artistic activities were 73% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems. As you can see, it’s worth it to engage your mind in creative work as early as possible. 

6. Painting Fosters Emotional Awareness and Growth

Not only has painting been proven to improve brain health, but it can also support your emotional intelligence and emotional growth. Images can communicate and express things that our words and thoughts don’t capture. Many artists use their work as a form of self-exploration and reflection. Some artists even look back on a painting and realize it expresses emotion they weren’t aware they were experiencing. 

This is why art therapy is so helpful. People are able to activate different areas of their brain and access deeper emotions when they paint, partly because the artistic process is emotionally freeing. By building these creative skills, you can grow your understanding of your moods and feelings.

7. Painting Offers a Healthy Challenge

Most people don’t start out creating masterpieces, and that’s alright! Even if painting isn’t one of your natural talents, it can still be a wonderful — and challenging — new hobby. 

We all need a healthy challenge that takes us outside our comfort zone. With painting, there are many paths you can take to push yourself, try new things, and discover what motivates you when it comes to art. Maybe it’s color theory, experimenting with lines and forms, or photorealism. As you gain new levels of skill with the paintbrush, you’ll find your confidence growing.

8. Painting Boosts Self-Confidence

Speaking of which, painting can also raise self-esteem in children, teens, and adults. Many people show up to a painting party or team-building activity thinking they can’t paint to save their lives, only to find that they, in fact, can! And that’s a huge confidence boost. 

For example, Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups indicates that finishing a creative project, like a painting, generates a burst of dopamine that makes people feel accomplished, motivated, and focused. 

Another benefit? Through the creative process, painters quickly realize that mistakes can easily turn into beautiful art, a lesson we can all apply to other areas of life.

9. Painting Builds Nonverbal

Communication Skills

There are many ways to communicate, and verbal communication is just one of them. When you work with colors, shapes, and textures on a regular basis, you increase your nonverbal “vocabulary,” learning how to share ideas, create feelings, capture memories, or imagine different worlds, all without words. As you develop as an artist, you may find that powerful emotions and personal experiences are easier to communicate through your art.

10. Painting Brings People Together (From Date Nights to Corporate Team-Building Activities

Finally, painting can bring people together, and socializing is always a win for both mental and physical health. 

Paint parties can serve as a great corporate team-building activity or a fun friends' night out. Couples can work together to create a visual masterpiece for a romantic date night, and families can paint as a group to bond and decorate their homes at the same time.

You can even host your own paint party from home and invite your closest friends or neighbors you want to get to know. Any time a group of people has a desire to get together, painting is a powerful choice. 

 

Recommended Reading: 8 Creative Art and Painting Activities for Adults 

 

Start Experiencing all the

Benefits of Painting

With Painting to Gogh!

If you’re ready to experience these health benefits of painting for yourself — and your friends, family, or coworkers too — look no further than Painting to Gogh. Our virtual painting tutorials and all-in-one kits allow you to paint from wherever you are, whether it’s a team-building activity at the office or a memorable party at home. 

To get started,

shop our current collections of tutorials and painting kits

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What are the advantages of painting?

10 Health Benefits of Painting You Won’t Want To Miss Out On

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