The Ink Well: Allegany, New York

Recently, I was doing some research comparing art easels trying to decide on which type I wanted to purchase for my studio. As any artist knows there are many verities to choose from, such as floor models to desk types. Any of these can purchased online from the major art supply companies, such as Dick Blick and Jerry’s Artarama.

However, having been a small independent business owner myself I wanted to obtain an easel form an independent small business. You have to support your hometown businesses after all. Anyway, that is when I found The Ink Well which is located in Allegany, New York. The store offers a variety of artist supplies and services. When I visited the store I found my artist easel and left with it and several tubes of oil paint.

The Ink Well besides offering artist supplies also provides for custom framing, art design services, large format printing and cleaning of paintings. However, the store has a surprise which I did not expect. The store has an art gallery. In the back of the store is a room that is the art gallery. The gallery displays both professional art work as well as amateur work from local artist. At the time of my first visit I was not prepared to purchase any art work. However, now that I know of the gallery on future visits to The Ink Well I will be adding paintings to my own collection.

For more information about The Ink Well visit their web site at inkwellonline.net.

The point here is support your local businesses and you never know what surprises you might when you do.

Posted in Awendan Thoughts |

The Art of Arting

I ran across the word ‘arting’ in a recent issue of an art magazine.

What is ‘arting’?

Well, first of all it could have different meanings or no meaning. The issue is ‘arting’ may not be an actual word. It depends on what source you are using to define the word. If you rely on dictionary.com or the Merriam-Webster or even the scrabble dictionary the word does not exist. On the other hand if you rely on the urban dictionary or Oxford English Dictionary the word does exist. The urban definition states it is ‘working on art or homework that has to do with art’ and the Oxford states it is ‘Employment of art or artifice’.

So if you combine the two and get liberal with the definition I would define ‘arting’ as ‘any endeavor that pertains to doing art or enjoying art’.

So grab you canvas and your paints and go ‘arting’.

Posted in Awendan Thoughts |

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 www.plosone.org.

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 |