July 8, 2011
Yesterday, Donna MacDonald of Calgary, Alberta wrote, "Is there a possibility
that painting might improve your health? I've suffered from chronic migraines
for over 30 years and I've noticed an amazing phenomenon. On the days that I
paint I don't get a migraine! At first I thought it was a coincidence but after
close observation to the timing it's become evident that there's a correlation.
I started painting full time 5 years ago and it has literally changed my life!
Have you heard of this?"
artists. So when you mentioned you don't have them when you're painting, it
was music to my ears. Migraines are still not fully understood by the medical
profession. There are several main types, and adult women are three times more
likely to have them as adult men. "Triggers" like stress, hunger, drink, diet
and bright or moving lights can set them off. Apparently, a neurotransmitter
called serotonin plays a role. Low serotonin levels in the brain may lead to
constriction of blood vessels. Serotonergic agonists like triptins, LSD or
psilocin can activate serotonin receptors to stop a migraine.
Many painters find painting to be a leveling sanctuary in an otherwise frantic
world. Perhaps it's because of the heightened involvement, challenge, and
attention to detail that painting requires. Fact is, many of us attest to
"feeling no pain" while painting. While the act of painting may not perk up
your depleted serotonin, it may release something I'm calling "muselocin." This
is the nice stuff you feel when you're finding your muse.
Yes, others have reported to me that it's important to anticipate a good day
rather than a bad one. The potentially afflicted artist needs to set up,
squeeze out, choose the right background music and, with a tall glass of cold
water, start to work. After a few minutes, mildly hypnotized by the job at
hand, the painter-patient becomes pleasantly "lost."
I can't attest to great gushes of good goo being released into the blood, but
artists tell me they feel like something magic is happening. The élan of
painterly process and ongoing accomplishment certainly eats time. It may just
head off pain as well. Back problems, anxiety and arthritis also respond to this
underutilized and inexpensive drug.
PS: "Making art is good for your health, especially if it is done in fun."
Esoterica: The motivation to work against all odds also arises when you bring
to your art a sense of service. By that I mean doing it for someone, or for
some noble cause. The art of giving neutralizes pain, both mental and physical.
"Artists are just as important as doctors and nurses," says Marni California.
"People need nourishing of their souls as well as their bodies; in Navajo
culture the medicine man and artist are one and the same." We'Publish Post
Interestingly, Donna contributes 10% of her profits from the sale of her
paintings to Kiva, an organization that provides loans to people in third world
countries to start or expand a business. "A wonderful way to feel like I'm
making a difference!" she says.
Current clickback: "Flavour of the month" takes a look at the compulsion of
collecting art, and the business of getting others to tell you what you need.
A panel of Donna MacDonald's work is also included. Your further comments are
Read this letter online and give us your insight into the possible healing
properties of art. Live comments are welcome. Direct, illustratable comments can
be made at email@example.com.
One great big fat FREE book!! Date extended by demand. Yep, a signed and
dedicated copy if you sign up for a Premium Listing before August 30, 2011. If
you have work you think the world should see, please check us out. While our
listings are mini-websites in themselves, we are particularly good at sending
volumes of visitors to websites you may already have. Our service costs $100 per
year and we do all the set up. If you are thinking about it, please feel free to
drop Robert a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. "I'll be happy to pass along an
opinion as to your work's suitableness."
The Workshop Calendar: A selection of workshops and seminars laid out in
chronological order that will stimulate, teach, mentor, take you to foreign
lands or just down the street. Many of these workshops are recommended by
Robert and friends. Incidentally, if you are planning a workshop and you have
photos of happy people working, feel free to send them to us and we'll select
ones to include in the workshops feature at no extra charge.
The Art Show Calendar: If you or your group has a show coming up, put an
illustrated announcement on the Painter's Keys site. The longer it's up, the
more people will see it. Your announcement will be taken down automatically
on the last day of your show. Please take a look here.
Painter's Post: Every day there is new material going into this feature. This
online arts aggregator has links to art info, ideas, inspiration and all kinds
of creative fun.
If a friend is trying to subscribe to the Twice-Weekly Letter via Constant
Contact, please let them know that as well as subscribing they must confirm
You can also follow Robert's valuable insights and see further feedback on
Facebook and Twitter.
Donna MacDonald is at email@example.com
Featured Responses: Alternative to the instant Live Comments, Featured Responses
are illustrated and edited for content. If you would like to submit your own for
possible inclusion, please do so. Just click 'reply' on this letter or write to:
Yes, please go ahead and forward this letter to a friend. This does not mean
that they will automatically be subscribed to the Twice-Weekly Letter. They
have to do it voluntarily and can find out about it by going to The Painter's