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The Joys Of Abstract Art

Each of us lives our lives rooted in the real world. We use tools, read meaningful words, eat food to keep our bodies moving, and spend time with people to fulfil our social needs.

From the moment we wake to the moment we fall asleep at night, we are all surrounded by actual, identifiable things that we have to pay attention to in order to live.

That's a lot of details to process day in and day out, but we don't think much of it because it is so ingrained in our routines. 

But it can get exhausting. Even without realizing it, our brains become tired of the real world. We seek something less literal to give us a break from all of this materialism. 

If you're the kind of person who experiences this, there’s a good chance you're also a fan of abstract art.

Where realistic paintings seek to depict the world as it is, abstract paintings express all the equally important intangible parts of being alive: emotions, spirituality, and concepts.

Abstract art gives you a moment of respite from the intensity of the real world and helps you access your inner peace. 

In fact, it has been scientifically proven that looking at art releases dopamine and endorphins, which are the brain chemicals that make you feel happy.

It is pleasant to see someone's hard work and get a glimpse into their view of the world, to look at beautiful (and sometimes not-so-beautiful) colours and shapes and take the time to notice how they fit together and what images and feelings they convey.

On top of that, art museums and galleries are calm places. People talk quietly and spend a moment in stillness with their own thoughts. In this fast paced society, it is a welcome lull. 

Abstract art is particularly good at producing these happy chemicals. The human brain is really good at recognizing patterns. It’s a skill associated with our time as hunter-gatherers, when we had to be adept at recognising predator versus prey and poisonous versus edible plants.

Now that we live in a world where we don't have to rely on that skill for survival, it tends to go unused. However, it is still there, though, ready to wake up and get to work.

Abstract art activates that pattern recognition skill, and that’s why it feels so good. It’s like giving your brain a chance to stretch its muscles after a long nap.

Since there aren't any obvious real-life images in abstract art, your brain has to work much harder to find patterns. It doesn't feel like work to your brain, it feels like passion and focus. 

This experience feeds your soul just as much as it feeds the brain. When you look at, say, a still life, you may marvel at the details or the lighting or the lovely hue of the fruits and flowers and you may credit the artist for his talent at capturing real life so accurately.

Perhaps you sense some of the artist’s own emotions in the work, because they used sad blue colours and painted rotting fruit or they used romantic lighting and painted a luscious full bouquet. 

When you look at an abstract painting, on the other hand, you get to find their own personal meaning on the canvas. What do those colours mean to you? How do they make you feel?

It may be entirely different from what the artist intended and it will certainly be different for each person. It is communing with that deep part of your mind that you don't use every day. 

Even artists find new things to explore in their own finished paintings. I myself developed the idea for the Trifinity Tetragram collection when I noticed a trend across several of my completed works.

The concept of triangular and square numbers showed up first in other parts of my life, and it was only then that I realized I was using four broad strokes as the basis for my compositions.

My process for creating a painting is spread out over several weeks, but I typically work in batches so that the drying time overlaps. Of course, I knew there were similarities between my works, but this new level of meaning was a complete surprise to me and it's something I work with consciously now. 

I seek to spread joy with my art, because everyone deserves a little extra joy in their lives.  It brings me joy, too, even if creating it isn't always an easy or relaxing process.

My hope is that you will experience a little extra joy and peace each and every day, just by looking at my completely abstract art. Lucky for me, science shows that this is entirely possible.  

Check out my Facebook page for more information and reports on the dopamine abstract art feel good factor.