Psykopaint Blog

Featured User: Ben Leighton


1) Can you tell us about yourself?
I’m a 36 year old User Interface designer. I grew up in Bermuda, but i live in Oxford in the UK now. I did a degree in Design & Art Direction because it seemed a sensible way to get a job afterwards but fine art and music have always been my real interests.

2) How did you find out about Psykopaint?
I really can’t remember. I think I came across it in someone’s social media when trawling through the internet. It caught my eye because I had been learning Corel Painter (and was finding it pretty tricky), and I was up for trying other things in the same vein.

3) Tell us more about your work. What’s your process.

A few years ago a friend of mine who is a professional painter showed me how easy it was to paint from photos using the computer, specifically that the photo actually sits on a layer directly below the painted surface. This takes most of the draughtsmanship skill out of the equation (assuming you’re aiming for realism in that respect). I was impressed, but my immediate thought was that to get more creativity into it one should really mess around with the photos before applying the digital paint. As such, my work is part Psykopaint and part Photoshop. The process is:

- get a photo, either from my own camera of from the internet

- manipulate it in Photoshop. This is everything from removing backgrounds to distorting shapes to complicated photo-collaging. Obviously if it’s other people’s photos from the internet you have to change them as much as you can.

- into Psykopaint! I go back to Photoshop after so for me Psykopaint is all about brushstrokes. I usually cover the entire surface with one brush, then change to another brush and rework the entire surface (leaving some parts of the original brushwork showing), then finish off with a 3rd pass. I frequently change the settings of the brushes (every 4 or 5 strokes).

- Save as a big jpeg then back into Photoshop. I then do a lot of colour adjustments and adding multiple layers of semi-transparent textures. I often use the Liquify tool to distort the shapes one last time.

Pictures I have printed so far I got done as Giclée prints on cotton rag paper. I’m very pleased with the result. It’s a bit odd to see simulated impasto on a very flat piece of paper, but it’s still nice.

4) What are your artistic inspirations?

My Pinterest page for Art is a pretty good summary of what I like.

If someone asked me to say who my single biggest influence was, I’d have to say Goya (after he went deaf/mad). Of course part of what is so impressive about Goya’s personal late work is the date that he painted it; most other western paintings of that time are in many ways very controlled or repressed, either by the person paying the commission or by the system (f.e. the Royal Academy, or the French Salon system), but Goya’s Black Paintings are pure emotion. Stylistically where I’d like to be is somewhere between Goya, Rembrandt and John Singer Sargent.

Aside from pictures of people, I love the work of Turner and Casper David Friedrich. I haven’t tried any landscapes myself yet as I feel like it’s much more difficult to say something meaningful with them. When you paint a person’s face, the picture almost automatically becomes about the human condition. You don’t need to think up a theme if you don’t want to.

The weirder side of my work (the Chimeras on kaitain.info) stems from a love of collage and mythology.

5) Something you’d like to share with the world?

If you peak too early in life, everything else will be downhill. I want to be doing amazing work when I’m 80.

How to tesselate with Psykopaint

Posted on June 7, 2013

Chris Little created a really cool tutorial on how to tesselate. In fact we didn’t even know one could do that!!
Also you can learn how to do a great original painting from toe to head (did i get the order right?)

So we’re really pleasantly surprised by it!
As a result we decided to create a new special achievement for those who share with the community.
The ‘Master’ Achievement:

In fact more than that it’s a new status for the ones who create amazing work and share with the community. And i think Chris deserve this. Check it out:

Psssss: there’s a secret in this video ;-)

Psykopaint creator interview

We recieved a very cute email from A young girl named Vanessa who

“was wondering if i could do an interview with you it’s for school i have to do an interview with someone who has done something amazing and you have
and maybe I’ll get the full version of psykopaint if you choose that i have it .”

It proves Flattery can get you… somewhere! But please don’t flood with request to get the full version. that won’t work ;-)
Those were really great questions so you (reading this), might also be interested in learning a bit more about Psykopaint’s story.
Here it goes:

1.When did you think of this website?
Mathieu Gosselin: I was doing digital art as a passtime aside of my main job as freelance flash developer, i got inspired by digital artists like Eric Natzke or Mario Klingemann (who’s now a core member of Psykosoft!) who made me realize the potential of visual tinkering. I always wished to be an artist but my mum didn’t thought it was a viable career so i took on IT instead ;-) (and loved it too).
But since i knew how to code i created my own tool to make up for that and expressed my sensibility via programming instead of using hand drawing skills. Then people got interested in my artworks and i thought it would be great to bring this new art form to everybody instead of keeping it to myself and the few who knew how to do creative coding. That’s how Psykopaint was born.

2.How did you create it the way it is ?
Mathieu Gosselin: Designed it and programmed it and then re-designed it and re-programmed it, etc… It took a lot of time to make it what it is today. Getting users’ feedback and always trying to improve it all the time. I did a lot of mistakes along the way and lot of things didn’t work as planned or hoped but by keeping moving forward that became what it is today. And the best is yet to come.

3. Did you create it alone ?
Mathieu Gosselin: Yes i did it alone, it was a personal project that became bigger and ended up being a company. I became overwhelmed with the amount of work needed to keep it going. So now we have new people on board that are working on the next version of Psykopaint and i’m not doing the programming anymore. Our new programming team is composed of the very best people in the world who could be working on psykopaint right now, so it’s in safe hands. I’m still updating actual Psykopaint version from time to time (as i’m the one who knows the whole thing best) to keep our psykopainters happy. But i think next version will really take it to the next level.

4. How do you feel now when you get mail by one of your subscribers?
Mathieu Gosselin: It depends. There are all sorts of emails. Some are irritating because they keep asking you the same questions over and over again. And you wish they would read the FAQ ;-) lol. Sometimes we have really aggressive or weird people too that insult us because they don’t have this or that feature, or some people complains of various things.
So i’ve got to be really strong about that and not let it affect me personally. But by time i know how filter the crap.

Gladly there’s a large majority of great supportive comments, i think we’re one of the few companies for which customers thanks us and cheer us in mass for each newsletter or email we send! It feels great!
And finally we also receive some really moving emails.
Psykopaint had a real positive impact or so many people. Really!
I’ve heard multiple time that it saved people’s life, help them cope with grief, depression, mental illness, pain or simply blank canvas fear.
It seems Psykopaint is a great therapeutic tool. And it’s not something i had anticipated but i’m really proud of that. And that’s what motivate me to keep going and give my best.

Psykopaint goes mobile

Psykopaint is very cool!

I know that’s the lamest self-promotion you’ve ever heard. But It’s true.

Now imagine that it’s 21st century and you’re using a mouse to paint!? Whaaat?

I found my own fingers easier to move than a mouse. Don’t you think?

Well, we’ve been thinking just that and that’s why we believe touchscreens are the logical next step for a painting app like us.

To make it really great, we decided to start from a blank canvas (wink, wink) and to build the whole thing from scratch the result of which is….

Lazy paint!

It will be available on all upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Microsoft Surface and all that…

Yeah I know, it’s not Psyko…paint.

That’s because:

1. It works a bit differently :

You can make great paintings so easily that we think lazies will love it.

2. It doesn’t have advanced psychopathic stuff that Psykopaint have.

But Fear not! Even though it’s almost Halloween.

3. We’re working on a fully featured iPad version of Psykopaint and we aim it to be the very best creative app ever made in the universe since Ms Paint

You can have a look at it on the Windows Store already: Click me

Warm up your fingers!

Have a lazy Halloween

 

Mathieu

Psykosoft Captain

 

 

Featured Artist – Spotlight on: Charis Tsevis

Posted on August 1, 2012

This week’s artist spotlight is Charis Tsevis. Charis is an award winning visual designer who lives and works in Athens, Greece. Alongside having clientele that are highly respected advertising agencies and companies, he is a part time professor at a design school in Greece – teaching Editorial Design and Typography.

Not only that he has written 2 books on imaging in Photoshop, and countless articles on design-related material, the man is something that many new digital artists might consider to be a “digital design freak extraordinaire” for want of a better term for ‘accomplished artist’.

Like many a bad fashion wearer, whose footwear and fabric colour combinations might make them stand out (not always in a good way), many artists are recognised for their particular style (this though, usually in a good way). Style is what many artists are characterised by.

Tsevis is known for his intricate Mosaics. For those who are unsure, a mosaic is a picture or pattern produced by arranging together small pieces of material. Traditionally it was coloured pieces of hard material, such as stone, tile, or glass. Digitally it is smaller images or objects. He often collages these together to create amazing new objects. When you look closer you can see detail, but when you stand back they create a fuller picture.

His subjects are often celebrities, athletes, famous faces and objects. Let’s take a look at some of his work.  Be sure to click on the picture and click again to enlarge them so you can see the detail close up.

This Julian Assange – made up of small Earth globes. You can see them in the detail…

Obama
Made up of general images of Americans
The young Steve Jobs
Made of Apple related headlines, covers, packaging.
This is one of my favourites.
London 2012
Made completely from type (letters, numbers)
One of a range of typographic posters for the 2012 Olympics ~


Shaquille O’Neal – Famous Basketballer made up of all sorts of logos, endorsements, recognised branding icons and sports related stuff that he promotes. Check this one out close up. [To be honest, I too was pulling this face when I saw some of his works as large images. Yeah, they are pretty darn creative!]

So as you can see, Charis Tsevis is really quite amazing at what he does. His work is playful, layered, colourful and almost neo-futuristic.

Hopefully this will inspire you to be BOLD and try a few things in your own art making! Feel free to play around with PsykoPaint and try new things, new techniques. Don’t forget that part of the beauty of things being digital is if you make a mistake you can always UNDO ;) but perhaps in trying new things, you can discover your own unique ways of doing things. You’ll never know until you try. Go on, I double dare you!

 

Featured Artist – Spotlight on: Erik Natzke

Posted on July 18, 2012

Hi there. We’re starting a new series to feature people who influenced Psykopaint and who are exploring new ways of visual expressions.

So it’s natural that we start this series with Erik Natzke.

Erik Natzke is an Artist, Designer and Programmer who enlists code to create tools that extend and form his creative process.
A self-confessed “consistent risk-taker”, Erik claims that his success stems from “having the willingness to fail and the stubbornness not to give up.”
Code is the basis for his art.

Instead of using paints or Photoshop, Natzke instead fires up Adobe Flash and starts programming.

Here he twists and tweaks lines of code and variables until everything is to his satisfaction, before letting it run.

This is where the magic happens! Who needs Harry Potter, huh?
His style lies somewhere between the abstract and quite expressive spectrum.

With a love of exploring texture and depth, dynamics and movement, the end result is really quite fascinating. Some examples of his work:

© All work copyright Erik Natzke
As Mathieu Gosselin, PsykoPaint’s creator remarked, five words that could sum up his work would be: Colours, Technology, Nature, Play, Sensitive.This is spot on.

Erik manipulates technology to create playful scenes, colourful landscapes and much of his work is inspired by nature itself. Owls, flowers, birds and vistas.
Many of you may have noticed the Natzke preset hidden within the fun of PsykoPaint. [see the examples here or here  .

“Oh so that’s where I’ve seen the name!?” you might be thinking. (Or you might be just as likely to be thinking about what you’re going to have for lunch, but that doesn’t sound nearly as interesting and we’re going off track).
So how is it all related to this…what were we talking about??

Oh yes, I’m glad you asked.

Well to make things easier, I asked Mathieu some questions, to help connect the dots.
Q. How did you initially ‘discover’ Natzke and what drew you to his work in the first place?
I was at a Creative Technology conference called "Flash on The Beach" (before the time when some random dudes decided that flash was evil); which gathered a lot of people – those who are too cool to go to plain tech conferences and too geeky for just design conferences. Flash happens to be the best platform for that crowd: halfway between design and technology, and that's exactly where i fit in.
So i sat there in the room and was blown away by not only his work, but his passion, sensibility and humility.
I felt like i was seeing a new kind of art form being born in my very own eyes and he was one those explorers who discovered new ways of expressing himself visually.
That's what i think art is about - no matter how sophisticated the tools are; it's about exploration and curiosity. So it may sound geeky and techy, but I feel like this is how you recognize artists. Those who are ‘ahead of their time' are actually creating the future. And that made me want to explore as well in my own direction.

Q. Can you explain how he partly inspired you in your quest to create PsykoPaint software?
This technique of colour sampling has been used before him. But, never with as much depth as Erik.
He makes pieces that are not just displays of new technology but technology in the service of the art.
What I’ve learnt from him is to continue to keep moving forward and explore deeper and deeper.
But I’m a bit of an anti-conformist so i wasn't going to go in the exact same direction.
I had to program new tools to create more interesting artworks.

(It seemed like such a) shame that this stuff is just reserved to the few who know how to code.
So that's where PsykoPaint was born. I wanted to democratize this new art form.
It happens that the majority of people use it more in a conventional way to emulate things of the past than exploring new visual possibilities. But the original intention was clearly to push the boundaries of what has been done before visually just like Natzke did. The only twist is that i want to bring it to the masses ;-)
(Thank you for that insight Mathieu)
You can try the Natzke preset by clicking on ribbon brush and selecting it in the list.

Now back to Erik.

I’m going to l leave you with some visual inspiration.

Someone once said, that “some things are said best, by not saying anything at all”.

Oh wait, it was me.

Still, this is especially true when the opening sentence starts with “Oh by the way, you owe us…” hehe – though also for art that is best described by your own experience of it.

In the video below you can watch part of Natzke’s artistic process – from the initial inspiration, to the code being executed and magically unravelling into a final piece.

This was commissioned by Adobe, so yes; he has worked for some big names.

PLEASE NOTE: you won’t have to grab your sunglasses for this. Whilst he’s known for his love of bold, bright colour, I chose something more neutral ;)

 

Create Unique Facebook Cover Photo in a minute

Posted on June 26, 2012

Facebook Timeline

Ever wondered why some of the Facebook timelines look so good (like the one on the right;)? And why the others are just really boring? Like – I WANT TO CLICK AWAY – boring.

Well, the secret is pretty simple and it’s called the Cover photo.

The new Facebook timeline heavily focuses on that big space at the top of your profile (if you only see your small avatar picture and big empty space – then you need some psyko cover there). This means that choosing a great photo for your Facebook profile is just really important!

But finding a great photo representing your personality can be hard. So how to do it?

Luckily for you – Psyko is here to help you again!

 

1. Create a Psykopainting and share it with your friends on Facebook

Alternatively  you can also just browse around the Gallery and Share any other picture you like. Psyko tip: there are some great paintings in the Staff pick section.

Share to Facebook from Psykopaint

Great – now you have your desired picture on Facebook and the only thing left is to go to Facebook and set it up as a Cover picture.

2. Go to your Facebook profile and click on Change cover (or Add a Cover if you don’t have one at the moment)

Change the cover Image

3. Select your Psykopainting within the Psykopaint Photos album

Facebook Albums

4. Reposition the image as you wish and Voila! you have a great looking unique Cover image

Reposition image
And that’s it – really easy stuff indeed. So try playing with different photos in different positions to find that sweet spot and make your Facebook profile timeline standout.

Featured Painter: Susan Holsan

Posted on June 23, 2012

Susan Holsan has been with Psykopaint from the very early beginnings. Many of you have probably seen some of her beutiful works in the Psykopaint Gallery. We have decided to feature her on our blog, so you can all meet her better – it’s quite a remerkable story she has…

Great to finally have a chance to talk with you Susan, could you first tell us a little bit about yourself.

We live in a very small town (population 491) in a sparely populated area in western Nebraska. The cattle far outnumber the people! It is a far different world from my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, but it has been a wonderful place to raise our three children.

There are many people on the site with tons of talent and no formal art background!! Unfortunately, I have been away from my “creative side” for many years while being a full-time stay-at-home-mom and then later entering the work force. I recently needed to quit my job and I have just begun getting back into my art in the past couple of years. I have done some acrylic and watercolor paintings and dabbled a bit in photography. But my love at the moment is digital art!

This is a whole new area for me and I am having fun learning all the ins and outs of digital painting and photo editing! Psykopaint has been a great program to help me in my exploring!I majored in Art Education in college (class of 1976) with a second major in English and I taught art for a total of five years for grades kindergarten through high school. I don’t feel that necessarily gives me any advantage other than maybe having a bit more of an eye for composition.

So, what’s the story about your psyko beginnings? Why did you start painting, how did you find about it?

Our second oldest son introduced me to Google Chrome. From there, I started looking through the different apps and came across Psykopaint. It sounded interesting so I tried it. I had experimented with a different (well known) painting software, but found it somewhat complicated and way too expensive.

After playing with Psykopaint, I found I could do many of the same things much easier, for far less expensive, and still get amazing results! After just a few paintings, I became “hooked” and wanted to try more. And that lead to even more!!

How do you share your paintings with others? Do you use Facebook, maybe a personal blog/gallery? I know you are also the starter of a quite popular Facebook page My Creative Corner – how has been your experience with it?

Right at the moment, most of my paintings have been shared in the Psykopaint gallery or on My Creative Corner. My Facebook page experience so far has been good. Spending time with our daughter and their new baby and then with our son and his family recently, has kept me from being as active with my page as I had hoped to be.

But, I hope to expand my page more in the upcoming months. I am not sure exactly I want to do, but I do have some ideas I am considering. I hope people will stop in from time to time to see what’s new on my page! I am also looking into some other avenues to share my creations.

Where do you find your photos to start painting on? Any good sources of free photos that you can recommend to the rest of the psyko community?

Some of my source photos are my own. We live in an area that has a lot of great nature and landscape subjects. In 2007 I was VERY fortunate to travel to Europe with my daughter when she was a member of a state-wide music group. It was one of those “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunities” so I took literally hundreds of photos! Some of those have already been turned into Psykopaintings.

I used to belong to a couple of graphics groups online and now have a large collection of copyright-free art/photos. I have found a lot of good free public domain photos by searching under “free public domain photos” or “copyright free photos” or similar search keywords.  A couple I have found helpful are: http://www.public-domain-photos.com/  and  http://www.dreamstime.com/free-photos  (you need to register but the images are free). The list of websites on the blog have also been very helpful!

Which paintings from your really big collection are you the most proud of?

That’s a hard question to answer! I have always liked the first painting I had chosen as a staff pick, “Up In Smoke”. I learned after doing that one, that it is important to remember HOW you do a piece. For the life of me, I cannot remember exactly what I did!

I love restoring old photos, so two more of my favorites are “Welcome Sweet Spring” and “Lady With a Pink Rose

 

 

 

If I had to choose just one, though, I think my favorite is “Sunflowers at Giverny”. The source photo came from the actual garden where Monet did so many of his famous paintings. I tried to find my “inner-Monet” with this one!

If you had to choose your all-time favorite painter, who would that be?

There are so many! My favorite painters were the Impressionist. I like Monet, Degas, etc., but if I have to choose just one, I think it would have to be Vincent Van Gogh. His paintings just exploded with color in a style all his own!

I would love to hear what’s your favorite psykobrush?

I think I am still trying to find my favorite brush! Seems every time I think I have found my most favorite brush, I try a new one or a new setting and have yet another favorite! But I think the one that gives me the most “special effects” has been the soft madness brush. It is what I have used to create mist, smoke, clouds, and dream-like effects.

Have you ever maybe thought of presenting your digital Psykopaintings in a real life exhibition?

I have been thinking of making some of my work from my own photos and artwork into larger prints and trying to find a market for them online or possibly displaying them in a real life exhibition.  But, I haven’t quite decided if I will go forward with that or not. (I often times lack in self-confidence!)

Last question Susan ;) Any painting secrets you would like to share with the Psyko Community?

I don’t really have any “secrets.” I like to paint with larger brush stokes to bring out the colors and shapes and then work down to the details. Van Gogh, Degas, Renoir are all good for the background and larger areas. I then like using the dirt and spray can brushes set at the smallest settings with greatest opacity to bring out the small details.

I did a tutorial awhile ago on how to do an under painting which can be found on the blog. If I have any other techniques people find interesting, they are always welcome to ask me about them. I am always willing to try and share those techniques or help with advice. I would just say to other members, experiment and try new ideas, new brushes, and  different settings. Have fun at seeing what develops. If you don’t like something hit the redo button or even clear the whole thing and start all over. Psykopaint is a FUN program – so have fun with it!!

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The Benefits of Art as Therapy – Part Three

Posted on June 6, 2012

During the last weeks we discovered the awesomeness of art therapy (part one) and explored a number of ways it can help you be a better you (part two). Or me. (I mean me be a better me, not YOU be a better ME!?). Some of you may still have reservations. And not the kind you make for a restaurant dinner. Let’s address some of those concerns…

But I suck at art. Does this matter??

Heck no! In fact sometimes not knowing a single thing about ‘creative technique’ can be a blessing in disguise. People who aren’t ‘trained’ tend to do things more spontaneously – without spending hours fussing over a simple brush stroke (like some artists do). Sometimes the best parts of a drawing or painting or song come from mistakes. The decision of going with the flow and allowing yourself to make mistakes is what can take you in fantastic new directions.

The point of using art as a means of therapy, is not about how great an artist you are or aren’t – it is about enjoyment and how that benefits you.

“The object isn’t to make art; it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable” — Robert Henri

 

This quote by the 19th Century American Artist Robert Henri, does a wonderful job of summarising the whole point of using art as therapy. It alludes to the fact that the final result/finished product is not the most important aspect of being creative; rather that it is the feeling you get from doing it.

I’m not sceptical, but I’d like to see some fancy diagrams and proof.

Sure. Well let me begin by name-dropping some people with important letters after their name, and show you some scientific things that will otherwise convince you. ;)

Professor of Neurobiology and Neuroaesthetics, Semir Zeki, from University College London, has found that viewing art triggers a surge of Dopamine, the body’s natural feel-good neurotransmitter, into the orbito-frontal cortex of the brain, resulting in feelings of intense pleasure.

While inside an MRI scanner, Study subjects were shown images of art on a screen – including works by Botticelli, Turner and Cézanne, and their brain activity was mapped.

“There have been very significant new advances in our understanding of what happens in our brains when we look at works of art,” explains Zeki. ‘We have recently found that when we look at things we consider to be beautiful, there is increased activity in the pleasure reward centres of the brain. Essentially, the feel-good centres are stimulated, similar to the states of love and desire.”

You can watch the video HERE

If that makes you scratch your head confusingly and ask “what the…?” then allow me to break it down for you. Essentially this study proves that looking at art stimulates the happy parts of your brain. See below.

If a person can get this excited merely ‘looking’ at art, imagine how AMAZING the act of ‘doing’ art can be?!

So what next?

So if you still have reservations (of the non-dining kind), it’s time to release yourself from holding back. The best way to do this? Dive in head first. Remember what it was like when you were a kid playing with things? Have fun. Try new things. Make it up as you go. Frolic with that same reckless abandon. Feel free to share your experiences in the comments. Don’t beat yourself up for not being perfect and finally, move from a state of fear to one of CREATIVITY and INSPIRATION!

HANDY TECH BABBLE:
If you’re an art therapist seeking tangible clinical research or a doubter wanting technical proof on the efficacy of Art Therapy, here is a link to a list of studies.
Also more recent studies for Alzheimer’s.
Cancer here  and here.
And Health & Depression here and here.

 

The Benefits of Art as Therapy – Part Two

Posted on May 29, 2012

Last week we considered a few ways in which art can be used as a means of therapy. To continue this little series on how chillaxing it can be to get down and dirty with creativity, let’s shuffle onto part two on the benefits of art therapy and how it can help you feel awesome.

ART CAN BE A COPING MECHANISM

There are many instances where drawing and painting has been used to help people. And not just to win games like Hangman, Pictionary or ‘Draw Something’! Lots of psychologists use art therapy to help their patients. When people have issues that they cannot easily put into words, painting or drawing is another way they can describe what they are feeling. Art therapy has been used to help victims of abuse to work through their experience. It has been used in hospitals as a means of helping cancer sufferers come to terms with their situation. Children are particularly receptive to this technique.

Other times something in someone’s life inspires them to find solace in art. James Castle was an outsider artist who was born deaf. Having never learned to read, write or sign, he expressed himself with art, and left over 20,000 pieces by the time of his death in 1977.

[I was going to insert a joke about how producing that many pieces of art is usually ‘unheard’ of, but that would be a terrible pun... ]

Untitled (Duck) by James Castle, Mixed Media

BEING CREATIVE IS HEALING

Studies show that art heals by changing a person’s physiology and attitude. When you are focused on something relaxing that also exercises your creative brain, you move into a more relaxed state. Hopefully not so relaxed that you wake up face down in a tin-full of paint, but you get my gist.

Self-taught artist Parker W. Lanier is a recovering alcoholic who uses art to come to terms with his alcoholism. His chosen medium is generally textas and markers. You can see some of his work here: http://alcoholicoutsiderartist.blogspot.com.au/

Art therapy is a body-mind therapy. It’s been used to help facilitate cancer recovery in a growing number of places worldwide. A study that was published in the Journal of Pain and Symptom Managementfound that art therapy can reduce a broad spectrum of symptoms related to pain and anxiety in cancer patients. After spending an hour on a personally chosen art project, participating cancer patients reported significant reductions in 8 of 9 symptoms measured by the Edmonton Symptom Assessment Scale (ESAS). They measured tiredness, nausea, depression, anxiety, drowsiness, lack of appetite, well-being and shortness of breath. These 8 symptoms improved; the only one that did not, was nausea. Which can be the result of medications anyway.

Dr. Jack Lindh of Umea University, Sweden, and colleagues in the European Journal of Cancer Care, concluded that their different study’s findings “strongly support art therapy as a powerful tool in rehabilitation of patients with breast cancer and, presumably, also in the care of patients with other types of cancer.” They say it was empowering “helping them to maintain a positive identity, to deal with pain, and to feel control over their lives.”

It’s use as a complementary therapy for cancer patients is growing. It has also been used to treat paediatric cancer patients and may be a good option for those who don’t respond well to the usual touch, talk therapies.

IT CAN MAKE YOU SMARTER!

Yes, that is what I said. You won’t necessarily wake up feeling like Einstein the morning after you paint something (unless of course you’ve had far too much wine whilst doing so). But learning a new skill creates new neural pathways in your brain. If you practise being creative, it can equip you to come up with better solutions in life.

If it wasn’t for creative thinkers, we wouldn’t have most of the items we take for granted. Creative people are the ones who invent things! Planes, cars, light bulbs, telephones, the internet…and of course, software like PsykoPaint ;)

IT CAN HELP ANYONE OF ANY AGE

Whether you are aged 2 or 122, you can benefit from making art. However to be painting at 122, would make you extremely clever – since currently the oldest person in the world is 115…

For children especially, not only is it good for therapeutic reasons, but learning to manipulate a pen or paintbrush can increase hand-eye coordination skills. Of course you might beg to differ if you’ve ever caught your three-year old  red-handed with a permanent marker drawing on the bedroom wall / your carpet / their siblings.

Kid drawing on the family dog

If this is a problem for you, or you actually like the idea of drawing on walls to decorate a space – be it a child’s bedroom, the kitchen or an office , I actually came across a solution for this. It’s a special wall paint that gives you that luxury: IdeaPaint. It’s durable and you can actually apply it on any smooth surface – it doesn’t have to be just a wall. Once dried, that surface becomes just like a whiteboard. And when you don’t want it anymore you simply paint over it. Would be great even at youth centres, schools, in therapy centres or boardrooms for brainstorming ideas. Find out more about IdeaPaint here: http://www.ideapaint.com

IT JUST FEELS GOOD

Famous artist Pablo Picasso said: “Art washes from the soul, the dust of everyday life.” Art can be used to enrich your life. To retell it. It’s just fun. It is so easy to get lost in doing creative things, that you lose all sense of time. If that happens, you’re doing it right.

UNLIKE CHOCOLATE, CONSUMING ART WILL NOT MAKE YOUR BOTTOM LOOK BIG IN JEANS.

Seriously, what other reason do you need??

*if you do need more convincing, then I guess you’ll have to wait until I twist your arm in part three…

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