Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Brain and Art


Planting Paddy watercolor 6"x8"
I am experimenting with painting fast and loose as well as challenging myself not to fill my painting with pattern and color, leaving some white of the paper untouched. Earlier I had painted the same scene from rural India in Another Season. Here, I further simplified it. I don't know if I like one better than the other.

What makes us like one painting better than another? And what happens in the brain when we see a painting that we really like? NYU's Neural Science and English Department's Dr. Edward Vessel, Nava Rubin and G Gabrielle Starr's poster presentation This is your Brain on Art shows which parts of the brain light up when there is an aesthetic response (strong liking) vs a simple preference to a painting and to what extent is an aesthetic reaction mediated by specific emotional response. Dr. Vessel found there was strong response in multiple areas of the brain when subjects saw a painting they really liked. The responses were triggered in left medial prefrontal cortex, left substantia nigra and left hippocampus. Even as the subjects picked different paintings as their most liked painting, the same set of areas in the brain responded to their varied selections. 'Beauty' in art seems to engage cognitive, memory and emotional circuits in the brain. Check here if you like an easy to understand explanation of the poster.

8 comments:

Melanie Rawlings said...

very unique. I like this very much.I have always wanted to paint people in that way.

B said...

both are unique and pleasing in their own way conveying a different meaning and feeling of different seasons, the lushness of the field after the rains and the bareness just after the first rains when the planting begins

padmaja said...

I loved your impressionistic rendition of the rural Indian life in both the versions! The size you have chosen is quite small , so it is naturally tougher with the figures.. you have done them nicely..I thought, a little reflection of the people hear and there in the stagnant water of the fields would have added to authenticity.. Enjoyed the read about the brain activity, thanks for that!

meera said...

Thank you Melanie-I am still struggling to pick up minimal features to sketch and paint!

B, you made my day saying both are unique :) -- I have a hard time painting anything twice, even though when I do indeed do it I see the advantage.

Thank you Padmaja ! -- Good advice! As I was looking over the post soon after publishing it,the same thought occurred to me :) I am learning how to not to overwork and the danger is now stopping too soon! still learning!

Crystal Cook said...

Very beautiful Meera! I admire you for painting loose, that is really hard for me. I think you've done a great job here :)

meera said...

Thank you Crystal - you are so kind! I do aspire to have the kind of control you have with the watercolor paints!!

enesrao said...

This is so beautiful!!

meera said...

Thank you Nirmala, I really appreciate your comments!

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