Your Brain on Art

I came upon the following article while reading the December 2014 issue of Watercolor Artist. Normally I would not repost an article but I found this one especially interesting since I, myself, plan on retiring in 2015. Therefore, I would like everyone who is retired or is planning on retiring soon to think about the message in the article and take the opportunity to become more creative for your own mental and physical health.

Your brain on art; a new study proves creating visual art after retirement does a body – and mind good.

Sure, creating art makes us feel good, but a recent study conducted in Germany suggests it might be beneficial to our brains as well. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in recent retirees, Anne Bolwerk, Jessica Mack-Andrick, Frieder R. Lang, Arnd Dorfler and Christian Maiofner endeavored to learn what neural effects visual art has on humans. They published their results – evidence that indicates producing visual art does indeed improve brain function – in an article, “How Art Changes Your Brain: Differential Effects of Visual Art Production and Cognitive Art Evaluation on Functional Brain Connectivity,” in PLOS ONE, and international, peer-reviewed online journal.
Throughout a 10-week period, one group of 14 men and women ages 62 to 70 participated in hands-on art classes, while another group of 14 took art appreciation course. Before the experiment, all 28 had their brains scanned and completed a test to measure their emotional resilience. At the end of the 10 weeks, they underwent another brain scan and more testing for comparison. The brains of those who were physically creating art showed “a significant improvement is psychological resilience,” or stress resistance, whereas those of the participants in the art appreciation class did not – possibly due to the motor skills and problem solving involved with actual creation. Additionally, for the hands-on art class group evidence revealed improved “effective interaction” between regions of the brain known as the default mode network, which processes introspection, self-monitoring, memory and emotional recognition in others. According to the research, interaction in that region of the brain declines with age; therefore creating visual art has the potential to reverse its deterioration.
Find more details at

So, that is the article and my take on it is to become creative. Even though the study was done on a group of people between the ages of 62 to 70 I don’t think that the same result could not apply to anyone of any age group. Focusing your body and brain on art makes you feel good and has no downside.

Posted in Awendan Thoughts |

Ship’s Log circa 1700’s

Log Books circa 1700’s

I came across an article while reading the September 29th issue of Barron’s, the Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly. It was actually in their “Our Gadget of the week:’ article. However it wasn’t about a “gadget” but more about a process. A process that is being taken to digitize the log-books of ancient sailors. Barron’s quoted a selection from the log-book from the HMS Bounty dated April 28, 1789. The selection is just one of 163 British naval records of voyages that were undertaken between 1757 and 1861. As you may have guessed that since these are British records these digitized records are available on-line through the website of the These particular log-books can be downloaded for a modest fee.

These British log-books are not the only digitized records available for viewing and downloading from this archive website. They also provide information on census records, UFO records, and looted art from World War II, migration and much more. From reviewing the website in order to have full access it does appear that you will need to register with the website.

There is another website that was mentioned in the Barron’s article that is closer to home that deals with ship’s logs and also anything else related to the sea. They also have available in digitized format most anything related to the sea. This website is The website is in conjunction with the Mystic Seaport, The Museum of America and the Sea. This website provides for ship registrations, yacht registrations, rudder designs, and image archives. Getting back to log-books the Mystic Seaport has over 1,300 logbooks, 300 collections, and 800+ volumes from 1720 to the present. An example of a log-book, is a journal of the Francis Allyn (Schooner) by Master, Fuller, Joseph J. from Aug. 2, 1887 to July 10, 1888. This document you can actually read on-line.

This brings us to the point that all this great information about the lives and conditions that these sailors experienced can now be read and seen in their own hand writing. That is why it is so important that these logs and old books in general be preserved.

Posted in Awendan Thoughts |

Federation of Canadian Artist

Federation of Canadian Artist

Who are they and what are they all about?

First, we can answer that parts of the question of what are they all about by looking at their mission statement.

It reads;

“The mission of the FCA is to advance the knowledge and appreciation of art and culture to all Canadians, offering education, exhibition and communication in the Visual Arts, and to support and promote emerging to professional member artists.”

Any organization that helps to promote the amateur artist to achieve their goal of being recognized is a great achievement. If this recognition then helps turn the artist into a professional artist then the organization has achieved their mission.

“The Federation of Canadian Artists (FCA) was founded in 1941 by a group of Canadian artists, including the Group of Seven luminary, Lawren Harris. The FCA continues to operate as a registered not for profit society with members throughout the world and Chapters in Western Canada. The FCA is dedicated to raising artistic standards by stimulating participants to greater heights of knowledge and achievement by offering what is believed to be the first completely artists sponsored gallery in Canada. The Federation Gallery is located on Granville Island, Vancouver, BC, featuring bi-monthly juried exhibitions of works by emerging and Signature members as well as two juried international shows held annually, Painting on the Edge and AIRS. The FCA also holds special collaborative shows with other art societies. An extensive education program which is open to non-members as well as members, offering workshops, classes, critiques and lectures in the fine arts media, with instruction by successful established artists who can help all artists to explore and develop their artistic interest and talent. Membership in the FCA is open to all who appreciate art.”

Michael Peak, Yoho acrylics on canvas 30" x 30" by Rene Thibault

Michael Peak, Yoho
acrylics on canvas
30″ x 30″
by Rene Thibault

To help the artist receive exposure and be notice the Federation of Canadian Artist provides an artist gallery on their web site for anyone to view. Along with this gallery they also provide the opportunity for each artist to have a link to their own web page. Both of these will provide you the viewer the pleasure of seeing their art work and learning more about the individual artist. So just don’t browse the art gallery take some time to visit each of their individual web sites I’m sure will not be disappointed.

In the Federations Current Exhibition they have to venues to choose from; On Line Commercial Gallery and Stafford Plant Collection. As one would surmise the On Line Commercial Gallery is a collection of works that are for sale by selected artist. The other is a collection of works by Stafford Plant.

The Keyhole

The Keyhole
Mixed Media
by Diane Eason

For those of you who are interested in purchasing a piece of art work from the FCA the price ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars. This means there is a piece of art for everyone’s budget.

Happy shopping!

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