Why does abstract art make you happy?

Why does abstract art make you happy?


For the creator of abstract art, the collector of art, or simply the appreciative eye, abstract paintings have the capacity to reach out and inspire a real sense of joy. Of course, some abstract artists derive satisfaction from conveying a darker side to their paintings. For me abstract art is about raising the spirits.

When I speak to the people who want to display my paintings in their homes or businesses, often they say they are looking for an enduring, uplifting effect. I`m only too delighted to paint something that does that.

Abstract art provides an opportunity to for artists to create something in a powerful way because it gets us thinking. Every stroke of paint touches us in a different way. Every colour you find in abstract paintings provokes a different sensation.

Back in the day, my old art teacher, David Wiley believed that artists had a responsibility to brighten up the world; mentally I still refer to his words before undertaking a new art project.

The concept of `happiness and art` has always been a part of my life with paintings. My late father Lesley, enjoyed sketching pictures. The memory of the immense pleasure this simple pastime gave him is now very comforting to me. As a teenager, because of my family connection to Belgium, I was fortunate to spend several summers on the Flanders coast and was able to visit art galleries in Bruges, enjoying the many paintings on offer there. Even now, my idea of fun is flitting from one gallery to another soaking up the various paintings on show, together with the different ambiences. The work of Flemish painters, particularly the earlier abstract paintings, are known for their vibrant materialism and unsurpassed technical skill. They left a lasting impression. From the van Eycks through to Bruegel to Rubens, these artists were masters of the oil medium and used it primarily to portray a robust and realistically detailed vision of the world around them. Happy days!!

On another level in 2009, I was invited to exhibit my paintings at Hall Place in South East London in association with The Alzheimer`s Society and very quickly realised that abstract art can help to heal the soul, which in turn often helps heal the body. Alzheimer`s attacks certain parts of the brain but according to recent opinion leaves others intact and functioning, including some forms of memory. Carers who saw my paintings agreed that abstract art especially, because it is so visual with vibrant colours in paint, provides an avenue to trigger dormant memories and emotions. They told me sufferers from this dreadful condition were able to enjoy my art as a therapeutic experience; something they were often unable to express themselves.

I have been hitherto lucky to avoid serious illness and perhaps this is down to the calming effect derived from abstract art paintings! To invest time creating something is without doubt a great relaxer. Creative time allows me to switch off from reality and actually loose myself. The real satisfaction comes from knowing I can paint when I feel like it; that can mean any time of the day or night.

I hope you will gain that same sense of joy looking at some of my paintings and I`d love to hear your stories of how art has effected your life.