Painting- It’s More than Just a Hobby!
As a child, I was never quite interested in reading newspapers. On Saturdays however, the newspaper would come with a kids’ supplement, which had different sections- puzzles, trivia, quizzes, short stories etc. One of my favorites was a small section called “Color me”, which gave an outline of a picture and left it to the readers to color it as they wished to. I had a small crayons pack and used it to engage myself in the “Color me” section every Saturday up till class 5. Like most kids, I didn’t know if this weekly exercise was beneficial to me but I did it anyway. Because, even though my coloring and painting skills were horrible, it gave me a strange sense of satisfaction and happiness. However, what I didn’t know then was the immense benefits of painting and drawing to the brain and overall personality development.
“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.”
Vincent Van Gogh
In this article, we look at some of these benefits and why you should take up painting as a hobby even if, like me, you are bad at it!
Benefits of Painting:
1. Fosters creative growth
You’ve probably heard people saying that they are “right-brained” or “left-brained”. Simply put, left-brain thinking is verbal and analytical while right-brain thinking is intuitive, non-verbal and based on visualization. Painting enhances the creative skills in artistic right-brained people. In the left-brained people, painting can help stimulate and nurture creative growth albeit at their own pace.
2. Builds problem-solving skills
It might come as a surprise to many but there are intellectual benefits of painting too. It facilitates development of critical thinking and enhances problem-solving skills! What an artist imagines while starting to paint changes drastically as the painting evolves, sometimes forced due to color limitations and other unexpected outcomes. Tackling these challenges develops the artist’s ability to think out of the box and develop creative solutions. Painting also widens the artist’s perspective on different situations and enables them to find multiple solutions to problems.
3. Improves Memory
Painting sharpens the mind and boosts memory recollection skills through conceptual visualization and imaginative thinking. It is also a useful activity for those with memory illnesses such as Alzheimer’s disease to enhance their memory. In general, people who engage in creative activities such as writing, dancing and painting have a lesser chance of developing memory-loss illnesses when they grow older.
4. Better Motor Skills
Fine motor skills, in simple terms, is hand-eye coordination while performing various different tasks. Using brushes and colors while painting increases mobility in hands and fingers, resulting in more efficient hand movements. The brain sends signals more effectively to motor neurons, resulting in better mobility. The fine motor skills that a painter develops eventually become mental shortcuts for everyday activities.
5. Relieves Stress
Painting serves as an emotional release for people who are under stress. It helps in stimulating the creative mind while relieving mental strain. Releasing anxiety through painting helps in lowering stress levels and improving overall mental health.
6. Promotes Optimism
As you advance your painting skills, it triggers a positive emotional reaction and facilitates a “feel-good” factor. Painting encourages you to explore your creativity and the subsequent reward of improved artistic skills creates a feeling of accomplishment. This feeling of accomplishment boosts self-esteem and over time, lessens negative emotions.
7. Healing & Recovery
Painting is a perfect activity to channelize and release your emotions. The release of energy while painting helps in revitalizing a person. People who paint experience an increase in their emotional intelligence level, which helps in better understanding their own emotional state. This helps in healing and recovering from painful events such as war and is in fact, recommended by many therapists as a treatment path.
8. Improves communication skills
Art is an expression of one’s inner thoughts and feelings. It helps people break free from their personal limitations and overcome weaknesses such as shyness and autism. Painting also helps develop better flow of thoughts, which is important for effective communication.