When we think of art, do we ever think about the positive impact it has on our mental health, or is the idea of art confined to the context of theatres whose doors remain closed, and galleries that are likewise inaccessible for the foreseeable? With England still in the midst of its third lockdown, few of us realise the overall psychological and sociological impact art has on us, especially during these troubled times.
Recent studies have shown that the third lockdown has had an increasingly significant impact on our mental health compared to the first and second. Over 54% of adults in the UK are currently dealing with feelings of anxiety and worry, and 1 in 5 have reported feelings of hopelessness. This staggering number may come as no surprise, but what’s more interesting is that research has linked viewing art with stabilising our low mood significantly.
In a study conducted by the University of Westminster*, participants who took a brief visit to an art gallery on their lunch break, reported feeling less stressed afterwards. In fact, their cortisol levels had dropped so rapidly that, under normal circumstances, would have taken over 5 hours to achieve. If viewing art for just half an hour has that effect on the human brain, then think about the benefits a serene painting in your home would have.
This article will be focusing on landscape paintings, as these in particular have been proven to reduce anxiety levels compared with abstract art or no art at all**. The first on our list is Nicola Wakeling. Nicola is an artist who finds her inspiration from the Outer Hebrides, and her painting Looking Out from Udal, North Uist perfectly encapsulates that peaceful sense of stillness. It’s realism would be particularly suited to people who have been deprived of a seaview for the duration of the lockdown.
Joe Ramm also offers a coastal landscape but with a playful twist. Her limited edition print Coastguard Cottages' more characterful theme might be a better choice if realistic landscapes make you pine to be outdoors too much. She uses the wild landscape as a source of inspiration, and spent much of her time walking along the South Coast that you see here. She also has more prints coming soon in March.
The theme of water comes up time and again with our artists, and for good reason too; water has an incredibly relaxing, restorative effect on the body and mind. Julie Ann Scott’s limited edition print The Long Trip Home gives a completely different perception of nature, with an enchanting, dream-like quality that piques our natural curiosity about life underwater.
You can find more art like this in our landscape paintings and drawings page. You can even check out our collection of sculptures for indoor and outdoor wildlife installations that gives a more immersive sense of being within nature.
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